June 20th, 2014
07:26 AM ET
1 month 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. jedclampett

    This guy is absolutely correct when he said southern men have effeminate mannerisms. Just look at Lindsay Graham.

    June 19, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. Sniffit

    Oh brother. Someone get this guy a political strategist who knows what homophobia and misogyny are....

    June 19, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. Put tea bags in the the teapot dome

    With political talent like this, why bother being successful?

    June 19, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. Ping Phong

    So, Schweitzer, I hear that you're getting out of politics...good move.

    June 19, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  5. Kelly

    A 60%-70% effective gaydar rate? At least he's a democrat, so we know this statistic is based on scientific evidence.

    June 19, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. Jay

    Do any politicians ever stop to think anymore in the 24/7 print, post, or air Media world that perhaps they should STOP and think before they speak! It isn't just Republicans or Democrats it is all of them – it is almost like "ok I said something outrageous and I didn't get condemned so I will now say something more outrageous until it becomes too much!" I am just amazed that they can't think of more appropriate things to say and to stick on topic without making outrageous comments!

    June 19, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. dk

    We have to quit being the party of stupid – Bobby Jindal.

    June 19, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  8. sgerg

    Typical GOP stuff. Get with the times GOP. You keep on hating on people you will not be in office. GOP party has been in decline and continue to until they get some smart officials in the party. We need innovators not business men. Business men don't have a good idea of how the world really is. They think money. A well rounded individual is needed.

    June 19, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. spike404

    What a despicable person!

    June 19, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. chew

    Good thing he wasn't a Republican, otherwise the media would have gone wild over his statement.

    June 19, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  11. Truth

    Both major parties have plenty of "stupid" people in them. Note that he's also stereotyping every Southerner..."men in the South, they are a little effeminate." I don't think he's ever been to the South before.....

    June 19, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. JL

    "but I'm going to blurt it out. How do I say this ... men in the South, they are a little effeminate," he said.
    -I wonder if he would blurt that out in front of any of the very effeminate SEC football teams? Apparently effeminate qualities help you win football championships.

    June 19, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  13. Sniffit

    Wow...someone get this guy a political strategist who knows what homophobia and misogyny are...

    June 19, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. zbrantley

    Hey Schweitzer,

    Just a couple of things...1) get a map because VA is not in the South to those people are really in the South. It is on the east coast. 2) Are you really going to make the blanket statement that men in a certain region of the country have effeminate mannerisms? If you just have to, you might want to start with "all men in Montana are fond of sheep in a special way"

    June 19, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  15. Bob R

    Love all of the hilarious comments- you rejects do know he's a Democrat, don't you? So what's it going to be liberals?

    June 19, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  16. Mike B

    Cantor? nah, but Lyndsey Graham, definitely.

    June 19, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  17. Sniffit

    "Before rs does the same thing and brands this dude a republican, and I know this was tough to find in the article, Mr. Schweitzer is a democrat."

    Yeah, you're not a partisan hack always fighting for the GOP/Teatrolls...suuuuuure you're not. Would you like me to start posting insulting predictions of everything you're going to say next? I bet I can make it real painful for ya.

    June 19, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    sgerg says:
    June 19, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am
    Typical GOP stuff. Get with the times GOP. You keep on hating on people you will not be in office. GOP party has been in decline and continue to until they get some smart officials in the party. We need innovators not business men. Business men don’t have a good idea of how the world really is. They think money. A well rounded individual is needed.

    I know it sounds like something a GOPer would say, but this idiot is a Democrat.

    June 19, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  19. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dude is a democrat. And yeah. He's toast politically.

    June 19, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  20. Paul

    Southern dandies and French fops, all part of the aristocratic blue blood lifestyle, no gayness required.

    June 19, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  21. JJ

    Sayonara Brian, 'twas nice knowing you...

    June 19, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  22. Jack M

    On behalf of all gay men, please let me state that we really, really hope he is not one of us!

    June 19, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  23. Bob R

    It's sad when people assume it's a Rep. Love all of the hilarious comments- you liberals do know he's a Democrat, don't you? So what's it going to be liberals?

    June 19, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  24. Keith

    Just because an ex-governor of the great state of "Man-tana" references his gay-dar, doesn't necessarily mean that someone from "Virgin-ia" is gay. I have voted democrat nearly all my life, and I'm pretty sure Eric Cantor is not gay.
    First of all, he would had to have filled out an application. Then get a sponsor, take some courses, go through rush, and lastly all of us gay people would get to vote him in/out. Then after all of that, he can have a coming out party – he could even invite his wife and kids to attend. Just because someone has perfect hair and dainty hands that don't look like they've done a day's worth of real work, doesn't mean that person might be gay.

    June 19, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  25. tb63

    "ONLY a gay person has GAYDAR"

    Probably true, but in my case gaydar is usually little more than wishful thinking. I just don't have that ability.

    June 19, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
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