June 20th, 2014
07:26 AM ET
5 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. JD Hunter

    If your gaydar isn't 100% accurate TURN IT OFF and never use it again. It causes all kinds of trouble. Hitting on straight guys who don't like it, for one...

    June 19, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. yerkiddinright

    We Democrats also have our fair share of stupid politicians.

    June 19, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. Scott

    Funny that CNN doesn't highlight the fact that this guy is a DEMOCRAT! Imagine the headlines if he was a Republican

    June 19, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. skarphace

    Mark of Tennessee: "He's right"

    Oh, you know that Cantor is gay do you? From personal experience I take it?

    June 19, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. bob baden

    Is he competing with Rob Ford for the dumbest jerk on the planet?

    June 19, 2014 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. Red Dog

    Are we sure this clown is a Democrat and not a Teabagger? As a Democrat and a gay man, I am offended at his comments about Cantor. And the put down of Feinstein??? Time for a bunch of these politicians realize you just don't say the first thing that pops into your empty heads. They need to be held accountable for everything they say and do. . .enough of the current political "business-as-usual" mindset!

    June 19, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. Barry

    I love how they think this is funny. Imagine if he were a Republican. They would be "disgusted", "outraged" even, calling for him to apologize and withdraw.

    June 19, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. Tom Bukowski

    Just because you speak your mind, doesn't make you "outspoken". Stupid, and a fool perhaps, but not "outspoken".

    June 19, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. asouthernman

    If he does run for president he better bring extra security when he comes to the 'south'.

    June 19, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  10. BoFo

    This guy is stupid – a real loser.

    June 19, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. twisted truth

    Sounds like someone has a pillow biting dream with Mr. Cantor as the star.

    June 19, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  12. skarphace

    Bob R: "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?"

    Well, speaking for "Liberals" I would say that he now has no chance of having a successful run at POTUS. If he would have had been a Republican, then he would have gotten more popular due to his rhetoric and you would be here defending his right to "Free Speech". Who is the hypocrite again?

    June 19, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. David McCoy

    Wow this guy is really an idiot

    June 19, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. Terry

    When will politicians learn to just shut up and have an underling accept the money?

    June 19, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. Tony Manero

    My gaydar is close to 100% accurate in San Francisco. It's far less accurate in the South where gays are more closeted, but it's still the same 5-10% of the population, including the long term married who are even more closeted. So if there're about 300 Republicans in the US Congress, 15-30 of them are closet gays.

    June 19, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  16. ANNIER

    Unfortunate comment. He has been a massively successful and well-liked governor here in Montana, retiring with close to 70% approval in a RABIDLY red state. Sometimes you have to cut someone a little slack – on BOTH sides of the aisle!.

    June 19, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. Wagman63

    Come on...everybody sing!!!!
    Well I heard mister Schweitzer sing about her
    Well, I heard ole Gov put her down
    Well, I hope Brian Schweitzer will remember
    A Southern man don't need him around anyhow

    June 19, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. joel palmer

    His presidential ambitions are officially toast. He is done

    June 19, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. skarphace

    The only chance this guy has of ever holding office again is if he moves to a red state and switches to the Tea Party. They would love this guy among their ranks.

    June 19, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. pnclaw

    reminds of Joe Biden.

    June 19, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. Ace

    Throw Lindsay Graham in there too.

    June 19, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. gb0423

    Stupidity is clearly bipartisan.

    June 19, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    Bob R: "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?"
    ------------

    Yeah. We've all admitted he's a democrat. We've also admitted he's a loser. Was there something we missed that you specifically want addressed?

    June 19, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. jim

    If you read between the lines, I think he's actually anti Semitic!

    June 19, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. I mean, it isn't THAT bad

    Seriously, why calling Eric Cantor potentially 'gay' a bad thing? So what if he did say that? Why is being called 'gay' a bad thing?

    I think those who are offended by this are simply homophobic

    June 19, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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