January 25th, 2010
05:32 PM ET
5 years ago

South Carolina Republican regrets 'stray animal' metaphor

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer poses with actor Tom Cruise at a NASCAR race last year.
South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer poses with actor Tom Cruise at a NASCAR race last year.

(CNN) - South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, under fire for drawing a comparison between needy people and "stray animals," said Monday that he regrets his choice of words.

In a phone interview with CNN, Bauer, a Republican candidate for governor, said, "I wish I had used a different metaphor." Bauer told an audience Friday that people receiving government assistance are like "stray animals" because "they breed" and "don't know any better."

"I never intended to tie people to animals," he said, before opting for a kinder animal metaphor: "If you have a cat, if you take it in your house and feed it and love it, what happens when you go out of town?"

Noting that he has raised money for a group that protects animals, Bauer also said he is "not against animals."

But Bauer said he is committed to finding ways to end the "culture of dependency" created by government assistance. He suggested that people on welfare undergo drug testing or be mandated to attend parent-teacher conferences. Efforts at self-improvement, such as job-training or earning a high school equivalency degree, should be rewarded.

Otherwise, he argued, people will just sit at home waiting for a government check. He called that a "systemic problem."

"If some of these people who are currently on welfare were put to work you wouldn't have an immigration problem," he said. "The welfare system is so entrenched that nobody wants to do manual labor jobs."

Asked about criticism from his political opponents, Bauer argued that many voters in South Carolina agree with him. He said he is only telling hard truths that have been swept under the rug for decades and called for a "mature discussion" about welfare in South Carolina. He said he has spoken about the issue for months, and not once has a voter objected.

"That's part of being a leader," he said. "Politicians stand up and give eloquent speeches that make you feel good, but they don't do anything about it." Referencing President Obama, Bauer said: "That's why we have some of the problems we have in this country today."

Bauer has also been rumored to have considered switching races to run for Congress in South Carolina's first congressional district, a seat being vacated by Rep. Henry Brown. "I am not running for Henry Brown's seat," he said.


Filed under: Andre Bauer • Popular Posts • South Carolina
soundoff (573 Responses)
  1. Stephan

    He should know – South Carolina is a leading state with unemployment – our should I say – stray animals.

    January 25, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    The right wingnuts have already forgiven you, and they will welcome you back to their next white sheet meeting.

    January 25, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  3. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Isn't this the gay lieutenant governor???

    Should he be throwing stones?

    January 25, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. Ferret out the BS

    The first step to working on a solution to a "Culture of Dependency" should be to stop thinking of those within that culture as less than human. Sounds like the Lt Governor made a "Fraudian Slip."

    January 25, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. AP in Illinois

    Too bad there isn't a Democratic Fox News to play keep reminding people of what he said along with implying that the entire Republican Party thinks that poor people are like stray animals.

    January 25, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. Jill-IN

    Bauer's need to use a metaphor to describe needy people says more about how lowly he thinks of people generally whether they are needy or not. By the way Bauer in need of an intellect, not everyone in need is always "needy". You are guilty of SAGS [stereotypes, assumptions and generalizations]. You should not represent the good people of any State. Shame on you!

    January 25, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. mario ca

    WHAT !!!!!!!! do yyou think people from SC are stupid,

    January 25, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. katiec

    What a surprise. CNN gives this republican a chance to defend hisself. Hmmm, never see this happen with any Democrat!!
    Like your polls, CNN, you deserve no creditibility because of
    your bias.

    January 25, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. bcords

    are there any politicians in south carolina that aren't total idiots???

    January 25, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. Ron in California

    It was a bad choice of a metaphor but his point is valid. Our system of Welfare teaches people to be dependent instead of self starting and pulling themselves off the dole. Education and hard work is the only way to escape poverty.

    January 25, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. citizen AND BELIEVER

    metaphor smetaphor – the TRUTH is what it IS ! there you have it. FINALLY we haVE SOMEONE who speaks THE TRUTH. a POLITICIAN NO LESS speaking the truth AT all COSTS. Too LONG we have been "politically correct" and this ios why "things" have gotten WAY out of hand.

    It's about time we had some PLAIN SPEAKING – in the ENGLISH LANGUAGE.

