McKINNEY, Texas — Likely Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott spent Monday in McKinney trying to move beyond the controversy of his recent appearances with controversial rock star Ted Nugent.
The two campaigned together last week in Denton and Wichita Falls. But Abbott did not distance himself from Nugent... or the words he used to describe President Barack Obama and women.
News 8 asked Abbott if he had it to do over again, would he still appear with Nugent?
“If I had it to do all over again, I probably wouldn't have gone out for a jog that day I went jogging. But you know, life doesn't give you do-overs," Abbott said. "I am in a wheelchair because I cannot do that over, and I've learned ever since then that you just move forward with where you are."
A new poll released Monday shows Abbott has widened his lead against Wendy Davis. The UT/Texas Tribune poll shows he’s now ahead by 11 points, 47 percent to 36 percent. But the poll also revealed 17 percent of Texans remain undecided.
The poll was conducted online between February 7-16, and has a 3.58 percent margin of error. It was taken before the Nugent controversy.
Abbott brought his wife, Cecilia, to McKinney on Monday, where she spoke candidly to us about the criticism of her husband.
"It's probably a little harder for me to hear that than most people,” she said. “But I also understand."
Abbott spent a half hour at The Pantry in Collin County with about 100 supporters, where he tried to refocus attention on his message of improving education and adding $5 billion to transportation without raising taxes.
Abbott also denounced President Obama, and tried to tie him to his Democratic opponent, State Sen. Wendy Davis.
Hours later, Abbott took the same message to Abilene, hoping to leave the Nugent controversy behind.
But Davis' campaign said Abbott refuses to answer key questions about Nugent. Besides making vulgar comments about Obama and women — the conservative rocker admitted he should have chosen different words — Nugent also admitted to having a relationship with a 17-year-old girl when he was 30.
“Greg Abbott’s embrace of a sexual predators speaks to Greg Abbott’s lack of judgment and character,” said Bo Delp, Davis’ communications director in an e-mail blast. “This was not an isolated incident, but a pattern of blatant disregard and hostility by Greg Abbott toward women. Time and again, Greg Abbott has refused to protect women.”