Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 23, 2014

Brian Schweitzer Wants You to Know He Hates Washington, D.C. #MTSEN

In Washington, D.C., the “traffic is bad,” “most of the people you talk to are frauds” and Georgetown “sucks,” at least according to former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

Schweitzer, a possible Democratic candidate for Senate, called CQ Roll Call on Monday to chat after we reached out to a source close to him for comment on this story.

Schweitzer would be favored to win if he decided to run for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Max Baucus. Of course, he didn’t say much in the five-minute interview and boasted as much at its conclusion.

The Big Sky Democrat is no stranger to national politics: He had a prime speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention, plus he once served as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. But in the interview, Schweitzer highlighted his outsider status, downplaying connections to party leadership in Washington or any interest in the city itself.

Here is an excerpt from the Q&A with Schweitzer:

Roll Call: How are you, governor?
Brian Schweitzer: I’m doing fine. I’m actually in Georgetown.

RC: Georgetown, D.C.?
BS: No. Georgetown, D.C.? God, that place sucks. Georgetown Lake. … Come on, I don’t want that smell on me.

RC: Are you where you want to be?
BS: I’m where everybody wishes they could be.

RC: Well you’ve got a better view than me.
BS: That’s right. Plus, it’s not humid here.

RC: Well, the Billings Gazette story over the weekend said you’re trying to get here, for work at least.
BS: They didn’t say that. They said maybe.

RC: Is that accurate?
BS: Maybe?

RC: Maybe you’re looking into it, or maybe you want to run?
BS: Maybe I’m looking at it.

RC: So what are you doing to maybe look at it? It said you were in D.C. — were you meeting here with potential supporters?
BS: Oh, I was having a look around to see how bad it would be to live there. And I concluded it was really bad to live there — traffic is bad, weather is worse. Most of the people you talk to are frauds. You know.

RC: Did you talk to any U.S. senators who offered any advice for you?
BS: I might’ve, but it wasn’t memorable.

RC: So it wouldn’t be accurate to report you’re close to jumping in the race?
BS: No, that wouldn’t be accurate. But that shouldn’t stop you. You know, it’s yellow journalism. Say whatever you want.

RC: Well, I won’t do that. I want to write what’s actually happening.
BS: You’re not going to make it in this business, my friend. You gotta get with the program.

RC: So you’ve had good experiences with the press here in D.C., I guess?
BS: Yeah, people are fine. You got a job to do.

RC: Have you been reaching out to Tester or Baucus folks? They’ve run Senate campaigns in the state recently, and it seems like something you might do.
BS: No, not really. No, I’ve run a few campaigns. The last time I ran statewide I got 65.5 percent and my opponent got 32 percent. So I probably could do something like that again. I don’t know.

RC: How close are you to a final decision?
BS: Um, close. But when I say that, you have to understand that my frame of reference is that I’m a trained soil scientist. As a soil scientist, I’m trained in geology. But more than anything I’m trained in looking at the landscape and being able to describe to a lay person, what formed all of that? Why is that mountain that color and why is it that shape. And I’d be able to describe it by the influences of weather and the geology that was there, and whether it was glaciated or not. But more importantly I’d be able to tell you how many millions or billions of years it took to form that. So when a soil scientist says soon, it could be geologic time.

RC: Which doesn’t help the lay person here.
BS: Especially if you’re looking for a story.

RC: OK, I hear you. Well what else are you up to? Still chairman of the mining board?
BS: I’m chairman of the board of the largest publicly traded company in Montana, the most strategic mine on the planet. It’s a platinum and palladium mine. You can’t build a car anywhere in the world without a catalytic converter, and catalytic converters are made out of platinum and palladium. It’s a pretty strategic mine and we’ve got some things that we are doing there. I actually was on my boat today, tuning her up and trying to get her from sinking again.

RC: I’m sure Guy Cecil and Michael Bennet want you to leave that behind, win a race and come out here. So that’s something you’d really “maybe” consider?
BS: Those names don’t really ring a bell.

RC: Uh, they’re at the DSCC.
BS: I’ll be danged. Huh.

RC: OK, governor. Anything else you want to talk about?
BS: I gave you almost nothing, so I would just occupy some more of your time if I gave you some more.

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