While most of the nation was still figuring out exactly how to react to news that Ted Nugent -- the controversial entertainer who just last year got a visit from the Secret Service over a perceived threat to President Barack Obama -- would be in attendance at this year's State of the Union, Nugent previewed his mission for the evening.
Speaking with Mike Broomhead of KFYI on Monday, Nugent, who last April vowed to be "dead or in jail" within a year if Obama was reelected, characterized the president as an unabashed scam artist preparing his most elaborate scheme through a set of anti-gun violence measures.
"We know that the president will have the State of the Union stacked and jammed with props, children and victims of violent crime," Nugent said. "And my friends wanted me to attend to counter that the way that I do: with facts, statistics and common sense and logic and a celebration of self-evident truths. So I will be taking on the media orgy following the State of the Union Address."
Nugent went on to promise to "remain respectful to the office of the presidency and the event itself," but suggested that he wouldn't tone down his rhetoric.
While Nugent laughed off critics whom he said doubted his ability to form "cognitive thoughts," a number of members in the gun control community are predicting that the flame-throwing conservative's highly anticipated presence will be a public relations disaster for pro-gun advocates.
The decision by Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) to invite Nugent certainly draws a stark contrast. A number of family members of victims of a mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school will also be in attendance Tuesday night, as guests of members of Congress and first lady Michelle Obama.
Nugent has argued that there is no reason to look at guns as part of the problem in the wake of the massacre. Shortly after the mass shooting, he instead blamed the nation's "spiritual bankruptcy" and its "politically correct" mentality for allowing such atrocities to happen. He's since depicted gun control efforts as preliminary steps in a broader plan to confiscate firearms from law-abiding owners.
Ladd Everitt, spokesperson for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, told told TPM's Evan McMorris-Santoro that he saw inviting Nugent as a bad idea from Republicans.
"You're going to have a guy who recently threatened the life of the president opposite over 20 survivors from some of our nation’s most gruesome episodes of gun violence," he said. "It's heartless, and emblematic of just how radical the Republican Party has become on this issue."
Others have responded more cynically, appearing to take the development as an opportunity to jab Nugent over persistent claims that he dodged the Vietnam War draft by vomiting and defecating on himself before a military physical. Building on allegations resurfaced last month by Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider -- and later denied by Nugent -- HuffPost blogger Douglas Anthony Cooper has started a White House petition calling for Nugent to be drafted to fight on the front lines in Afghanistan.
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