The U.S. Secret Service is looking into the incendiary and potentially threatening remarks made by rocker and Mitt Romney-backer Ted Nugent at the National Rifle Association convention over the weekend.
“We are aware of them and we are conducting the appropriate follow-up now,” Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie told ABC News.
Nugent told a crowd of convention goers that “if Barack Obama becomes the president in November, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”
“If you can’t go home and get everybody in your lives to clean house in this vile, evil, America-hating administration, I don’t even know what you’re made of,” he said. The comments were caught on tape and posted online by the website Right Wing Watch.
The Democratic National Committee and Obama campaign have launched a multimedia offensive against Romney over Nugent, demanding that the presumptive GOP nominee disavow the statements of his high-profile supporter.
But the White House today refused to join in the condemnation and said that it won’t be “policing the statements of supporters across the board.”
“The president is focused on the issues,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney, when asked by ABC News about Nugent’s remarks.
“I think a lot of this other stuff is noise. And I think most Americans are pretty sophisticated consumers of the news, especially as we get closer to the elections, and pretty sophisticated evaluators of the men and women who put themselves forward to be president,” he said.
When asked whether the president supports demands from DNC officials, Carney deflected the question.
“I haven’t seen the comments that you’re referring to by others. The president’s focused on doing his job. He has made the point that, you know — you know, we can’t as a general rule police the statements of every supporter. I think best to just abide by the kind of standards of behavior and rhetoric yourself,” he said.
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul on Tuesday offered the first public comment on the Nugent controversy, saying that “everyone needs to be civil.”
“Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from,” Saul said in a statement.
Nugent endorsed Romney on Twitter in March after apparently having a “long heart and soul conversation” with the former governor and has been an outspoken advocate for his election to the presidency.