HELENA — Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer has a new talking-head gig, signing on as a “contributor” with the NBC family of networks, including the left-leaning MSNBC.
Yet on his first appearance as a contributor on MSNBC on Wednesday, Schweitzer didn’t take a standard liberal position: He talked about the Keystone XL Pipeline, and how he felt that a spill from the proposed pipeline would not damage the Ogallala aquifer in Nebraska.
Schweitzer, a Democrat, said in an interview Thursday that his new agreement with NBC allows him to “opine on the things that I’m passionate about,” such as health care, energy and foreign policy, without being stuck in a partisan pigeonhole.
The former governor had been appearing occasionally on CNN’s “Crossfire,” but said he didn’t like the format because he had to appear as being in favor of everything on the “left.”
“You know what: I don’t think Democrats always have it right, and I don’t think that Republicans always have it wrong,” he said.
Schweitzer said he’ll be appearing on various MSNBC shows and sometimes on CNBC or even “Meet the Press” on NBC. His contract prohibits him from appearing on competing networks, he said.
He made his first appearance Wednesday on a segment of Ed Schultz’s “The Ed Show” that focused on the Keystone XL Pipeline. TransCanada has proposed building the oil pipeline from Alberta to Oklahoma, crossing Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska and Kansas.
As governor, Schweitzer supported construction of the pipeline — as do most Montana statewide Democratic officeholders.
Schweitzer said his new job also allows him to tape the shows from his home on Georgetown Lake, rather than having to travel to New York or Washington, D.C., to tape the shows in a studio.
He said he’ll appear once or twice a week, mostly on MSNBC.
Schweitzer had said last fall that he didn’t aspire to appear on “hair on fire” networks like MSNBC or Fox that have a definite political bent.
Schweitzer is seen by some as a potential presidential candidate in 2016, but he has filed no exploratory documents with the Federal Election Commission.