Draft-Dodging Ted Nugent Gets His 15 Minutes of Infamy At State Of The Union Speech
Part-time Michigan resident Ted Nugent was a minor sidelight to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech Tuesday night.
The 64-year-old Nugent sat in the gallery -- "a tall, crazy-looking white guy," as one reporter described him, undergoing "various stages of physical agony" as he listened to the long speech by the president, whom Nugent once told to "suck on my machine gun."
"Mr. Nugent, a gun-rights brawler, seemed to personify the conflict still lurking within the Republican Party as its leaders look to expand their appeal," the New York Times reports. "In a House chamber filled conspicuously with the victims of gun violence and family members still grieving for lost loved ones, Mr. Nugent seemed like a provocation, a saber-toothed tiger invited to a garden party."
In Slate, David Weigel writes: "The 64-year old rock star, who last cracked the charts with 1980s' 'Wango Tango,' had been invited to the State of the Union as a guest of Texas Rep. Steve Stockman. Thirty-odd Democrats had invited the families of gun violence victims to sit for the speech, but they were never famous. Not even in 1980."
"At the emotional apex of the night, when the president counted off victims who 'deserve a vote,' Nugent sat with his arms crossed," Weigel reports.
“My favorite part was when I couldn’t hear clearly,” Nugent told reporters after the speech. “Then I didn’t get angry.”
Nugent mentioned how much he is loved by members of the military and cops, of course. Meanwhile, Smokinggun.com took advantage of Nugent's appearance in the Capitol to check our the Motor City Madman's Selective Service records from the late 1960s, when Ted lived in metro Detroit.
"With the Vietnam War raging, young Ted Nugent was not so anxious to bear arms in defense of his country," the website reported.
The 64-year-old musician, now a vocal gun advocate and member of the National Rifle Association’s board of directors, avoided toting around an M14 thanks to a series of military deferments that allowed him to dodge the draft, according to Selective Service System records.
Theodore Anthony Nugent first received a high school 1-S deferment in February 1967, when he was 18. After briefly being reclassified as available for service, Nugent got a 2-S college deferment when he enrolled in Oakland Community College in Michigan.
In interviews, Nugent has provided varying accounts of how he avoided a seat on a troop transport to Southeast Asia. In a 1977 High Times interview, he claimed to have stopped bathing a month before his draft physical, adding that he showed up for the exam with pants “crusted” with urine and feces. “I was a walking, talking hunk of human poop,” recalled Nugent.