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. Terry Vann

    Always been against the death penalty, and cruel and unusual punishment, but sometimes there comes along a"sick" individual who probably deserve both.

    January 25, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  2. KJ

    Are there people who abuse the system? Yes, just like there are politicians who abuse the system. There men and women who have lost their jobs and are dependent on the government for a helping hand. These are the people who make up the majority of the “stray animals” as Mr. Bauer puts it. I wonder if we should also think of Citibank, GM and AIG as stray animals as well!

    His comment is something that an elitist would say. Oops, I forgot he is a Republican so it is impossible for him to be an elitist. Just proof the elitists live in both political parties!

    January 25, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. Lissa

    Maybe he could breed with some of the Palins. We are heading towards the Idiotocracy and/or Gattica at an alarming pace. Either that or Hitler's Germany. His thinking would also apply to the handicapped, etc. Maybe we could pick a certain SAT test score and kill everyone who scored below that. Can you say Soylent Green? These people are hastening the return of Jesus if you believe in such things... God can't possibly be happy with us right now, supporting this degradation of basic human values, ie The Republican Party. Be sure and don't get sick or lose your job or have a handicapped child!! They are coming for you......

    January 25, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. midwest momma

    What the man said is truthful, although far from the articulate Ben Franklin who said THE SAME THING-" We as a society should not make the poor comfortable." We are PCing ourselves to death, discourage productivity and reward the non productive. Wow! Those of us who are fortunate enough to pay taxes are at the end of our "collective" (pun intended) rope- how about the rest of you carry the water from now on.
    Teach them to fish!!!!!!!!! Quit giving it too them!!!!!!!!!

    January 25, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. MatthewDetroit

    People Dont Like to Hear the Truth.

    It hurts and it is not politically correct, but that is part of the problem.
    Everyone skirts the issue and hides the facts. Everyone is trying to be sensitive but NO one is solving the problem.

    We need to push people out of failure and out of a free lunch.
    We need to inspire and stop babying adults.
    We need to cut costs.
    People should be forced to show up for work or for a work search every day. They need to show up 30 hours a week to search, train, or learn to work. NO MORE FREE WELFARE. PERIOD.

    January 25, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. Mad Matt

    All I can say is "thank you Lt. Gov. Bauer for showing us your true colors". This man is as evil as Limbaugh, Coulter, Beck and the rest of the right wing.

    January 25, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. Reggie from LA

    Isn't it the children who get reduced lunches. You want to punish the children because you "statistically" believe that their parents are somehow taking food off your table. First, your stats are ass backwards. Second, you and your ilk will have most likely created the circumstances many of their parents endure. You idiots who buy this at face value and the math and stereotypes you have bought into are just as stupid.

    January 25, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  8. Indy 08

    You see poor people are invisible to Republicans, they are like a disease that needs to be treated. And these are guys that are resurgent in the polls, wake up America.

    January 25, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. Ariana, VA

    Stray animals will breed whether they are fed or not. His family doesn't seem very nice...

    January 25, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. mario ca

    This guy talk with his mouth full of cash $$$$ from insurance co.

    January 25, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. Ms S Callahan

    You are a disgust to the Republician party, at the leastt the true one. I pray for your sake this is a media distortion and lie.
    Fourtunately, there is a promise in the bible that the least of these on earth will be the greatest in Heaven, and those who think themselves great on earth they will be the least in Heaven. The words Jesus left for the world, upon His departure was : If you love me....FEED my sheep (metaphor for followers). This has earthly as well as eternal rewards and consequences.

    January 25, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. MatthewDetroit

    Everyone is over reacting.

    The guy is telling the truth.

    We harbor the poor and stop them from getting better.
    We promote it in this country because we are a bunch of bleeding heart liberals..

    January 25, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  13. Sue

    This man is absolutely correct in his outlook. We are SICK of paying for USELESS benefits to those who never improve themselves.
    Let's impeach Obama NOW before we are ALL poverty stricken.

