After travelling down to Utah for Mitt Romney’s annual donor confab, former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer is very confident the 2008 and 2012 Republican presidential candidate won’t be making a third White House run anytime soon.
“Mitt Romney is not running for president or anything else. I spoke to some of the family and they said some of the things that my family tells me. They don’t want it, they don’t like it, and they’re not going to do it again,” Schweitzer, a Democrat pondering his own potential presidential bid, told Business Insider Monday. “If I were a betting man, I’d give you 4-to-1 odds.”
Schweitzer then offered up $US100 as terms for this hypothetical bet, noting $US1,000 would be too much for him. That’s quite a contras with Romney, who infamously tried to bet a rival $US10,000 at a Republican primary debate in 2011.
Romney has strenuously denied interest in another run for the White House even as he ups his national profile by promoting GOP candidates across the country. On “Meet the Press” Sunday, Romney called the idea “silly” and said, if he were indeed running, he wouldn’t have invited many of the top 2016 Republican contenders to meet his top donors in Park City, Utah last week.
Schweitzer discussed his speech at the Romney’s event with Business Insider. According to Schweitzer, he decried the war in Iraq, touted natural gas a cheaper and greener alternative to coal, and pressed the case for decreasing the role of insurance companies in the American healthcare system. Schweitzer said he did this all while speaking to “300 of the biggest Republican donors in the planet” who were seated in elevated seats around the speaking platform.
“I was thinking to myself as I was standing out there in the middle … that I now know what the gladiators feel like,” Schweitzer quipped.
Schweitzer also stressed he did not use the platform to criticise Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and first lady who is by far the front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary.
“I see some of the press wrote that I was critical of people. Actually, during my speech, I didn’t mention anybody’s name except Rand Paul, who I said I agreed with on the NSA, ” said Schweitzer. “I think in some ways, I talked to them like a businessperson because I am a businessperson.”
Clinton did come up for Schweitzer at Romney’s confab. During a question-and-answer session, Schweitzer said he was asked a three-part question about Clinton’s “dead broke” gaffe, whether, unlike Clinton, he had driven a car in the last 20 years, and whether he finds himself more relatable than Clinton.
For the first question, Schweitzer said he had also had times where he struggled financially. For the second, the populist former governor described recently driving around with his truck and bulldozer. As far as his relatability goes, Schweitzer gave an artful dodge.
“I said I’m not sure what you mean as ‘relatability,’ but I said I have 61 first cousins,” he recalled, “so I’m related to a lot of people.”
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