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. Name Lee

    Mr Schwietzer just outed himself. I have never heard a straight man refer to his gaydar

    June 19, 2014 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  2. Jsmith

    I vote for this as the most pitiful article of 2014. Who gives a rats furry crack what this guy thinks?

    June 19, 2014 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. O'drama ya Mama

    Well that was kind of stupid. Not that I'd vote for you anyway but dissing the south and calling another member of your political party a prostitute aint gonna get you that 2016 nomination.

    June 19, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  4. Vince

    And the left is....silent.

    If this guy were a republican, he would have been ripped a thousand times by now...

    June 19, 2014 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  5. bigbendjc

    Politicians will never learn. Keep La Voca SHUT! The more a politician says the dumber they look.

    June 19, 2014 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. Jeff Cox

    Men in the south are effeminate? What???

    Has this guy ever been to the south?

    June 19, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. bigbendjc

    Politicians will never learn. Keep La Voca SHUT! Every time a politician opens the mouth, the more they tend to show their real IQ!

    June 19, 2014 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  8. Mike from CO

    Well crap, I liked Schweitzer a potential candidate, too. So much for that I suppose...

    June 19, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  9. rs

    Ahhh, the wonder of politics and those attracted to it.

    June 19, 2014 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  10. Vladimir Putin

    Hahaha! this the funny!

    June 19, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. skarphace

    Yeah. Good luck on that Presidential run, there, buddy. Maybe you should consider a pundit position on Fox of MSNBC instead?

    June 19, 2014 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  12. Anonymous

    Why doesn't CNN include Brian Schweitzer's party affiliation in the headline like they would if he was a Republican.

    June 19, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  13. smeyer418

    It takes one to know one..end of presidential ambitions

    June 19, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. mickmartn

    ONLY a Gay person has GAYDAR! LOL
    A self proclaimed straight person, using the term... his Gaydar went off when he see's... blah blah blah
    That is a coming out of the closet comment if I ever heard one, and I have heard 1000s in my life.

    June 19, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  15. Bzarr

    This guy has got to be related to Todd Akin.

    June 19, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. Cynara

    I don't know–why do we only let the insane people into politics? Is it the new version of the asylum?

    June 19, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  17. Ron

    This is the kind of thing that usually comes out of the mouths of people in the "stupid party." There are plenty of ways to take issue with Feinstein and Cantor without using negative stereotypes. If he's fine with gays, then why would he use innuendo and a gay stereotype to belittle someone? And yes, it was a wrong metaphor to use with Feinstein. BTW, you can be blunt and straightforward without saying stuff like this.

    June 19, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  18. Nicholas Blair

    Okay, he just punched his ticket to nowhere.

    June 19, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  19. Steve

    Reminds me of old school Saturday night live news skits: "Jane, you ignorant s..." I think it kind bumps my opinion of politicians to speak their mind. We get better insight as to who we are electing, or not...

    June 19, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  20. Increasingly Grumpy

    With his recent comments, if Brian Schweitzer isn't deliberately trying to ensure that he never holds elective office again, then he must have lost his mind. I mean, you just can't say such bizarre things and have expectations that people are going to trust you. He now joins Rick Perry in the "no way" club when it comes to the presidency.

    June 19, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  21. Chuck

    These people are totally nuts, and yet the sheeple continue to follow them without thought of their own. How very sad.

    June 19, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. Kathleen

    Brian's mouth is kinda like the gingerbread man in the story: it just jumps up and runs away all by itself.

    June 19, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Ooh boy!
    It's going to take some doing to knock the likes of Herman "Where are all the white women at?" Cain, and Rick "Three very important agencies I would get rid of if only I could remember" Perry off the Most Unqualified People Who Have Ever Run for the Presidency box, but this guy is giving them one helluva run for their money.
    Run Schweitzer! Run your mouth!!

    June 19, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  24. Blake

    I just wonder if he will recieve the same attacks and criticism from those on the left that espose tolerence as he would if he had a R next to his name? While I support the idea of marraige staying the traditional definition of 1 man, 1 woman, I have not emnity toward gay individuals. In fact, I believe that gay couples shoud get all thegovernment benefits that straight couples get. But my question is, why is it the calling of one gay is seen as an insult? I have seen plenty of people on both political sides attack ones sexuality as a form of insult, yet there is nothing wrong with people who have same sex attractions. So why do people (as the one in the article) try to use it as a form of insult, especially when they espouse that they are tolerent?

    June 19, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  25. registered voter

    Freedom of Speech, nothing wrong with what he said and I have to agree with him. So what he's married with three children, that doesn't mean he's not bi-sexual. Fox News and its right wing nuts cry Freedom of Speech all the time.

    June 19, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
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