On the road — including stops this year in early primary states — Schweitzer uses his high-energy speaking style to rouse audiences against the Afghan war and to tout energy independence.
Humor columnist Dave Barry called Schweitzer "a wild man" after Schweitzer wowed him with a graphic lesson on cattle castration at the Democratic National Convention. Barry wrote after the bar-side encounter that "if we don't elect this man, at bare minimum, president of the United States, we are even stupider than I think we are."
University of Montana political scientist James Lopach said the governor could be tapped for an Obama administration post if the politics of a second term require a centrist on energy or agriculture issues. The potential for a longshot run at president in 2016 remains.
"He is kind of bigger than life, the media like that, and he might be able to get a lot of early media exposure," Lopach said.
On the tour of his ranch, a reporter had to gun a four-wheeler to keep up with the governor.
The ponds are stocked with trout Schweitzer bought from a former Constitution Party legislator who was rarely a friend to the administration. Schweitzer kicks up Native American arrowheads next to a stream.
He tells the story of how he bought his wife a pistol so she wouldn't be afraid to use the outhouse at night because of wolves and bears. And he loves a laugh, suggesting a reporter urinate on an electric fence to see if it was powered up.
Does that really electrocute? his visitor asked.
"What do you think?" Schweitzer said with a big laugh.
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