DENTON, Texas –– When Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott brought the always controversial Ted Nugent to a Denton Tex-Mex restaurant on Tuesday, the 65-year-old rocker stole the show.
"We don't have to question Greg Abbott's courage because he invited me here today,” Nugent said to laughs from the crowd.
More than 100 Abbott supporters and Nugent fans showed up to see the two together at El Guapo’s Mexican restaurant on Tuesday morning.
But Abbott’s decision to campaign with Nugent is controversial. Nugent has called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel,” admitted affairs with underage girls when he was younger, and used vulgar words describing feminists and Hillary Clinton.
Those are likely some of the reasons why Abbott's staff tried to keep reporters away from Nugent immediately after the event.
“Guys, we're going to start the press conference in two minutes,” Abe Huerta, Abbott’s spokesman, said unsuccessfully to the throng of reporters and photographers who surrounded Nugent outside the restaurant while the candidate was inside greeting supporters.
But Nugent appeared to bask in the attention and denied he ever made critical comments.
"All the negative stuff is dishonest,” Nugent said. “All the really wonderful stuff is accurate."
Abbott told reporters he is not familiar with Nugent's controversial remarks.
“I can't comment on them because I don't know what he said,” Abbott told reporters.
The Texas Attorney General did try to refocus attention on his opponent.
"Ted Nugent bothers [likely Democratic gubernatorial candidate] Wendy Davis because he highlights the way that Wendy Davis has flip-flopped and flipped again on Second Amendment rights," Abbott said.
Before voting early in Fort Worth on Tuesday, Davis said it was "repulsive" that Abbott would campaign with Nugent.
"Greg Abbott's embrace of Ted Nugent and his ideals are an insult to every woman in Texas,” she said, “and it should be an insult to every man, husband, brother, father, son."
Abbott’s choice of a campaign guest left political observers wondering whether it was worth it.
"All the people who like Ted Nugent are already voting for Greg Abbott. This potentially hurts him. I don't see how it helps him," said Bud Kennedy, columnist for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Still, Abbott and Nugent continued campaigning together at a second stop in Wichita Falls. Abbott plans to visit Tyler and Sugar Land on Wednesday. Nugent is not scheduled to join him.