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. cinemattla

    My gaydar is 99% certain that LIndsey Graham is a lesbian.

    June 19, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  2. Citizen_123

    Gotta say those were some colorful comments he made but pretty stupid of him to say them if he really has presidential ambitions.

    June 19, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  3. 2L

    So, in other words, he's admitting he's gay, since he has gaydar...

    June 19, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  4. NSL

    I find Brian Schweitzer's comment offensive to say the least. I'm not a Cantor fan. In fact I think he's been awful in Congress, but Schweitzer's comments are more than ridiculous. They are embarrassing to this Dem.

    It's about time we get racist Dems and Reps out of here and reduce them to totally sitting on the sideline, identified as the pariahs they are, so no one listens to them or considers them to be newsworthy at all.

    It's about time we no longer merely listen to the words of Martin Luther King when he said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Every American needs to take that dream for their own and embrace it. In fact, I would enlarge its scope to say, "I have a dream, that my family will some day live in a nation where everyone will be judged solely by the content of their character, and their actions as human beings."

    As a nation, we have come a long way since August 28, 1963, when Dr. King gave that speech, the greatest one given by an American in my lifetime (The second is John Kennedy's inauguration speech.), but unfortunately we have a much longer road to travel than the one traveled thus far to reach that dream.

    June 19, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  5. rl

    Don't you just love it when the republicon/TBers attack each other. Actually I really do.

    June 19, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |

    "He won't be Hillary's VP pick" . . . Never say never, politics DOES make strange bedfellows.

    A smart strategist would find a way to augment HRC appeal. If she could keep the TEAM Obama map plus pick up an unexpected marginal RED STATE (purple), then Hillary's victory is assured as well as the liberal reclamation of the SCOTUS.

    We turn Missouri, New Mexico, Arizona and/or Montana and this is a wrap. For that, Schiwietzer May be polished up and forgiven. Both HRC & BS will be made to check their egos at the door for the greater good.

    June 19, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. Marcus

    LOL. These politicians just keep coming up with the dumbest comments. They must be watching too much reality T.V. and think it's cute.

    June 19, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  8. Ryan

    Truth hurts!

    June 19, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  9. dirksterdude

    Well, if he runs I certainly will not be voting for him.

    June 19, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. rl

    I am sorry that I called the ex-Govenor a republicon/TBer. What I meant to say is when someone calls them as they really are. The republicon/TBers have seemed that way to me also, but I am not in the running for President in 2016 so it doesn't matter if I state the truth. I do.love it.

    June 19, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. That Guy

    He was my State's Governor and he went downhill after leaving office.

    June 19, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. David

    Sounds like someone's got a crush!

    June 19, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. Douglas

    well, with comments like that, it look like this Schweitzer guy must be planning a conversion to the republican party. those ridiculous statements will likely put him in high regard with some of the Repubs around America. 🙂

    June 19, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. atroyfoster

    Schweitzer seems to spend a lot of time observing men.

    June 19, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  15. IDontKnow

    Gay neighbor told me he was married for many years. He has 3 kids too. Things may not be what they seem.

    June 19, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  16. Rick Robeson

    Men of the South are 'effeminate'? Really? He must be hanging around the ex-plantation owning families. And I believe the term is 'gentile', considered to be civilized, not effeminate. He should drive through the south and really listen to the 'men of the south'. Well wait, maybe he was just referring to Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. I wonder what he thinks Montana men sound like? Red-Neck?

    June 19, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  17. Raoul Duke, Doctor of Journalism

    Southern? My old roommate was raised by a dad who used monosyllables and a mom who talked nonstop waving her hands. One of my favorite moments was watching a guy who was dissing me for having a 'sissy' friend realize that his girlfriend was outside in the dark doing it with the guy he was calling a sissy. He was like that Zevon song – "I went home with the waitress, the way I always do."
    That said, Schweitzer's a fool but there is something uncomfortably intense about Cantor. But how would any of us look on camera all day?

    June 19, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  18. PtBarnumBoy

    I second what Douglas says. Something this stupid usually comes from a mouth whose breath smells of tea.

    June 19, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  19. John

    Look at his face! My 'gaydar' tells ME that Brian Schweitzer taps his toes under mensroom stalls in airports. Perhaps it goes with the rarefied air out in Big Sky Country.

    June 19, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  20. Hayek

    You guys do realize that Brian Schweitzer is a Democratic, right?

    June 19, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  21. DJ Reality

    I always thought Cantor was a little light in his Loafers.......Ha ha ha ha ha...

    June 19, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  22. Spot the elder

    If it walks like a lame duck and quacks like a lame duck....

    June 19, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    "We turn Missouri, New Mexico, Arizona and/or Montana and this is a wrap. For that, Schiwietzer May be polished up and forgiven. Both HRC & BS will be made to check their egos at the door for the greater good."

    Forgiven by whom? Certainly not the voters, because yes, his comments were that offensive. We can't sit back and criticize the Sharon Angle's and Todd Aikin's and then pinch our nose and vote for those from our own party who are just as offensive in their comments. I watched this man speak at the DNC and whether or not he is beloved by the state he represents is of no consequence (to me anyway); he is a lose cannon and not fit emotionally to be given the chance become public fodder and laughter. We've enough of those on the other side to last a lifetime. We don't need to add our own to the list.

    June 19, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. mg

    I like the guy, way more than Hillary.

    June 19, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. Deej

    Yes, it's true. We have major idjits saying ignorant things on our side of the aisle, too. It amazes me that some of these people manage to get into a high office in the first place.

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