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. rosslaw

    Its funny how the yellow tailed chicken hawks that this ilk of Republican represents don't have any problem with "stray animals" forming the back bone of the United States military and suffering the loss of life and limbs that flag wavers like Bauer so assiduously avoid. It looks like South Carolina's being the last state of the Union to have a public school system is still causing problems as shown by creatures like Bauer and Sanford supposedly making up the state's "leadership".

    January 25, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. A. Goodwin

    You know, many of us could end up on food stamps in a second – even those who are rich! If YOU lost your job tomorrow in an area ofthe US that is in financial ruin (like S.C) – how many of you think you could recover in an instant? Look at all the people who have lost their houses and now recieve help because their once secure job is now gone....

    Yes, there are people who will abuse systems...but, those with compassionate hearts – religious or not – will always help. Even the stray animal.

    Can the state of S.C. be anymore screwed up? I think it could be if you elect this guy.

    January 25, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Patrick from Quebec

    America is at such a primitive stage of its social evolution...

    This is the kind of discussion the rest of the developed world had in the 1930s and 1940s. Unfortunately, gross misconceptions about poverty keep on prevailing in this country where an astronomical proportion of the population is uneducated and brainwashed by mass medias.

    Wake up America!

    January 25, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  4. Hypocrisy

    BAD CHOICE OF WORDS, but I do agree with the premise.

    January 25, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  5. sissy

    At last, a Republican who is not afraid to come right out and tell the truth about how his party feels about everyday people. I wish that average working class people would understand that the Republicans represent the party of privilege and they do not share the common values of decency that most of us feel. We go to church and we do belive in housing the homelss and feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. There is very little long term assistance available for anyone – that assistance was gutted a long time ago and that is why we are seeing a growing incidence of homelessness. So to continue to pinpoint it as the culprit is to obfuscate the social, economic and moral issues that we face. Democrats would like to exterminate poverty. Republicans apparently think it would be more expedient to exterminate the poor.

    January 25, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. Albert K. L.A., CA

    Spokin like a true Tea Party Republican who has no clue that the wealth resulting within a nation belongs to the nation and the distribution of that wealth must always be with the interest of people in mind. When people lose jobs, homes and security, while the rich get richer, it is clear that the prior distribution of wealth has failed the people. Reaganomics (weak government regulation of Wall Street and lowering taxes on the rich) has failed. Big business is not the solution to our problem, it is our problem. So called "tricklle down economics," only resulted in the rich standing on a mountain of wealth pissing down on the rest us while they buy-up all the homes on auction with the wealth that the nation should have keep by proper taxation.

    January 25, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. Ready for 2012

    I know some people can't handle the truth but what this politician said is absolutely the truth. You start giving people handouts and they just expect you to keep giving it to them. They forget how to be independent and take care of themselves. They would rather take a handout that go get a job which they see as "beneath them".

    January 25, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  8. Lori in St Pete

    Mr. Bauer's point is moot, as following newt's 1994 contract on America, welfare benefits have been limited to a lifetime max of 5 years.

    January 25, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. Chuck Anaheim,Ca

    Are we shocked that a replublicant would say such outlandish things? I'm not!

    January 25, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  10. keith A. sillsbury

    how do you figure that its just the poor thats effected in this way. Every politician that takes a free lunch or vacation ( ohh I'm sorry, I mean weekend buisness meeting) has come to depend on these as perks of the job. All those cash deposites in your bank accounts other than the saleries your paid by the tax paying citizens, well what do we call that? You politicans have sold us out to corperate america and now we're the ones paying for it while people like you Andre are getting fat on the hog. don't worry it will all end soon. you and your tea baggers and your bible thumpers will be put in your place when theres no more jobs and no more tax revenue because you sold us out.

    January 25, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    If I were you Lt Gov, I wouldn't talk, after all, what's the unemployment rate in your state? I can't seem to recall and by the way, did I predicted this a while back? Refresh my memory, I'm just curious to know.

    For the record, there's actually evidence to support his claim. And if its true, then we poor people don't know how to take care of ourselves than animals in general, after all, it is called "Social Dominance Theory."

    In case some people don't know(like our leaders, just some), those who oppose affirmative action are highly likely to be more stereotypical and prejudice to minority groups. The same appies to gay marriage, for example. Right Wing Authoriationism, for example, are more likely to oppose affrimative action. I mean, there's so many variables involve. Self-interests often platy a huge role and there is some validity to what the Lt Gov is saying. There's evidence but this is all I'm saying...

