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. lcs

    So I guess 30-40% of the time he strikes out.

    June 19, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. Stanton

    Why is it that politicians just don't know when to keep their mouth shut??

    June 19, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. Hooper

    Republican or democrat, their mostly creeps.

    June 19, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. Raoul Duke, Doctor of Journalism

    " gun racks, rebel flag and large trucks...that hardly sounds effeminate." Like I said, a lot of farm boys have dads who say 'yup' and 'nope' and are gone all day anyway and they learn to talk from their moms. Keep a close eye on your girlfriend when you are in the South because we know what women like.
    And Lindsay Graham can dress like a man if she wants to. It's a free country.

    June 19, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. aj

    I'm straight, but I have gaydar. That's how I met my boyfriend.

    June 19, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. Marty

    I don't know what that means

    June 19, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. ALLuh

    What an imbecile, typical for the GOP, great candidate, bring it.

    June 19, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. Raoul Duke, Doctor of Journalism

    " loose cannon was aimed back at the ship" No, dude, a loose cannon rolls back and forth across your deck, knocking sailors into the water until it finally breaks a rail and sinks. It isn't firing, it's rolling with your ship and stopping you from defending yourself.
    People need to learn these things. Clint conflated 'empty suit,' a phony, with 'empty chair,' a speaker who has been politically silenced. Then he railed at his silenced opponent like a fascist demagogue. If it had been an empty suit on a hanger, he'd have been brilliant. With an empty chair, he portrayed the villain. And he's a fuggen director who ought to know these things.

    June 19, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. Jake from State Farm

    You know what's really g@y? Being the only male in the studio audience for the "Ellen" show taping. Now that's effeminate!

    June 19, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. bigprof72

    he's probably right about southern manners. i grew up in the south, and that whole happy as hell andy griffith type of manners shows in john edwards, eric cantor, clay aiken, etc. it doesn't mean their gay, its just that they're happy. this doesn't ruin schweitzer, but don't expect to win the south in democratic primaries. he's probably running for VP anyway

    June 19, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  11. A Shining Democratic candidate

    This gay basher is perfect for the Democrats - a sterling example of their hypocricy and demonizing playbook. I hope he challenges Hillary

    June 19, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. mike bauer

    well, you know, the gay thing and 'people' - someone up there in the discussion mentioned that the 'real people' are against this and that, but i think the real people want to be told how to think, and the biggest bully in the room calls their tune - for real people, sometimes it's, "the only difference between a straight and a gay is two six-packs', and other times it's, 'oh, burn them all'. it's not that the times are changing, it's that there's no big bully right now to make them dance. give us another great depression and the emerging left or right bully will tell them what 'gay' is about.

    June 19, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. RomneyWho

    "Gaydar" That's funny . . . The insanity that dwells within the twisted minds of the double speaks . . . Some fly so low, that they can't be detected and are hidden in plain sight. This world has gone mad, I tell ya, mad! 🙁

    June 19, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. Incipio

    This > "Brian Schweitzer says his 'gaydar' goes off when he sees Eric Cantor"

    So.. out of all of the possible issues he could of discussed and brought to the table.. he chose.... this?

    June 19, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. just asking

    he's the typical democrat hypocrit.... gaydar? seriously?! was he drinking or high??? was this interview done in colorado?

    June 19, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. PoliticiansREvil

    I imagine his "Gaydar" really goes off when he sees Obama in a swim suit.

    June 19, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  17. rosaadriana2014

    I think he has Cantor confused with Lindsey Grahm.

    June 19, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. Jeff--Tacoma

    This is officially the stupidest thing I've every heard a politician say (and that's pretty bad)

    "How do I say this ... men in the South, they are a little effeminate," he said. "They just have effeminate mannerisms.”

    How do you say it? You don't!!!!

    June 19, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. yeahright

    What an imbecile, typical for the GOP, great candidate, bring it.
    Well. that IS true, but the dude's a Democrat.

    June 19, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. sly

    Republican or democrat, their mostly creeps."
    Americans – they are mostly idiots. And please, don't expect them to write an intelligent, grammatically correct sentence.

    One thing that Americans are good at, blame the guy next door for all your faults. When you elect your politician, be sure to blame him for everything that's wrong.

    One thing that Americans are really really really bad about: Looking in a mirror to see where the problem is.

    June 19, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. Jon

    This guy is such a clown, I do not understand how he keeps getting interviews. Totally not ready for primetime.

    June 19, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. Texans@63

    Oh, CheetahWhizerd, how wrong you are. You say "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." If that was the case, we would not have had to enact any sort of civil rights legislation, because people of color, not needing any sorts of rights or protections, were not, in your argument, naturally black or of another race of color. Here's how your statement reads back in that case" If being black was natural, it wouldn't need to have legal action to MAKE it seem that I (sic) is..it just simple would BE."

    June 19, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. Geoff Maguire

    Yet another outbreak of foot and mouth disease

    June 19, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. Raoul Duke, Doctor of Journalism

    "Because We The People don't have the 'say' of who gets to be POTUS." Don't pretend to speak for the whole USA, you pompous twit. You sure don't represent me. No, your little group of super-friends doesn't get to decide the election for us all, and that's GREAT. The whole country votes, and the votes are counted. Being butthurt because Mitt lost is dumb; he was an AWFUL choice.

    June 19, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. Raoul Duke, Doctor of Journalism

    "This gay basher is perfect for the Democrats " Surprise! We dump guys like that. Seen Edwards lately? The GOP runs them for president but the DNC runs them out of town. He's toast.

    June 19, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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