    January 25, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. me

    Oh well....I couldn't put it better.

    We are all capable of taking care of ourselves. If you can't hack it, don't have so many kids.
    Down with Welfare too....we don't need it and I shouldn't have to pay into it because someone else screwed up their own life.

    January 25, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. Kate

    He's an idiot. Starving people will be driven to steal and commit violence to get fed and they don't stop producing babies – look at Haiti. You don't mitigate your poor by starving them. You just end up with a 3rd world country where it is too dangerous to walk down the street or leave your home unguarded. Typical libertarian magical thinking. They have no understanding of simple psychology and social issues. This is why you don't elect them.

    January 25, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. Julie

    So ignorant I can only imagine his offsprings will be just like him. He should be neutered.

    January 25, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. It ain't right, but I understand...

    Bauer sounded as uneducated, and crass as they come, but he does make a valid point.

    You don't know how much it infuriates me that I have to scrap together enough change to buy my children bread and milk to get through the week ( I am married, gainfully employed, homeowner, live in the south and a DEMOCRAT just so you know) while "Shaquita" and her eight kids get to load up on junk food worth $300 and never so much as a "Thank you"!!

    At one time long ago I was on public assistance, but I used it for its intended purposes. A HAND UP NOT A HAND OUT!

    It seems to me that Bauer suffers from class prejudice but on the same token he's not lying. Especially here in the south its an epidemic.

    January 25, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. MatthewDetroit

    Again, The Truth Hurts.

    We make it easier and easier to be poor in this country.
    No one tries to inspire.

    The Dems would rather pay out welfare then create jobs.
    They have a CHAVEZ mentality of socialism and it is becoming an epidemic. We need to provide jobs, training, job search requirements, and WORK for your charity.

    We can put the poor on road crews, building crews, cleanup crews, etc... Train them and give them jobs that they can then receive WELFARE for Pay. They should have to EARN every dollar they make just like anyone else. NOTHING is free.

    AND STOP FEELING SORRY FOR THEM BECAUSE IT DOES NOT HELP THEM TO BE BETTER.

    January 25, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. Lori in St Pete

    When I find stray animals, I take the to a low-cost vet for shots and spay/neuter so they don't breed.

    January 25, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  20. Lori in St Pete

    He just looks so arrogant in that photograph. I'm not a violent woman, but he needs the smug smacked off his face.

    January 25, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  21. Hard working American

    I guess he has the guts to say what most working people think.
    Truth hurts, but truth shall set you free!

    January 25, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  22. Marvin

    Matthew 26:11 "The poor you will always have with you," Yes, Jesus fed the poor, but he did not provide bread and fish every day, all their lives.

    Ask any outdoors man. It is true. The most dangerous wild animals are those that have been fed and become dependent on humans. Those that "earn their own living" in the wild are very rarely a problem.

    January 25, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. jrzshor

    he is correct (though the use of the word "breeding" was a tad overboard).

    working with these folks for the past 20 years (that should tell you a lot) does in fact foster dependence. dependence in that most of these folks just find it "easier" to get "free" stuff.

    As long as we allow it, it won't change.

    Occassionally helping out is one thing but life long help does not help anyone.

    the old adage holds true, feed them once feed them always, teach them to feed themselves, saves me money.

    January 25, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  24. RDS

    I'm sorry but I sort of agree with him. I wouldn't have used the term stray, but I do think government programs encourage dependence. I wouldn't cut all gov't programs off but I would set strict guidelines and enforce them. People shouldn't be allowed to stay on gov't assistance year after year without being forced to do something to better themselves..ie. working, school, or learning some sort of trade.

    January 25, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  25. Bob in Pa

    And where is he wrong ?

    If you give me a subsidized place to live, transportation, food stamps, health care and a monthly check. It sure beats trying to earn a living.

    January 25, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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