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. Danno

    Well, I certainly can't vote for him now. Not because of the anti-gay comment but because he's too stupid to know you can't say stuff like that.

    June 19, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  2. CheetahWhizerd

    Political BS. Probably diminished his chances??
    You know WHY that is? Because We The People don't have the 'say' of who gets to be POTUS... THEY do.. TPTB.
    As far as I'm concerned, this man would probably make it close to POTUS if it were up to the people.
    A POTUS hasn't ben 'voted in' by the people in DECADES. They are 'appointed'.
    As for the gay discrimination? This is NOT what this is. This is about control of the population through distraction and division. If it wasn't, then We The People would be deciding about the issue. But we don't decide it, our corrupt representatives(so-called) let TPTB force it on us.. then reinforce it when their 'commands' aren't 'obeyed' in-full.
    If being gay was natural, it wouldn't need to have legal action to MAKE it seem that I is.. it just simply would BE.
    But when people use their natural right to be against the 'gayness' they get chastised and called fools... by the REAL fools.

    June 19, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  3. Brian

    Schweitzer .... I am always amused to watch politicians end their careers.

    June 19, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  4. Jim S.

    All you people saying only gay people have gaydar– you're wrong. Straight people can have gaydar too, it just often isn't calibrated very well. But I know plenty of straight people whose gaydar is pretty good– at least as good as lots of us gay people. C'mon, it's 2014– give credit where it's due!!

    June 19, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. Dave

    Maybe this dude should take a trip to the South. Most of the posts I see on here make fun of Southerners for their gun racks, rebel flag and large trucks...that hardly sounds effeminate.

    June 19, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  6. ceswho

    And people wonder why the Tea Party still has momentum. It's because of people like this slimeball who has been in control. Term limits is our only salvation.

    June 19, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  7. Raoul Duke, Doctor of Journalism

    " he's admitting he's gay, since he has gaydar..." Absolutely. Straight people don't have it. They have whatever Eddie Murphy has when he "feels them staring at his butt."

    June 19, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  8. KW

    I totally agree, I mean look at Lindsay Graham - if he isn't effeminate I don't know who is.

    June 19, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  9. fit4ufor3rd

    —but my gaydar is 60-70 percent,”

    we usually are drawn to our own kind.

    June 19, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  10. Tom in Millstadt

    I like Schweitzer but that i quite a leap!

    June 19, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. maty

    As bad as Rick Perry. Will these tools ever get their feet out of their mouths and back to the work of the country?

    June 19, 2014 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. JJ

    Wow, that dimwit just busted my Imbecile-o-Meter.

    June 19, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  13. tkogrady


    If black people sitting at the counter with white people or using the same drinking fountain were natural, then it wouldn't need to be legal, it just would be . . . oh, right, we did need to legislate that. If freedom of religion were natural we wouldn't need to legislate that . . . oh, wait – we did, crap . . .

    June 19, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  14. betterdays

    It's 2014. That was a compliment. "Straight" is the insult now.

    June 19, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Padraig

    Lindsay Graham is OBVIOUSLY gay. That's not why I don't like him. It's because he's a fascist berk.

    June 19, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. USMC Todd in Texas

    He has no chance at all of winning anything in the Democratic Party. He is also for the Keystone XL pipeline too. He'd never get the Progressive base on Moderates/Independents. As an Independent I think about his ridiculous comments; I could never vote for him....ever. Why can't there just be a common sense candidate, who is interested in staying out of people's lives/bedrooms (gays/abortion), controls spending, cuts the deficit/debt, and is strong on reforms with defense (because it's extremely wasteful), immigration, education, HC, campaign finance and is not divisive or racist and doesn't want to take away our guns....

    June 19, 2014 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  17. Henry

    I don't see anything wrong with what he said. I am straight and I do have a gaydar. So what?

    June 19, 2014 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. tp1776

    I'm a Democrat and I'm calling Schweitzer a jerk; would never vote for him.

    June 19, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  19. ray

    The guy's a dunce. Whoever voted for him should be embarassed by his stupidity – and I'm a democrat.

    June 19, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  20. The Eagle

    He espouses the Democratic ideas at the Romney "ideas summit". Well Well Well - If there was ever a bigger display of a gathering of establishment Republicrats struggling to find "ideas" to survive the American Tea Party.

    June 19, 2014 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. Liz

    Another closet bigot from the liberal democratic party.

    June 19, 2014 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  22. Hooper

    This is a new low, even for the idiots in this party. Why do all republicans attempt to be the biggest creeps in the creepdom.

    June 19, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. Chuck O'Ceallaigh

    This list of responses is embarrassing. In a world where there are problems too numerous to list these folks, the politicians included, are talking about gaydar??!! Are you freaking kidding me? I believe now more than ever that without wholesale removal of most politicians from office, this country is doomed and will go the way of the Roman Empire. Time for the PEOPLE to take back the power and control of our political system the way our founding fathers and mothers intended. We do not want or need the entrenched career political dinosaurs we now have doing everything for themselves with the few brain cells they have and that may be overly optimistic.

    June 19, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  24. Harry Widdifield

    Dude... only gay people have gaydar! 😉

    June 19, 2014 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  25. Future NY times Crossword Entry

    15 Across: First Name Anagram Political Oxymoron: BrianBrainSchweitzer

    June 19, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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