By Dustin Hurst | Watchdog.org
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — While Iowa’s Democratic delegation munched on bacon, sausage and eggs at their Thursday morning breakfast here, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer gave them something else to chew on: his presidential prospects.
Iowa’s white-top tent is the hottest speaking ticket for good reason. A-list politicians looking ahead to the 2016 election spent the week schmoozing the delegation first in the presidential nominating process.
Schweitzer took his turn Thursday, and he didn’t disappoint.
The governor mainly imparted tales of time on his Montana ranch, but nearing the conclusion of his speech, he offered a blistering condemnation of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He slammed President George W. Bush and fellow “neo-cons” for leading young men and women into unnecessary armed conflicts.
“We should have never been there, I’m glad we’re gone, and you can thank (President) Barack Obama for getting out of that damn war,” Schweitzer said of the Iraq conflict.
The governor said that when Montana soldiers killed in action return home for proper burial, he aids the families all he can, but his emotional support is tainted.
“I’ve met with the families … of these people who’ve returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, and I wish to God I could say those words politicians love to say to mothers and fathers,” Schweitzer said.
“I wish I could say to them, ‘Your son, your son died making this country free.’ I wish I could say to them, ‘The flag is safe today because your son died in Iraq or Afghanistan.’
“But I don’t say those words, because I don’t believe those words.”
Instead, Schweitzer told delegates he offers grieving mothers and fathers his personal cell phone number and some consolation.
“Instead I tell them, ‘I don’t know why God chose your family. I can’t make sense of this,’” the governor said.
Schweitzer’s speech offered few clues as to his political plans after he leaves office in January.
During a lighter moment in his address, he disparaged Texas in a lighthearted joke and quickly quipped that the wisecrack might cost him the Lone Star State in 2016.
Exiting the stage, Schweitzer asked a Democratic official Iowa’s county count. “Ninety-nine,” the official replied.
“Maybe I’ll visit all 99,” Schweitzer joked, referring to candidates’ quadrennial task meeting with Democrats across the Hawkeye State.
Schweitzer will address the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, though a firm schedule has not been set. He put himself on a 2016 Democratic presidential candidate short list with his 2008 convention address.
Contact Dustin Hurst at [email protected]