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. Debby

    Stupid comparison if this guy has kids, but I do agree with him about to many out there on government or state assistance which leads to more drug buying and selling.

    January 25, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. Tayo, NY

    What an arrogant human being!

    How I wish the great people of South Carolina will stand up to this bully!!

    He should say the same thing to thousand of homeless vets in his neighborhood!!!

    January 25, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    GOP eugenics. Social darwinism should have died long ago, but it's unsurprising that it hasn't when the ones with money and power and unchecked advantage to compete are still somehow convincing their minions to believe in it against their owwn interests. Go ahead morons, elect people like this...see where it gets you.

    January 25, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. Jaime

    I read/searched through all the posts and found only one pointing to corporate welfare. Do corporations not come back year after year for government welfare? How about middle class welfare disguised as tax breaks, such as breaks for home loan interest payments? The Lt Governor conveniently forgot to mention these two very much larger welfare handouts, didn't he?.

    I think that this shows the mindset of many Republicans: I am better off than others because I work hard (and took advantage of a 200+ year headstart on this country's minorities, especially native Americans, blacks, hispanics, and more recently Asians), while the poor are so because they are lazy (and did not prosper during our 200+ year headstart).

    I cannot understand how in good faith–I hope that's the case–they can reconcile this mindset with their religious beliefs and teachings. Though, I guess they can in the same manner that they reconciled lynchings and lesser crimes committed against blacks, Mexican-Americans, and other "outsiders," not too long ago, even during the lifetimes of many living Americans, including many Republicans now in positions of power and wealth.

    January 25, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. Melissa

    What an unfeeling pig. I'm so sick of Republicans.

    January 25, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. Puzzled

    There is a five year lifetime limit on receiving welfare and there has been for many years. The limit was enacted by the federal government during the Clinton administration. This idea that able-bodied people can receive welfare for life is a lie.

    January 25, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Adam

    Seig heil, mein Fuhrer Bauer!

    Leave it to a politician from South Carolina to say something this outrageous. However, let's not blame him for his ways, or the numerous people on here that have retorted with, "You must be from one of those northern states if you disagree." Really, the blame lies with Abraham Lincoln; he should have just let the CSA break away. UNION FOREVER!

    January 25, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. Voter

    You all do not erealize the majority of people who have ran out their "benefits" as it is called get on social security – I know that because I have family that has done this and never held a job in their lives. My husband and I work full time jobs and pay our way all the while at least a dozen people we know or are aquanted with live on food stamps, aid to dependent children, medicaid, housing assistance, utility assistance etc. I will stress THEY HAVE NEVER HELD A JOB IN THEIR LIVES!!!! So how do they continue to receie benefits? If you fall on hard times after having a job and actually own anything – you CANNOT GET HELP! what nation do you people live in – you can get all the help you need if you do nothing – go apply for help if you cannot afford insurance or food and they will tell you to quit working – I know that from a coworker – who is a single mom with a job but does not qualify for assistance ! They system is a joke...

    January 25, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. Albert K. L.A., CA

    That pompous pose is like the painting 'Blue Boy.' Maybe that makes Palin 'Pinkie'.

    January 25, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. MEW

    Mr. Bauer left out the fact that his party, since the time of Reagan, has declared war on the middle class and the poor, at the expense of their rich, mostly white, constituency – that's what has produced a permanent underclass in this country! After all, no one ever gets rich in America other than my stealing what rightfully belongs to others!

    January 25, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. The Philadelphian

    I am a Republican, but please don't compare me nor others with an idiot like this so-called representative of the people. He doesn't have the market cornered on idiocy. The Democrats have created "dependent city-states" in just about every major city of this country and don't care if the youngsters are dying (read Colbert King's columns in the Washington Post. ) Both parties are so busy playing a "tit for a tat" in Wasginton, DC that they have forgotten how to actually legislate for the good of the country. The idiot described in this article is a prime example. Term limits would be a major start in givng us back our government!

    January 25, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. CommonSenseTexan

    Aside from the complete lack of Christian compassion, knowledge of the character of Jesus Christ, and the lack of biblical knowledge, Lt. Gov. Baues has overlooked several points.

    1. Many of the families of American Soldiers are the receipients of programs such as WIC, and food stamps. The base pay rate of an enlisted soldier holding the rank of E1, with up to 2 years of military experience is $16,794. This before any inlcluded allowances (if the soldier qualifies), and bonuses. He's also not taking into consideration how many thousands of National Guardsmen, and Reservist have lost their well paying civilian jobs due to being deployed, and their families are now on welfare.

    2. The Personal Responsibility and Work Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Welfare Reform) mandates the following: A.) The head of every family receiving welfare benefits must work within two years of benefit receipt, or they will lose all benefits. B.) After receiving cash assistance or other benefits for two months, adults must work or perform community service. Each state has at it's discretion the right to omitt the community service requirement. C.) Lifetime wlefare benefits are limited to 5 cummulative years, which each state may lower at it's discretion.

    3. Federal Programs such as WIC are designed to help Americans who meet the eligibility requirements, to provide healthy meals for children from birth to age 6. Effective July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 a family of 4 living anywhere in the 48 contiguos states, D.C, or any US Trust Territory may receive WIC benefits if their annual income does not exceed $40,793. This program is designed to assist single working mothers, divorcees, widows, and married couples where one parent works full time and the other only part time or is staying at home to avoid the ever rising cost of childcare.

