Dale Peterson says you haven’t seen the end of Dale Peterson.
The gun-toting, former Alabamian “ag commish” candidate who became a YouTube sensation when his John Wayne-style campaign video went viral this year tells The Daily Caller he’s open to running for office again — and maybe even for president if he thought he had “a snowball’s chance in hell.”
“I’m not going away,” said the retired 65-year old while sipping coffee during a phone interview from Alabama.
“I don’t really know what that means,” Peterson said. “Maybe the Big Guy will give me a hint one day. I’m open to looking at about anything — to tell you the truth — that will ultimately lead to taking care of the people of Alabama and taking care of the people of this country.”
Despite the national notoriety that came with taking it to the “thugs and criminals” who don’t “give a rip about Alabama” in his campaign commercial, Peterson placed third among three other Republicans running for state agricultural commissioner. He has since thrown his support behind opponent John McMillan, releasing a campaign ad for him last week. “The other guy is just rotten to the core,” he said of Republican Dorman Grace. “He’s taking so much money, can you imagine how much money he would take if he got in there and nobody was checking up on him?”
Peterson said he gets “hundreds of e-mails a day saying, ‘Run for president, run for this.'” But not only does he not have the millions to run for president, he said, he knows he’d be “meat out there in a lion’s cage.”
“I talk funny, and the press would eat me alive for my Southern accent, and I’d be a hillbilly from Alabama, but I’m not stupid,” he said to The Daily Caller reporter, whom he repeatedly called “big guy” and “rascal” during the interview.
As for how he feels on national issues: “Obama is not a leader, never has been a leader in his life, never has had any experience being a leader, but he’s the president of the United States.” As for politicians he likes, he said Sarah Palin has “bigger cojones than any other man out there,” and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie “has a lot of balls.”
When it comes to immigration, “nobody seems to have the guts, other than the legislature out there in Arizona and the governor in Arizona,” and he’s mad about the Gulf oil spill, he said, because “no one’s lifted a finger to fix it.” Peterson said he likes to “tell like it is,” yet the country has gotten “so politically correct to the point that it’s killing us.”
Most of the correspondence from fans has been positive, he said. “Of course you always have that one-half of 1 percent of dingbats out there that hate your guts. For some reason, somebody called me a racist. Now how do you get that out of what I’ve done? It just shows that people are really grasping to wear out that word, and it’s not sticking like it used to stick,” Peterson said.
He’s asked for endorsements frequently, though won’t endorse in the state’s governor race until the Republican run-off between Bradley Byrne and Robert Bentley is over. “I really can’t go there until after the runoff, and then I will big time because the bozo over there running on the Democrat side is the former commissioner of agriculture.” Ron Sparks, the Democratic nominee, he said, is “a bigger nitwit you’ll never meet in your life.”
A common theme in both of Peterson’s commercials is accusing his opponents of stealing his signs. Asked to explain, he said, “Every time I’d put up signs in areas – and I put up most of my own signs, let me tell you – I’d go back a couple weeks later, and hell, they gone. I put ’em up again, and they’re gone.”
Peterson, a political novice until this election, said he’s never even run for “for PTA or anything like that” and “politics gives me the creeps, politicians do.”
Looking back on his race, though, Peterson said he thinks his campaign was good for the state and he’d consider his race for Agricultural Commissioner successful if more everyday people are inspired by him to make their own run for office. “I hope that this will cause more genuine people that couldn’t give a rip about politics to actually step out front and say, ‘I’m going to take the heat, because it’s worth taking the heat to fix the mess that we’re in right now.’”
And he said he was happy to grant an interview to The Daily Caller because for once, “it’s good for the people of Alabama” not to have some toothless redneck embarrasses the state — as they always seem to do whenever the TV cameras go down South after a tornado or hurricane to interview a native.
“They found somebody that has all their teeth,” he said with a laugh. “They always find a one-toothed guy. I don’t know where.”
The Daily Caller’s Paul Conner contributed to this report.