House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has invited longtime friend Tony Bennett to the State of the Union tonight, a celebrity counterpoint to Ted Nugent, who will be attending as a guest of a Texas congressman.
Bennett last week appealed to lawmakers to pass gun control legislation in a press conference on Capitol Hill. The event was co-sponsored by Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
Nugent is a gun rights advocate who created a stir last year for comments he made at an National Rifle Assn. convention, which led to the Secret Service paying him a visit. Nugent is a guest of Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas).
Meanwhile, Michael Keegan, the president of People for the American Way, has sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, asking him to disinvite Nugent.
Keegan writes, “The First Amendment protects Ted Nugent’s rights to
say offensive things, but that right does not extend to making threats of
violence against public officials. And it certainly does not give Nugent a ‘right’ to be granted a privileged position of honor as a guest of the House of
Representatives at the President’s State of the Union address.”
Update: Nancy Pelosi tells HuffPost Hill: “If a liberal had ever invited somebody who had made the statements Ted
Nugent made — cutting off all our heads, and he’d be dead or in jail if
the president was reelected — if any liberal or progressive invited
someone who made those kinds of comments to the State of the Union, can
you just imagine? When President Bush was–can you just imagine?”
Keegan’s complete letter is below: