CNN Hounds Democratic Politician for Refusing to Back Hillary

CNN's Alisyn Camerota and Chris Cuomo pressed former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer on Friday's New Day over his current refusal to endorse Hillary Clinton or any candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. When Schweitzer pointed out that "Hillary Clinton has been in our living room, on our television now for the last 20 years," Camerota interjected, "But isn't that a good thing? Isn't that a sign of experience?" She later asked, "Why hasn't she won you over? I mean, what is it about her that is keeping you from endorsing her?" [video below]

The CNN anchor led the interview of the former Democratic governor by noting that he "called Hillary Clinton mediocre." She asked, "What's your beef with the former secretary?" Schweitzer replied, in part, that "elections are always about the future, and that's the problem that a – that a Clinton or a Bush has – which is to say, how do I present myself as the new face? How do I talk about the future when everybody else is talking about my past?"

Camerota and Cuomo started taking turns hounding their guest when he made his "Hillary Clinton has been in our living room...for the last 20 years" line:

BRIAN SCHWEITZER, (D), FORMER MONTANA GOVERNOR: ...Hillary Clinton has been in our living room, on our television now for the last 20 years-

ALISYN CAMEROTA: But isn't that a good thing? Isn't that a sign of experience?

SCHWEITZER: I think so-

CAMEROTA: Then why – so why is she not your candidate?

SCHWEITZER: Well, I didn't say she wasn't my candidate. I haven't selected anybody yet-

CHRIS CUOMO: Hey, you kind of hinted it. Gov, you kind of hinted a little bit that you weren't defaulting to her, as many in your party are.

SCHWEITZER: Oh, I'm going to wait, and I – in fact, my good friend Martin O'Malley, I don't think, has gotten a good shot here. I think Martin O'Malley could be a very good president. And, of course, we haven't heard from Joe Biden yet. Is he in, or isn't he? So I'm just going to wait.

CAMEROTA: But – but why hasn't she won you over? I mean, what is it about her that is keeping you from endorsing her?

SCHWEITZER: I haven't heard a plan for the future on how we're going to break our addiction to foreign oil.

Cuomo also pressed Schweitzer when he denounced the Saudi royal family:

CUOMO: You think that you're going to hear from somebody who is a serious player for president that they're going to be against the Saudis?

SCHWEITZER: Well, it isn't about being against the Saudis. We don't need their oil anymore because we're energy independent. Why should we send our young people to the Middle East, prop up the most immoral and corrupt – anti-woman, anti-Christian, anti-Jewish – regime on the planet?

CUOMO: Strong point about sending American men and women, blood and treasure in an area if we don't have a great strategy – nobody is going to disagree with you about that. But this idea of the Saudis – I think it's tied into your own ideas about energy – which may be very good to express – but to put that expectation on a politician who's got a legitimate shot to be president is putting the bar a little too high – right?

SCHWEITZER: No, it's not. We need to be honest-

CUOMO: The Saudis are big allies for the U.S. in the area, as you know-

SCHWEITZER: But why? They're only allies because they have oil....

The former Montana governor did compliment Mrs. Clinton later in the segment when the two CNN anchors brought up the upcoming Democratic presidential debate on their network: "I think Hillary is a great debater. I think Hillary won the debates in 2008....she's going to win debates; and that's why Hillary has said – well, if the DNC wants to have more debates, I'm in – because I think that's her greatest strength."

The full transcript of the Brian Schweitzer interview from Friday's New Day on CNN:

ALISYN CAMEROTA: Let's bring in Montana's former governor, Brian Schweitzer. He has a new e-book called 'Power Up Energy.' Governor, thanks for so much for being on New Day.

BRIAN SCHWEITZER, (D), FORMER MONTANA GOVERNOR: Great to be here.

CAMEROTA: So you have called Hillary Clinton mediocre. What's your beef with the former secretary?

SCHWEITZER: It's not about mediocre. Elections are always about the future, and that's the problem that a – that a Clinton or a Bush has – which is to say, how do I present myself as the new face? How do I talk about the future when everybody else is talking about my past?

And so, that's why the Republicans – they're shooting for that new face. But they've kind of overshot it; and they've decided that you're disqualified to be president if you've ever been in politics. Well, that's probably overshooting it.

Hillary Clinton has been in our living room, on our television now for the last 20 years-

CAMEROTA: But isn't that a good thing? Isn't that a sign of experience?

SCHWEITZER: I think so-

CAMEROTA: Then why – so why is she not your candidate?

SCHWEITZER: Well, I didn't say she wasn't my candidate. I haven't selected anybody yet-

CHRIS CUOMO: Hey, you kind of hinted it. Gov, you kind of hinted a little bit that you weren't defaulting to her, as many in your party are.

SCHWEITZER: Oh, I'm going to wait, and I – in fact, my good friend Martin O'Malley, I don't think, has gotten a good shot here. I think Martin O'Malley could be a very good president. And, of course, we haven't heard from Joe Biden yet. Is he in, or isn't he? So I'm just going to wait.

CAMEROTA: But – but why hasn't she won you over? I mean, what is it about her that is keeping you from endorsing her?

SCHWEITZER: I haven't heard a plan for the future on how we're going to break our addiction to foreign oil. I haven't heard how we're going to stand up to the Saudi royal family, who is the most corrupt and immoral regime on the planet – and we've gone to war for them now at least three times to try and prop them up. If we – if we create an energy system in our country where we never have to buy oil from them again, we'll never send a son or a daughter to the Middle East; and we'll let the Sunnis and Shias decide who's going to control the Middle East, because we don't care. I want to hear that from a presidential candidate.

CUOMO: You think that you're going to hear from somebody who is a serious player for president that they're going to be against the Saudis?

SCHWEITZER: Well, it isn't about being against the Saudis. We don't need their oil anymore because we're energy independent. Why should we send our young people to the Middle East, prop up the most immoral and corrupt – anti-woman, anti-Christian, anti-Jewish – regime on the planet?

CUOMO: Strong point about sending American men and women, blood and treasure in an area if we don't have a great strategy – nobody is going to disagree with you about that. But this idea of the Saudis – I think it's tied into your own ideas about energy – which may be very good to express – but to put that expectation on a politician who's got a legitimate shot to be president is putting the bar a little too high – right?

SCHWEITZER: No, it's not. We need to be honest-

CUOMO: The Saudis are big allies for the U.S. in the area, as you know-

SCHWEITZER: But why? They're only allies because they have oil – and so do we. Actually, we produce more oil than the Saudis do today. We actually have better energy supplies in the United States than the Saudis do.

CAMEROTA: So why aren't we tapping that more?

SCHWEITZER: Well, because we now have 60 years of a history of propping up this immoral, corrupt regime-

CAMEROTA: But what's in it for us? I mean, in other words, we are a natural resource-rich country-

SCHWEITZER: No question-

CAMEROTA: Why aren't we relying on that more?

SCHWEITZER: Well, we're starting to finally. We got ourselves in a position, during the Bush administration, that we were importing almost 70 percent of our oil. We now are the largest oil producer in America – in the world. We have our natural gas supplies. And we're going to solar and wind – and with battery power, we're going to break our addiction to these hydrocarbons.

CAMEROTA: Do you think that Hillary Clinton should take more of a stand on the Keystone oil pipeline?

SCHWEITZER: Well, I think she's probably pretty right about that. I think the environmentalists got way off. There's 20 pipelines that cross the border from Canada right now. There are 160,000 miles of pipelines that crisscross America. And what we did by stopping the Keystone pipeline was put the oil on trains instead, and they go right through our biggest cities in America.

CAMEROTA: So why hasn't she taken more of a forceful stand on that? I mean, she keeps saying I need to wait and see.

SCHWEITZER: Let me tell you why: because values unite and issues divide. And that's why Marco Rubio the other night, when he started talking about lessons he learned from his grandfather, I said – oh, that's pretty good; that's pretty good. When you take stands on issues, you – you're going to divide people. Some are going to support you; some aren't. Values unite people and issues divide. So she's going to kind of avoid some of these issues that are tending to divide people.

CUOMO: Everybody does. That's part of the game. The question is, your ambivalence on Clinton – I have no problem with that. You should wait and see. You know, your party has been very slow, really, in mixing it up. You haven't even mentioned Bernie Sanders, and he's certainly captured the heart of your party so far-

SCHWEITZER: Correct-

CUOMO:  What do you think is going to happen in this upcoming debate with him? What might surprise people when everybody gets up there and a chance to talk?

SCHWEITZER: I don't think there will be that much surprise, because I think Hillary is a great debater. I think Hillary won the debates in 2008-

CUOMO: What about Webb? What about O'Malley?

SCHWEITZER: I think Martin O'Malley is pretty sharp. He'll do well. Bernie Sanders – pretty good, pretty smart – but Hillary – she's going to win debates; and that's why Hillary has said – well, if the DNC wants to have more debates, I'm in – because I think that's her greatest strength.

CAMEROTA: Tell us about your book. Why did you write it?

SCHWEITZER: I wrote it because I'm so disgusted that – I hear from Washington, D.C., no change; we're going to continue to prop up these immoral, corrupt regimes in the Middle East. We're going to continue to support our big oil companies – our multinational oil companies that don't drill for oil in the United States.  They get the oil on the cheap from these corrupt and immoral regimes; and then, we send our men and women to fight a war in the Middle East. We have no business there anymore. There was a time that our strategic interests were in the Middle East because we needed that oil. We don't need that oil today. We can produce our own cleaner and greener energy. When we break that addiction to foreign oil, America will be stronger.

CAMEROTA: Governor, great to talk to you. Thanks so much for coming on New Day.

SCHWEITZER: It was great to be here. Thank you very much.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Labeling Liberals & Democrats CNN New Day Video Brian Schweitzer Alisyn Camerota Chris Cuomo Hillary Clinton
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