CNN Panel Clashes Over Ted Nugent’s SOTU Attendance: ‘Freedom Of Speech’ Or Attempt To ‘Stay Relevant’?

“Should Ted Nugent attend the State of the Union?” Such was the question that spurred Carol Costello‘s panel on CNN this morning to get a little heated. While Nugent may have the right to be there, more than one panelist didn’t think it was the best idea.

Amy Kremer, chair of the Tea Party Express, saw no problem with Nugent’s attendance given that he was invited. “You don’t agree with everybody that’s there,” she noted, so “any of us could go and we’re not going to agree with everybody that’s there.”

“Ted Nugent, Carol, is a brand,” radio host and comedian Pete Dominick asserted. “Just like Donald Trump is a brand. What they do is they say crazy, ridiculous, provocative things, so that we’ll talk about them, and so that they remain relevant and they can sell tickets to their, in his case, concerts.”

Nugent, he added, knows nothing about economic policies “much less math,” but he’s simply entertainment. He wants to “stay relevant.” It’s “called freedom of speech,” Republican strategist Ana Navarro asserted. And that means that freedom applies to everyone.

Navarro went on to note that she wasn’t aware of Nugent until the recent political spats. “So yes, he gets all sorts of attention and he gets all sorts of relevancy because you, and I, and the three of us are talking about this today,” she said.

Nugent is also opening himself up to reporters after the president’s address, Costello noted, asking, “why inject yourself like that in the debate when you’re not going to further it?”

“Because we’ve actually pulled him into this with this big debate over gun control,” Kremer replied, adding that he’s passionate about the issue.

“Invite reasonable people in!” Dominick countered. “Ted Nugent cannot further the conversation. He’s an idiot.”

That spurred all five to start talking over each other, until Navarro went back to reiterate her earlier point. The question isn’t why Nugent is speaking to the press, she said. The “legitimate question is, ‘Why is the press asking Ted Nugent questions?'”

(…during a panel on a news channel about Nugent.)

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