Hank Williams Jr., a Republican, had appeared on a Fox News’ morning television show “FOX and Friends” on Monday, and was asked which of his party’s presidential candidates he liked.
He told the hosts that he didn’t like any of the candidates in the GOP primary for President, and that John Boehner’s golf game with Barack Obama was a major mistake. “That would be like Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu. Not hardly. In the shape this country is in?”
When Brian Kilmeade said that he didn’t understand the analogy, Williams was non-plussed. “I’m glad you don’t brother, because a lot of people do. They’re the enemy… Obama! And Biden! Are you kidding? The Three Stooges.”
ESPN, which is owned by the Walt Disney Co, responded on Monday by yanking Williams’ familiar “MNF” theme, “All My Rowdy Friends,” adapted from his 1984 hit song “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight,” from the introduction of the broadcast.
The song has opened “Monday Night Football” on both ABC and ESPN since 1991.
“While Hank Williams, Jr. is not an ESPN employee, we recognize that he is closely linked to our company through the open to Monday Night Football. We are extremely disappointed with his comments, and as a result we have decided to pull the open from tonight’s telecast,” the network said in the statement.
Later Williams revealed which candidate he supported: “The one that makes the most sense is Herman Cain,” he said.
In 2008, Williams ignited a controversy when, campaigning for John McCain, he said to an audience in Colorado, “Join me now in our national–you know, that song that, uh, Mr. Obama’s not real crazy about, we’re singing it right now.”
Later Hank Williams Jr. released a statement regarding his controversial statements claiming he was simply “misunderstood” when he compared Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler.
Williams Jr. said, “Some of us have strong opinions and are often misunderstood. My analogy was extreme – but it was to make a point. I was simply trying to explain how stupid it seemed to me – how ludicrous that pairing was.”
He continued, “They’re polar opposites and it made no sense. They don’t see eye-to-eye and never will. I have always respected the office of the President.”
Williams Jr. added, “Every time the media brings up the tea party it’s painted as racist and extremists – but there’s never a backlash – no outrage to those comparisons… Working class people are hurting – and it doesn’t seem like anybody cares.”
“When both sides are high-fiving it on the ninth hole when everybody else is without a job – it makes a whole lot of us angry. Something has to change. The policies have to change.”
According to reports the team of Obama and Boehner beat Biden and Kasich at the summer golf matchup. By the way, Williams says he plans a run for Senate in Tennessee in 2012 as a Republican. [via Huff Post, Reuters and TMZ]