After choosing inflammatory entertainer Ted Nugent as his plus-one for Tuesday's State of the Union address, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) explained his decision in an interview with CNN, saying he made the choice based on Nugent's merit.
"He's a very articulate spokesman," Stockman told CNN. "I'm excited to have him. I think he gives a balance to what's being said tonight at the White House. And it will be a balance. The president gives his views and his opinions. And we live in a free country where other people get to speak their opinion."
Stockman's characterization of an "articulate" Nugent capable of "balance" might raise eyebrows among the rocker's critics. Nugent's presence at the speech struck some as odd, especially considering his claim last April that he would be "dead or in jail" in a year if Obama was elected to a second term. While that remark eventually earned Nugent a visit from the Secret Service, it was just part of a string of caustic and violent comments Nugent has made toward Democrats he disagrees with.
Nugent famously ranted in 2007: "Obama, he's a piece of shit. I told him to suck on my machine gun. ... Hey Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch."
But considering Stockman's own history of controversy, perhaps Nugent serves as an apt accomplice for the congressman as they prepare to take on what the rocker has called the State of the Union "media orgy."
Stockman, who served one term in Congress during the 1990s, drew nationwide attention just weeks after being sworn in again earlier this year for threatening to impeach Obama over his push to combat gun violence. Nugent has been similarly hyperbolic in criticizing gun control efforts.
The Texas Republican has since continued his campaign to bolster his profile as one of the president's most vocal critics. On Tuesday, Stockman announced plans to fact-check Obama's address in real-time on Twitter. He also put up a 10-foot-long “Obama Failometer" jobs scoreboard in a Cannon House Office Building hallway, but House officials have reportedly forced him to take it down.