WASHINGTON Republican candidate Mitt Romney's campaign called for civility on Tuesday after aging rock star Ted Nugent made an apparent threat against President Barack Obama before an audience of U.S. gun lobbyists.
Nugent told the National Rifle Association convention in St. Louis last week that "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year."
The Democratic National Committee seized on Nugent's remarks on Monday night in a fundraising email, pointing out how Nugent has endorsed Romney for president.
"Threatening violence - or whatever it is that Nugent's threatening - is clearly beyond the pale, but Nugent's not the one running for president," said U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the DNC. "The question is: Does Romney agree with him? Right now, we don't know."
Andrea Saul, Romney's spokeswoman, did not condemn Nugent in an email on Tuesday but said Romney wants to promote civility.
"Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from. Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil," she said.
Nugent was a rock star in the late 1970s with such hits as "Stranglehold" and "Cat Scratch Fever." He has long been an outspoken and controversial advocate for gun owners' rights.
The DNC noted that Romney had not responded to Nugent's remarks despite the endorsement he received from him last month. It also circulated video of Romney saying on a radio show, "It's been fun getting to know Ted Nugent."
The dust-up over Nugent's remarks is the latest in a series of back-and-forths between the two campaigns, fought largely over Twitter, over comments made by supporters or surrogates.
Obama's campaign went into damage control last week when Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen said on CNN that Ann Romney had "never worked a day in her life." Obama's top echelon of campaign advisers all condemned Rosen's comments.
(Editing by Doina Chiacu)