McKinney, Texas – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says he isn’t second guessing his decision to campaign for governor alongside the controversial singer Ted Nugent, because the accident that left Abbott paralyzed taught him never to look back.
“What I have learned as a fundamental principle in my life is to always look forward and never look backward,” Abbott, a Republican, said Monday at a press conference in McKinney, outside Dallas, when asked whether he had any regrets about appearing with Nugent. “You’ve heard me talk about my accident. When I had the tree crash down on my back, it changed my life forever. A lot of people ask me, do you have any regrets going out jogging? What would you have done differently? Could you have run faster or slower? Could you have done anything to avoid the accident? I learned at that crucial time in my life, you never look back.”
Abbott’s spine was crushed by a falling tree while he was jogging in Houston in 1984, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down at the age of 26. He makes frequent reference to his disability on the campaign trail.
Abbott has been under fire in the national and Texas press since Nugent introduced him at a campaign event last week, calling the attorney general his “blood brother” (Abbott called Nugent a “fighter for freedom.”)
A zealous gun-rights advocate, Nugent called President Obama a “sub-human mongrel” in an interview earlier this year. Democrats, including the campaign of State Sen. Wendy Davis, Abbott’s likely opponent this fall, also have called Nugent a sexual predator. An episode of VH1’s Behind the Music said he had admitted to sex with underage girls, even convincing one girl’s mother to make him her daughter’s legal guardian.
Abbott has done little to distance himself from Nugent, and made no more effort to do so at the McKinney event Monday.
“I never have once looked back about the events that transpired that caused me to be in a wheelchair,” Abbott continued, minutes after talking up his conservative bona fides to a crowd of mostly over 50s at a McKinney restaurant. “And ever since then, I’ve never looked back at anything. I look forward, and that’s the way my campaign will be run.”
“What I find most interesting is we have Democrats talking abut me, while I’m here talking about the issues that matter most to votes,” Abbott added. “I’m happy if things stay that way.”
A Texas Tribune poll released Monday showed Abbott with an 11-point lead over Davis.