Country star Blake Shelton has jumped to the defense of embattled singer Kelly Clarkson after she came under fire from critics for voicing her support for Republican U.S. Congressman Ron Paul.
The "Miss Independent" hitmaker sparked a fiery online debate on Wednesday after expressing her "love" for Paul and telling her Twitter.com followers that she would vote for the politician if he becomes the party's candidate for the 2012 presidential election.
But her comments angered a group of left-wing fans and they bombarded the former American Idol winner with hate-filled messages, prompting Clarkson to beg her detractors to back off.
In a series of posts on the microblogging site, Clarkson wrote, "I am really sorry if I have offended anyone. Obviously that was not my intent... I like Ron Paul because he believes in less government and letting the people (all of us) make the decisions and mold (sic) our country. That is all."
She later added, "Man my eyes have been opened to so much hate tonight. If y'all ever disagree with something I say please don't feel the need to attack me. I will listen to what you say and any articles or viewpoints you have when you say it with respect..."
But Clarkson can rely on at least one high-profile Twitter follower to defend her - Shelton has reached out to the young singer to offer his support.
In a message to Clarkson on Thursday, Shelton writes, "@kelly_clarkson I love you!!!! I'll listen to your view points anytime. And I really wouldn't mind throat punching someone for you either!!"
Replying to the kind tweet, Clarkson wrote, "@blakeshelton thanks :)"