June 20th, 2014
07:26 AM ET
8 years 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.

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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. tom l

    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.

    June 19, 2014 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  2. June Cleaver

    Put a sock in it.

    June 19, 2014 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  3. tim howe

    Poor, poor political media 🙁

    He was going to run to become a hero to Hillary haters, pretend progressives and the entire political press corps who has been pushing him to run in interview after interview.

    I have a friend, a great political media mind and fighter of the left, who went from DC to work for him in 05 and he said Schweitzer even back then planned a Presidential run one day .

    Big ego, big plans.

    Ooops! Thats now done!

    (The "Clinton Curse" has taken another deserving "victim" 🙂

    Btw, My friend loved Montana, ended disgusted by Brian, gone in a year.

    June 19, 2014 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  4. smith

    Wow, this guy is something else. He get`s the thumbs down from me for his harsh comparisons.

    June 19, 2014 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  5. twisted truth

    Tell us what you really think

    June 19, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  6. twisted truth

    If anything happens to Hillary, were screwed. I'm thinking he's got a clown suit nearby.... sigh....

    June 19, 2014 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    Versus, say Brian Schweitzer, who prostitutes himself for his own personal glory? This man is way below acceptable political behavior regardless of political party affiliation of (and) who he's insulting.

    That this man actually attended Mitt Romney's weekend retreat last week gives one considerable pause in the implications of discussions surrounding that event. Surely even Mitt Romney wouldn't go this far in future bi-partisan "oh, look ... I had a democrat at my event" talking points. Or would he?

    June 19, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  8. Mark

    Sometime certain people should be seen and not heard. This is one of those individuals. Just shut up.

    June 19, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  9. Robert

    Totally inappopriate to speculate on someones sexuality in this manor.

    June 19, 2014 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  10. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Dude, please sit down and shut up. Don't even waste your time running for POTUS. The statements you made about Eric Cantor and Dianne Fienstein will sink you.

    Big mouth blowhard.

    June 19, 2014 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  11. Mark of Tennessee

    He's right

    June 19, 2014 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  12. 1termlimits

    If Schweitzer owned a major sports team, he would be forced to sell it with comments like that....

    June 19, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  13. DC Johnny

    Once again, behold the tolerance and political correctness of the left.

    June 19, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  14. Sheryl Mexic

    If he was really fine with gay people, he would never talk like that.

    June 19, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  15. Rob

    Is he the best chance for Democrats in 2016?
    Schweitzer and a 70-year-old ex-First Lady??

    June 19, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  16. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    As homophobic of a statement that he made, I have to agree with him. I think Cantor has a little bit of sugar in his tank. If he intends on running for POTUS in 2016, he pretty much lost the LGBT vote with that comment.

    "men in the South, they are a little effeminate"

    And that comment just lost him most of the southern democrat vote.

    June 19, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  17. boof

    oh, thats funny

    June 19, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  18. JC

    Biden/Schweitzer 2016: Do it for the Lulz

    June 19, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  19. PJ

    What else would you expect from a Democrat other than personal attacks? Running on accomplishments? ha.

    June 19, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  20. 1776usa2016

    It's Montana.

    We understand.


    June 19, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  21. maggiwood

    Keep talking right-wingnutties! Every crazy word you speak gets a Democrat closer to the White House!

    June 19, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  22. matt

    Ive been saying it for a decade.

    June 19, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  23. Gunderson

    I'm not sure Gov. Maybe the Martians have landed?

    June 19, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  24. Lily

    Go Schweitzer go! It is all about FREEDOM OF SPEECH. You can talk whatever pops up in your head. You have the right to do so.

    June 19, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  25. Jesse

    HAHAHA wow, this guy perfectly described Dianne Feinstine.

    June 19, 2014 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
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