June 20th, 2014
07:26 AM ET
4 months ago

Brian Schweitzer apologizes for 'gaydar' comments about Eric Cantor

Updated 6:25 p.m. ET 6/19/2014

(CNN) –Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer apologized for making some controversial comments about outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Sen. Dianne Feinstein that sparked outrage.

"I recently made a number of stupid and insensitive remarks to a reporter from the National Journal. I am deeply sorry and sincerely apologize for my carelessness and disregard," the possible 2016 Democratic presidential candidate said Thursday on his Facebook page.

In the National Journal piece, Schweitzer shared his perceptions on Cantor's sexuality while discussing the Virginia Republican's shocking loss last week against an unknown primary candidate.

“If you were just a regular person, you turned on the TV, and you saw Eric Cantor talking, I would say—and I'm fine with gay people, that's all right—but my gaydar is 60-70 percent,” Schweitzer said in the interview.

“Don't hold this against me, but I'm going to blurt it out. How do I say this ... men in the South, they are a little effeminate," he said. "They just have effeminate mannerisms.”

Cantor, who represents central Virginia and is outgoing House Majority Leader, has been married to his wife for 25 years and has three children.

Kirsten Kukowski, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said his comments were "out of line," an expected response from the party interested in defending its members. But members of the GOP have also taken heat for comments made about gays and lesbians, including Texas Governor Rick Perry who recently compared being gay to alcoholism, and the Texas Republican Party endorsed conversion therapy.

The Democratic National Committee was also critical.  Spokesman Michael Czin said his comments regarding Cantor are "disappointing especially given his stated support of marriage equality."

Also in the interview, Schweitzer compares fellow Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic senator from California who chairs the Intelligence Committee, to a prostitute.

"She was the woman who was standing under the streetlight with her dress pulled all the way up over her knees," he said about Feinstein’s position on intelligence gathering. “And now she says, 'I'm a nun,' when it comes to this spying. I mean, maybe that's the wrong metaphor — but she was all in!"

Democratic strategist Ben LaBolt, who was also President Barack Obama's national press secretary for his 2012 re-election campaign, said Schweitzer's comments will have consequences, “largely disqualifying” him from presidential run.

"This time the loose cannon was aimed back at the ship," he said.

Schweitzer has proven to be an outspoken and sometimes random pundit since he was unable to run for a third gubernatorial term in 2012 because of term limits. Since then he has publicly pondered a presidential run, even traveling to the critical early caucus state of Iowa in December, where he promoted his opposition to the war in Iraq.

Presumed presidential opponent Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq War and the issue dogged her campaign in 2008. He is one of the few Democrats critiquing Clinton's record.

A populist espousing many liberal positions but who won statewide office twice in the red state, Schweitzer also attended former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s ideas summit in Salt Lake City last week. He offered “perspective from the Democratic side,” Spencer Zwick, Romney's former campaign finance chairman said.


Filed under: Brian Schweitzer • Dianne Feinstein • Eric Cantor
soundoff (406 Responses)
  1. CH

    Seriously? You've got to be kidding. You think it is appropriate to make comments like that to the media about another person? Please...just go away.

    June 19, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Bill inVA

    Potential run for President? He couldn't possibly have been serious. If he was, not sure how he thought he would ever get past Hilary. Then he opened his mouth. How could anyone who takes themselves seriously utter those word about anyone? I am referring to both comments.

    June 19, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. George

    That's Funny!! Because my Gaydar goes off on ALL Republipigs

    June 19, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. John

    We need more people in leadership positions who can speak off the cuff like this.

    June 19, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. Henriette

    I love it. Let the Family Values hotheads duke it out. If Santa got my letter, he'd weigh in on Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham next.

    June 19, 2014 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. Modblahs

    What can you expect from those living in The Land Of The Left?

    It is on the continent of Myopia after all.

    June 19, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. Raoul Duke, Doctor of Journalism

    The guy's a joke. He's fired. Next, please.

    June 19, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. DKH

    Is this guy implying that Cantor lost because people think he is gay? Wow, it's a new low for the Dumbacrates...

    June 19, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. Miss Henceforth

    Huh? Cantor is as gay as OJ is guilty!!!

    June 19, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Cantor is GAY!! I have been saying that for years!!!!

    June 19, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  11. K LeBeouf

    How do you logic with someone like "GEORGE" who spends all day thinking of horrible things to call his fellow Americans. Leftist preach acceptance and tolerance ONLY if you agree with them. The only way to deal with the GEORGES of the world is to crush them at the ballet box.

    June 19, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. TheThinker

    This story is shocking. Usually whoever is doing well this early in the primaries goes on to be President.

    j/k

    June 19, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  13. Jim

    The former Montana Governor is right on target. Please look at the members of congress that frequent Dupont circle gay bars. in Washington DC.

    June 19, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  14. Elliott Carlin

    Schweitzer, though a leftie, is a bit of a breath of fresh air. He has no radar for political correctness. And that is a good thing.

    June 19, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. Merle F.

    Just goes to show that one doesn't have to be a GOP past-prime politico (R Perry of TX) to say stupid things. There are tests for driver's licenses and bartenders, but sadly no intelligence (or morals) test for elected officials. This guy Schweitzer just doesn't know when to "hang it up." This is written by a life-long Democrat.

    June 19, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  16. Merle F.

    Just goes to show that one doesn't have to be a GOP past-prime politico (R Perry of TX) to say stupid things. There are tests for driver's licenses and bartenders, but sadly no intelligence test for elected officials. This guy Schweitzer just doesn't know when to "hang it up." This is written by a life-long Democrat

    June 19, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. Merle F.

    Just goes to show that one doesn't have to be a GOP past-prime politico (R Perry of TX) to say stupid things. There are tests for driver's licenses and bartenders, but sadly no intelligence test for elected officials. This guy Schweitzer just doesn't know when to quit. This is written by a life-long Democrat

    June 19, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  18. Will

    Schweitzer is a complete idiot. I don't particularly like Eric Cantor but the dude is just not gay. Schweitzer needs to have his gaydar recalibrated....

    June 19, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  19. Mark

    I can't believe this guy is actually a consideration for President by some people. Where is the candidate that has a well written intelligent plan to present to the people on how to fix this country. It ain't hillary either!

    June 19, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  20. Will

    Schweitzer is a complete lDlOT. I don't particularly like Eric Cantor but the dude is just not gay. Schweitzer needs to have his gaydar recalibrated....

    June 19, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  21. mindstorms1

    My ignorantdar is very sensitive to dumb people and it went crazy reading about this moron.

    June 19, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  22. Heidi

    It looks like he is trying to get the VP spot running with Mitt Romney or whomever the GOP selects to run.

    June 19, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  23. Jeff--Tacoma

    The GOP doesn't have a monopoly on stupid, this guy proves it.

    The difference is we won’t see this guy on the DNC debate stage. He’s done.

    June 19, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  24. sly

    "Potential run for President? He couldn't possibly have been serious."
    =====
    None of us have ever heard of this bozo, and coming from Montana (is that in the US?) he couldn't be more irrelevant.

    Isn't Montana where they hang gay teenagers from barbed wire fences?

    Y'all Americans are gonna get just as used to gay politicians as you got used to non-white-male politicians: your panties will all be up in a bun for about 5 years, then you'll realize you've lost, and the world has moved ahead of you.

    Same thing happened back in the 60's when y'all fought againest the rights for blacks to vote or marry non-blacks.

    June 19, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    What an idiot. He sounds like Archie Bunker.

    June 19, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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