January 25th, 2010
11:36 AM ET
5 years ago

South Carolina Lt. Gov. compares poor to 'stray animals'

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer is running for governor this year.
South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer is running for governor this year.

(CNN) - South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer isn't backing away from controversial remarks he made over the weekend comparing needy people to "stray animals."

Bauer, who is one of several candidates seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination, said Friday that providing government food assistance to lower-income residents - things like food stamps or free school lunches - encourages a culture of dependence.

"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals," Bauer told an audience in the town of Fountain Inn, according to the Greenville News. "You know why? Because they breed."

"You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply," Bauer continued. "They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better."

Bauer said recipients of government assistance should undergo drug testing or be forced to attend parent-teacher conferences, or else lose their benefits.

His comments drew rebukes from rival candidates in both parties along with political and community leaders around the state. Responding to the uproar, Bauer told South Carolina reporters over the weekend that he could have chosen his words more carefully.

But he stood by his basic premise.

"Yes, I believe government is 'breeding a culture of dependency' which has grown out of control, and frankly, amounts to little more than socialism, paid for by hard-working, tax-paying families … against their wishes," Bauer said in an e-mail to supporters on Sunday.

Bauer wrote that the government has an obligation to help people in need, but, he said, "there's a big difference between being truly needy and truly lazy."

"We must find ways to instill some sense of responsibility or consequence into those who are now a part of the cycle of automatic hand-outs," he said in the e-mail. "Generational welfare is bad for the people on it and bad for the state of South Carolina."


Filed under: 2010 • Andre Bauer • South Carolina
soundoff (308 Responses)
  1. joe kiloz

    On the other hand, how come poverty has worsened in the past 40 years despite Johnson's Great Society, Kennedy's New Era, Carter's
    whatever he called it, Clinton's whatever he called it, and the TRILLIONS we've spent on this subject ?

    Yes, they breed

    January 25, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  2. Jay Kay, Minneapolis

    Mr. Andre Bauer, kiss your political future good-bye.

    January 25, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. Buck Wheat

    Wow, the truth hurts....could not of said it better!

    January 25, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  4. Francis Marion

    Holy crap! This idiot is worse than Sanford, Wilson, and DeMint. This is the typical leadership that conservatives crave.

    January 25, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  5. Tony

    Go figure, he's from South Carolina.

    January 25, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. No one famous

    Couldn't have said it any better!

    January 25, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  7. Diane Portland Oregon

    The people of SC need to wake up and realize that this is a common republican belief. This isn't just one man's opinion, its all republicans. With this high unemployment rate I'm sure there are alot of people in SC who would rather be working. Food stamps are probably the only thing keeping their children alive. People!! please take a real look at what is being said by everyone in the republican party. This is not what America needs!!

    January 25, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. Edwin

    "You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply," Bauer continued. "... They don't know any better."

    Wow. So Bauer clearly thinks of poor people as lesser life forms, not really as humans.

    The value of social programs can and should be discussed, but this kind of blatant bigotry is shocking and revolting. But I guess he is just saying what most of the GOP think - it's just that the rest know better than to say it.

    January 25, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. republicans hate america

    I am sure he is Christian

    January 25, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Yep, the man is absolutely right.

    Freedom includes the freedom to starve. It does not include the freedom to have government demand that your neighbours support you.

    January 25, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. Brian

    THESE ARE AMERICANS. Not stray animals, not poor people, not needy people, not deranged people. They are Americans, simple as that. And I like to think that America is the type of place where we don't refer to Americans who have fallen upon hard times as "breeding stray animals."

    You make me sick.

    January 25, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  12. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    South Carolina – home to the country's dumbest politicians. Come on Oklahoma, time to step up!

    January 25, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  13. Jane/Seattle

    And there we have it, the political, racist mind-set of many others and especially Southern Republican'ts! Hopefully, this will spark outrage and this guy will get sent packing.

    Racism is intolerable for any representative of the People! We The People ARE of All nationalities, cultures, colors and races!

    This economic system is STACKED to Benefit the Capitalists who control it, use our labor to profit from their advantage, and then insult so many who have not been taught it's predatory ways and how to manipulate it! Peace

    January 25, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  14. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    No one has ever accused conservatives of being smart.

    January 25, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  15. GI Joe

    I'm beginning to understand why SC votes in such nincompoops.

    There aren't ANY decent people from SC that run for government office. "They have what they want and need, to hell with other humans".

    Secede SC secede. You're all a drain on the USA – especially the slimebag politicians.

    January 25, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  16. Sergio D. Monterroso

    What an Idiot!!!! My mother told me to ignore ignorant people like this one, but I just could not help it. Again what an Idiot.

    January 25, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. stormerF

    Un-popular but the trurth will cut you the same as a lie,and handouts create a society of dependency. Why is that so hard to understand,when you keep feeding people or stray dogs they keep coming back for more. I am not for a government works program but something has to be done. Make them work for their subsidies and handouts. Pick up trash,clean out rivers and lakes,cut the grass in parks,rake leaves,sweep streets,paint curbs,etc,etc.

    January 25, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  18. Erasmus

    Another enlightened deep thinker from the South Carolina GOP. When will people finally figure out that this is how conservatives think – "I have my money, and those who do not have money is because they are lazy and shiftless." And this is the party that thinks that America is going to return them to power. All the corporate money , lobbyists and astroturfing by Freedom Works and the Tea Party bigots will not hide the truth.

    January 25, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  19. Malcolm in St Louis

    People like this remind of the statement once made by the Governor of Texas about George Bush. "He was born at third base and to this day still thinks he hit a triple."

    Illness, accidents, where you were born, your parents income level... all these factors all play a role in how well you do in life. All people are not born equal. We have try to help people to get them to the point where they can succeed on their own.

    I would like to know more about this politician's struggles in life. I supsect he got help some where along the way.

    January 25, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  20. lifelong democrat

    Somehow I agree with Bauer on this, welfare should have limitation, but it now becomes a way of life for some people. Dependency on government doleouts kills a person's desire to improve their life; why work if the government can support you?

    I don't believe in political correctness, I believe in using plain God given common sense. I know a woman with 16 kids, from different fathers; she's on welfare, that never stop her producing more kids. Her reason for having many children, she gets more money from welfare, so she keep on producing. She and octomom is having a contest.

    January 25, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  21. Reggie

    He's right. The homeless continue to beg because it's EASIER THAN WORKING.

    January 25, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. Fitz in Texas

    "things like food stamps or free school lunches – encourages a culture of dependence"

    The truth hurts, but at least someone had the guts to say it.

    January 25, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but....

    "On the other hand, how come poverty has worsened in the past 40 years despite Johnson's Great Society, Kennedy's New Era, Carter's
    whatever he called it, Clinton's whatever he called it, and the TRILLIONS we've spent on this subject ?"

    It's called de-industrialization. look it up. Thanks, global capitalism. Couple that with Reagan destroying the social safety net and cutting edumacation (again, look it up) and there are an awful lot of poor people in the "richest country in the world." Have a nice day!

    January 25, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  24. P. Winslow

    A man will treat humans as he treats animals, and this man sounds as though he would rather have them dead. Take away their breeding rights because they need food. They give vasectomies to men in India and China; why not the United States?? I pity the people who voted for this man, and the people for whom he governs. He is less than nothing.

    January 25, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. lila

    Brian, you must live in one of the northern states. Come to South Carolina and help us support these "Americans". Believe me, they will love a sucker like you!

    January 25, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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