Schweitzer: 'Somebody other than a Bush or Clinton' should be president

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer suggests in a new interview he might seek the Democratic nomination in 2016, questioning whether "somebody other than a Bush or Clinton" could be president.

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Schweitzer told Real Clear Politics's Scott Conroy that voters in the early presidential caucus and primary states would be open to his populist message and hungry for an outside-the-beltway candidate.

“I still hold the people of Iowa and New Hampshire in high regard,” Schweitzer said. “The people of Iowa are a whole lot like the people of Montana. And, of course, New Hampshire’s a lot like Montana. We don’t have a sales tax. ‘Live Free or Die’ — we understand that notion in Montana.”

Clinton is far and away the front-runner to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, although she hasn’t said whether she’ll run. 

The former secretary of State benefits from near universal name recognition, but Schweitzer, who has a reputation for grabbing headlines for his straight-talk, argued that candidates have overcome that obstacle in the past.

“Who would’ve thunk Obama would come out of this thing when you had, my God, Dodd, Biden, Billy Richardson, Hillary Clinton,” he said. “So the nice thing about the people of Iowa is they ain’t going to let the rest of America make up their minds for them.” 


In the interview, Schweitzer wondered why candidates for president have in recent decades consistently come from two families.

“There’s a whole lot of America that looks at each other and says, ‘Well, there’s 340 million people living in America. Isn’t there somebody other than a Bush or a Clinton who can be president in these modern times? Isn’t there hope for somebody who’s running a business or who has served overseas or comes from a different occupation to become president? Are we now in the era of royalty again?’ So I think there’s some level of frustration about that.”

Schweitzer, who is massively popular in his home state, considered running for Senate earlier this year to replace retiring Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana), but left Democrats scrambling for a viable candidate when he declined.