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. ggmtl

    Sounds like scheitzer wants a little cantor. i guess his "scheitzer" goes off when he sees him

    June 19, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    "See ya when I can see ya."

    Hey, I really do miss you. Not much in the way of laughs since you've been away.

    June 19, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. puddintane

    I'm shocked. He should be banned for life from the NBA, fined $2 million and lose all his possessions. After all, Dems live off peace and love, love and peace, and some dope

    June 19, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. PE

    I am a Democrat and have no problems saying this guy is a jackass and his opinions belong in a period 150 years ago. Why is it that the worst insult you can make is to question one's sexuality if it's a man or the sexual morality if it's a woman? Republicans, don't gloat on this one. You have a closet full of skeletons.

    June 19, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. ES

    Is this guy for real? He's like a bad SNL character.

    June 19, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. qsmurf

    There is a fine line between honesty and tact....Schweitzer seems to have forgotten that and decided to take a page out of the Tea Party playbook that tells him that being "politically incorrect" is more important than simply showing a little common courtesy and decency toward others he disagrees with.

    While many may happen to agree with his opinion, most will not vote for him at this point due to his lack of diplomacy and inability to articulate his message in an intelligent manner....like the Tea Party.

    Are we sure this guy is a democrat? Sounds more like an off-the-rails Libertarian to me.

    June 19, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. JohnRJohnson

    I liked this guy. Until now. He can't control his mouth. A fatal flaw in a leader.

    June 19, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. Lighten up, Francis

    He was right. On BOTH COUNTS. Southern men are effeminate. And the Feinstein bit was spot on as it relates to her and the NSA.

    June 19, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    K-Billy's Super Sounds of the Seventies

    Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right
    ... Here I am stuck in the middle with you.... Yes I'm stuck in the middle with you!
    Good song, very apropo.

    June 19, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. Cynara

    On reflection, I'd like to apologize for my earlier comment comparing politians to insane people.
    That was really an offensive thing to say about insane people.

    June 19, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. sftommy

    As Lisa Simpson once said; "I believe everything you say, with your words and Semitic good looks."

    June 19, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  12. BarneyFrank

    Unlike guys from the north like Barney who are so repulsive that you can't tell what they are

    June 19, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. Steve Newman

    Toast. He peaked last week.

    June 19, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. Gunderson

    Birds of a feather stick together? Folks, I think you have just found Hillary's running mate. But now you are going to get all bent out of shape an plead ignorance! But, What Difference Does It Make??? He will fit right in !!!!

    June 19, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  15. Malcolm

    This is very amusing, as the only study done so far that I'm aware of about "gaydar" showed that a mensuration woman has a higher chance to guess successfully at a man's sexual preference. What does this make Schweitzer?

    June 19, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. somervillechangeling

    Seriously, he was doing it for comic effect and I despise the political correctness that's attacking him. This is not the same as a conservative saying that a woman cannot get pregnant through a rape. He's making fun of Southern manners. Yes, courtly manners are known in the South, and it's sad that the South chose slavery, rebelled against the Union and enacted Jim Crow laws; but that is a separate issue from Southern manners.

    When I moved down here I thought people were too polite. To a Yankee like me that seemed effeminate. In fact, I've had people think I was being hostile to them when I was being polite but emphatic. I gradually learned to adapt after 33 years in Texas.

    As for gaydar, that's a common joke in American culture today. Anyone who views this as discrimination against gays is just plain brain dead and indoctrinated. It's apparent he used it for political effect and that's fine by me.

    I don't even mind if Republicans use cultural references to mock Democrats, just don't make unscientific statements about when a woman can get pregnant. That's as bad as the left making unscientific statements that a fetus is not an unborn child. Regardless of legal protections granted by our society, an implanted fertilized egg will be born barring a miscarriage or an abortion.

    I want fun in our political debates and this is a lot more fun than politicians in New York caught bribing and accepting bribes, though the old joke that "an honest politician stays bought" still holds true. Lots of politicians are bought and sold by K street on the margins of legality and if we can't throw the bums out we can at least mock them.

    June 19, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. uhhuh

    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.

    Ah, preemptive insults. Nice.
    BTW, anyone that is halfway informed about politics, or bothered to read the article before shooting their mouth off already knows the guy is a Democrat, and that he just sealed his political fate.

    June 19, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. Thomas

    Only Rick Perry can tell !

    June 19, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  19. Mike Hatcher

    Southern men are effiminate? Not sure I agree with that and I'm sure he wouldn't say that face to face with a southern man becaue I'm real sure that if he did he would be introduced to how effiminate he is while screaming like a little girl because a southern man is kicking the dog crap out of him.

    June 19, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. republicaninsheepsclothing

    "I would say—and I'm fine with gay people, that's all right—but my gaydar is 60-70 percent..." REALLY? If you're "fine" with "gay people" then why would you throw a remark around like that as an insult? I call BS on both your party affiliation at heart and your purported "fineness" with "gay people." Buh bye to your election, a$$hat.

    June 19, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. Vinny G

    Calling a man gay is definitely an insult. Weak men that act effeminate and behave like girls. Its embarrassing. That's why a lot of families disown them and fathers everywhere pray, wish and hope their sons don't choose that behavior growing up. We have to raise our kids right and make kids know the behavior is NOT right.

    June 19, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  22. ok

    Gov Schweitzer it is really unfair to imply that all men in the south are like Lindsey Graham.

    June 19, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  23. really

    it was a useless comment to begin with.

    June 19, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. shoos

    At least he opened his mouth before people blindly gave him money for a Presidential bid. Democrat or Republican, he's kind of an embarrassment now for poor Montana.

    June 19, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  25. tv22

    That was a pretty quick campaign attempt. Did Hillary somehow force him to say this?

    June 19, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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