    His state unemplyment rate is rising by the minute and is one of the worse in the country. So if I were him, focus on your state...by the way, notice the irony? :)

    January 25, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. MissyW

    I happen to know people who worked for many years before falling on hard times. These people were embarrassed when they finally had to use gorvernment assistance. I told them – "You paid into the system for years, don't be ashamed when its your turn to need help". Thats what its there for. One of those people used their time and assistance to eventually get a Masters Degree to teach blind and deaf children. Not ALL people on assistance are lazy and "don't know any better". For many its only temporary. For others its for life. Which usually means there's other help thats needed; mental, training, education, etc. Its easy to see which ones need more than a handout.

    January 25, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. Ignorant Liberal

    The most honest thing i've ever heard a politician say.

    January 25, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  14. Minnesota gal

    What I find most apalling about this, other than a person running for office saying such a thing, is a lot of his fellow republicans in South Carolina are saying they agree with him..

    I would like to ask a real republican. What in the world is coming to the Grand Old Party. What has happened to the Christian base of this party. I can not believe that a public figure could say this. I hope real republicans come out and condemn this man.

    January 25, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. Dave

    About time some more speak up like this. There certainly needs to be a change of this dependent culture in America.

    January 25, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. Comment

    I totally agree with his comment.

    "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."

    "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,"

    NO greater line than this. This could be applied to any state. Why do I need to pay for someone else who does not take the responsibility to take care of themselves.

    January 25, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. CHANGE.COM

    Jesus said: whoever does this to the least of these, does it for me. The "least of these" are the poor that Bauer is calling animals. By Christ's teaching, Bauer should be ashamed to call himself a Crhistian. But don't most Republicans think the same way?

    January 25, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. Greg in Virginia

    This man is pure evil. Does he realize that 85% of our military members are on food stamps because they don't make enough in the military to support their family. I think we found Hitler and he's the LT. Governer for South Carolina.

    January 25, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  19. Kansas

    You have to be an idiot (and there are a lot of them on here) to attribute his comment to the whole Republican party. Were you dimwits just as offended by Reid's comments on Obama being a light skinned negro? No, figured so.

    We cannot ignore the needs of the poor however he makes a great point, our country is breeding dependence on the lower end of society. What is their motivation to excel? There needs to be checks and balances within the welfare/food stamp system to ensure people are working to better themself.

    I say drug tests for unemployment checks! Let's see all the irrational, ideological, and naive bleeding hearts that are against that.

    January 25, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. Ben in Texas

    Of course, the real welfare cheats are all corporations and the rich. They suck resources from this country like no poor person could even imagine.

    And Bauer, as a Repugnant, is a prime facilitator of corporate welfare. He belongs to the party of corporate welfare. He lives in the world of Halliburton no-bid contracts and $1000 hammers and $40M bonuses for corporate execs.

    Bauer and his ilk are the strays, and I'm all for euthanizing them and the dogs they serve.

    January 25, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  21. BK

    I agree with the drug testing and even more ensuring that they do not have anymore children when collecting these benefits. But you cannot just cut them off, you will then see the crime rate go up. Hungry people can easily turn into desperate people.
    My only concern with his comments is what about the people who were opposed to the Iraq war from the start. Some hard working people like myself never wanted my tax dollars going to that cause.

    January 25, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. lifelong democrat

    Many may not know this, junior members of our armed forces risking their lives get food stamps because their salary is not enough to feed their family; they work serving our country. In fact welfare recipients who does nothing but wait for goodies from Uncle Sam first week of the month are much better off than our soldiers. Something's wrong with this picture, those who work like our soldiers are getting punished, while welfare recipients are rewarded.

    What happen to COMMON SENSE America?

    January 25, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  23. Personal responsibility, please.

    Look at concept instead of the wording. Does he thing that 'the poor' are animals (or should be treated as animals)? No. Does he think that 'the poor' can improve their situation if they are never 'weened' off of government dependence? No.

    Government assistance is to help those in need, but not to sustain them throughout their lives with no effort on their own. If a person can work, they should.

    (I agree that there was little tact in the statement, but political correctness is destroying America).

    January 25, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. marg from ND

    Classic Republican.

    January 25, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  25. Interesting

    Although Bauer could have chosen "better" words to state is argument, I feel that he is right. Many of the programs we have now simply create dependency and do nothing to assist people in getting back on their feet. If you are on the "public dime", I feel you should be drug tested. I also feel that pregnancy should not be rewarded with increased benefits (I know I'll catch some fire for that one). The child can always be put up for adoption. There are many wonderful families that could provide for the child.

    January 25, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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