    4. South Carolina has a 12.6% unemployment rate which is up form several months ago, and is expected to rise again. Looks as if S.C. will be adding more "stray animals" to their care.

    There are some that do take advantage of the system, but that's true of every system. The tax payers have to had to give a hand out to the banking industry twice, once in 1989 and again in 2008. On both ocassions the fat-cats took bonuses, and gave us the finger. You want to discourage a culture of dependacy, start with the financial industry.

    January 25, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. vet in TX

    I would like all the people claiming this and that about welfare to actually do research and quit using the "handout" claim that became popular with the opposers phychologically using that term to basically mean "minorities" for voting purposes to learn what it takes to receive it and to keep it. They don't know what it entails besides thinking it's a check or actual "stamps". It was reformed in the 90's and has limitations as well.

    the use of certain words to describe a ambiguos group of people blatently points that out.

    January 25, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. WTH?

    It's funny how the republicans on here are blaming Obama STILL for the TARP fund and Bank BAILOUTS didn't Bush start this giant snowball rolling 2 yrs before he left office? It's like he knew Obama was going to win the election and decided to destroy the country just for the hellofit because he knew his republican sheep would close their eyes and point the blame at Obama instead of seeing the truth! A Republican president started the welfare system to keep and maintain cultural dependency in the black and immigrant communities and yes it back fired on them do you know that we still pay holocaust servivors refugee benefits upwards of 4K a month? we should cut that because they get it even if they hold a full time job or own their own business! IF we're drug testing welfare recipients then we should test unemployment recipients and espically EVERYONE that holds a political office and any politican that gets a DUI should be impeached, fired and literally kicked the hell out! Bauer's an idiot, but his party created this mess!

    January 25, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. Jerry

    The truth is always painful for a liberal minded person to accept, The Katrina debacle and 2009 Midwest floods are very recent proof. Let’s give a brief summary. A big storm is coming and for three days folks are told to leave. The liberal government leaves town, their constituents and supplies then blames Bush and the taxpayers for the storm damage, the deaths, looting ECT. . In 2009 the Midwest floods kill more people and leave more homeless than Katrina yet the media and government do nothing. Who were the stray animals in these two incidents?

    January 25, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. Mark S.

    The best of what the Republican party has to offer, die quickly and keep them from breeding.....

    January 25, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  17. Religious Right --- God is not mocked!!!

    Mr. Baur and his supportors do not reflect the God who I serve. In fact the early church took pride in the ministry of service to the needy. I am appalled that so many would even poised themselves to agree with a man comparing humans to animals and treating them that way. Keep on living, your day will come when you need a hand out as well!

    January 25, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. Old Sarge

    How many recipients of the multi-generations public dole seek work? How about the concept that if you are not productive after a reasonable time, like maybe the second generation, you suspend your right to vote? Work for a year, and off you go to the polls.

    Nah, that would mean the end of the Democratic party. Never happen.

    January 25, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. chelle

    This from the Lt. Governor of a state who's schools are falling down around the students in the poor districts. Education is the only way to break the cycle of poverty. Nothing else will help. No education equals McJobs for the rest of their lives, or welfare (which by the way is legally kept at a maximum of 5 years, unless there is some loophole I am unaware of). If he is serious about people achieving on their own, he better be prepared to give them the tools to do so.

    It amazes me that Americans will snivel about socialism but are so unaware that most so-called socialist countries have less welfare (percentage) and more social programs that boost people off welfare and into paying jobs. Just as so many Americans equate socialism with the USSR, but ignore the fact that socialism exists in most industrialized nations, and their economies are recovering more quickly than the US. Go figure.

    January 25, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. Tayo, NY

    No one should compare human being to Animals!

    Period!!

    January 25, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  21. Wisconsonite

    Another out of touch Republican! Where are all of these "manual labor jobs", Mr. Baur, which you seem to think are SO abundant??? Please enlighten the thousands of American citizens who would be thrilled to have ANY kind of job, but can't find one! As for his despicable choice of words when comparing human beings to "stray animals", it's not the "metaphor" that's at fault, Mr. Bauer, it's the meaning BEHIND your words that's the really, really big problem!

    January 25, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. Rick in AZ

    To a Rebulican if one is poor or out of work it can only be because they are lazy.

    January 25, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. Free Thinker

    what an idiot! Is this the best we can do?!!

    January 25, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. Marilyn

    Bauer is 100% correct. Not politically correct, but correct anyway.

    We have become a welfare nation because of the kind of policies this administration wants to expand. Regarding Obama's latest proposal of increasing the child care tax credit, IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO PAY FOR CHILD CARE, THEN DON'T HAVE CHILDREN!! Don't expect taxpayers to always pick up the bill for you. Enough is enough. Those of us who pay for everything are tired of paying for you also!

    January 25, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  25. Tayo, NY

    Yea, Ignore your homeless and the poor but take care of the poor people in Africa and other parts of the world!

    That is the GOP logo!!

    What a pity!!!

    January 25, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
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