In an attempt to go tit-for-tat with Republicans, Democrats seized on comments made by controversial music legend and right-wing activist Ted Nugent last weekend and hoped to tie them to the presidential campaign of Republican Mitt Romney.
Nugent, in a radio interview captured in a YouTube video, called on National Rifle Association event attendees to go home and recruit "everybody in your lives to clean house in this vile, evil, America-hating administration."
"If you can't galvanize and promote and recruit people to vote for Mitt Romney, we're done. We'll be a suburb of Indonesia next year," Nugent said. "Our president, attorney general, vice president, Hillary Clinton--they're criminals. They're criminals. Who doesn't know the crimes our government are committing?"
In response to Nugent's tirade, Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz released a statement referring to Nugent as Romney's surrogate and called on the presumptive Republican nominee to denounce the remarks.
"Mitt Romney surrogate Ted Nugent made offensive comments about President Obama and November's elections this weekend that are despicable, deplorable, and completely beyond the pale," she said. "Yet what have we heard from Mitt Romney and the Republican Party, who should be outraged that someone representing them is using language like this to make a political point? Absolutely nothing."
The move to tie Nugent closely with the Romney campaign despite the fact that they have no formal connection is in retaliation for Republicans last week repeatedly referring to a Democratic strategist as an Obama campaign adviser after she made headline-grabbing comments about Ann Romney.
Hilary Rosen, who does not advise the campaign, caused a stir when she said on a cable news channel that Ann Romney had "never had to work a day in her life."
But Democrats' attempt at turning the tables on Republicans appeared to have fallen flat, likely because Nugent is well-known for making controversial statements and a spokeswoman for Romney distanced the candidate from the remarks.
"Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from. Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil,” said Andrea Saul, a Romney spokeswoman, in a statement.
This post has been updated from an earlier version.