    January 25, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. Liz

    He wishes he'd used a different metaphore because the one he used perfectly demonstrates republicans' attitudes toward the poor. There are only two kinds of republicans, multimillionaires and the suckers who vote against their own self-interest out of misguided loyalty to a party that thinks they're dirt.

    January 25, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. Beth Farmer

    So, let me get this straight, he apologizes to the animal welfare people?

    He is comparing people in need, people who are poor, people who have lost their jobs and need assistance, he is comparing them to stray animals. Here is the poster boy for the views of Republicans. No matter how much they try to hide behind the "Joe Six-Pack" rhetoric, their true beliefs always shine through. If you rich, you earned it – if you are poor, you deserve it.

    January 25, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. naomi

    Hey, The truth hurts. We ALL think it, only some people actually say it.

    January 25, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. Debby

    Well I wonder if this guy has any kids as this would put him in the same catagory as a breeder. LOL

    January 25, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. jeanne

    he's not against animals, he's against poor people..........please do not vote for this person.....ever....he's probly into scientology too.....rich freaks stick together.....

    January 25, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. Tom C

    I believ his first comment is what he really thought. But, you know, never, ever say in what you really believe. It seems like he has a disdain for poor people. The poor that I know are working 2 jobs, have a lack of good education, trying to raise the family, etc. They are not just breeders like animals. The politicians on both sides have allowed corporations to ship the good jobs overseas so they could pay less and make more profit. Nobody brings up NAFTA anymore because they were all in on it. QUESTION? Do you think we would be better off if Kodak, Emerson, Maytag, Ford, GMC, Chrysler, Steel, etc. had not taken their production overseas and left them here?

    January 25, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. ted

    another ungracious Republican. What is with them? Can't they say what they mean rather than just say whatever pops into their tiny brains?

    January 25, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  19. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This guy has come serious issues like maybe he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and has never read the Bible. With poor and hungry children in this World, I guess he includes them as stray animals.

    January 25, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. Dutch the Great

    Sounds like he was taking a swipe at low income families/poor families.

    January 25, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. AEK

    And I thought this guy was the next biggest idiot in South Carolina (#1 Mark Sanford, #2 Joe Wilson, #3 Jim DeMint, not in any particular order!) after his original statement. Does he really think this is something on which you can just have a "do over"? Of course this is really pretty typical Republican tactic. See, you can say the most appalling things that appeal to your base and then apologize after somebody rubs your nose in it or smacks you with a newspaper. I really love cats and dogs too!

    January 25, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. Kim

    Take note America. That is how Republicans really feel about the down and out. He can't take those words back and he can't change them around for another meaning. I know who is a Republican and who is a Democrat in my office just by the way they treat people. It's funny, the ones who make the most money hre are the ones who treat those who don't, like dog crap. Keep putting these idiots in office – they're for themselves, their wallets and big business, not for the Americans. Quit blaming Obama for the mess Bush gave our President to fix. See Farenheit 911 – Bush screwed up every company he built but the Supreme Court and the Republicans thought he could run an even bigger business – our country – better?

    January 25, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  23. Fitz in Texas

    "I never intended to tie people to animals"

    Actually, I guess that was a poor choice of words. I find most four legged animals are much nicer than those two legged animals. I'll take my dogs and cats over a lot of people I meet these days.

    January 25, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  24. Honest AB

    But the south will pick this idiot, because they believe that everybody wants a hand out. But my question is how many of them took that stimulus check Bush sent out before leaving office? Yeah, I'm sure none of them denied the check and returned it. Like I said earlier, HYPOCRITES AT THEIR BEST!!!!

    January 25, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. CF

    Government assistance is not a golden ticket. You receive a small percentage of what you would otherwise earn working, and you have to prove that you are actively searching for work or trying to fix your situation, or your assistance is yanked. It also only lasts for a limited time (sometimes months, sometimes a few depending on what kind). Clearly, Lt. Gov. Bauer has no idea what he is talking about.

    I guess anyone who has lost a job and forded to rely on unemployment checks to get through the interim, anyone who has received a federal student loan for education, anyone fallen on hard times or lost a house or had to suffer the stigma and humiliation of using food stamps, anyone in the northern states who applies for heating assistance or weatherization - is a lazy dependent sitting at home waiting for a handout. Republicans are idiots.

    January 25, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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