January 25th, 2010
05:32 PM ET
4 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. Tony

    This guys is "not against animals" just people. I swear I thought the apology would be to humans for comparing people to animals not the other way around.

    January 25, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  2. T

    I don't think that most of the people with their hands out are juts looking for a free ride, however anyone with above an 8th grade education should have been able to figure out where you were going with you comment.

    January 25, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  3. BG

    Uncaring condsending "republican" from S Carolina...how unusual!

    Too bad his mother bred! Not sorry for statement... sorry for getting busted for saying it!

    January 25, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. joann

    ARE WE IN THE YEAR 2010 OR 1810?

    January 25, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  5. manyok

    i support the Lt. Governor 120% and i don't see any reason he should be force to apologized or regret what he said. i mean he said it best. Too many people are on welfare and there is no any particular reason why they are doing that when they are suppose to be working, unless you are not able to work because of disability then that is a different story alltogether but we all have a responsibility of supporting our own families and we should not look to the govt. to provide us. That is pathetic and it is unfair and it must stop if you are doing it when you should be working. Good job Lt. gov.t... we have to call spade a spade.

    January 25, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  6. jamyers291

    was he wrong and does anybody care?

    more news media nitpicking.

    January 25, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. I'm Rush Limbaugh and I say . . .

    Demint (Obama's Waterloo), Wilson (You Lie); Stafford (Don't Cry For Me); Graham (soon to be "teabagged") and now Bauer (poor people are animals):

    South Carolina: The favorite state of dysfunctional Republics

    January 25, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  8. Vivian McRae

    What are they drinking in South Carolina?, and what strays are he referring to, the ones' in urban america or the one's in rural america

    January 25, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  9. Justen in Florida

    He was right in what he was saying, but he should've known not to say it how he did.

    Stuff like that just doesn't go well in todays hyper-sensitive world.

    January 25, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  10. K

    What is the deal with South Carolina? Joe Wilson, Mark Sanford and now this moron Bauer? And Southerners wonder why the rest of the country thinks they are a little slow. (Even if you think dumb things, you don't say them out loud. Duh.)

    January 25, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  11. Mary Kay

    How does Bristol Palin fit into this story?

    January 25, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  12. Matt

    Who cares about what kind of derogatory comment he made about animals – its his claims about people that are atrocious. Claiming that people receiving support to deal with the hardships of the economy – especially our current one – produces dependency is palpably false. A quick look at REAL research on the topic – not the opinions of some second-rate state politican – shows that the arguments of the Clinton years were never valid except in the case of a handful of exceptions. Of course, reason and knowledge never make it into political discussion, least of all among many GOPers.

    January 25, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  13. Lynn

    He's only sorry because he got caught using a disgusting comparison.

    January 25, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  14. TM

    More than the stray animal statement, I object to Bauer's proposal to withhold free and reduced-price meals from school children whose parents do not attend parent-teacher conferences. He said "'Look, if you receive goods or services from the government, then you owe something back.'" What do young children owe the government? I would say their job is to attend school and get an education.

    I cannot imagine making children go hungry all day in punishment for their parent's shortcomings.

    January 25, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  15. Mary Kay

    because "they breed" and "don't know any better."

    Was he talking about Bristol Palin?

    January 25, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  16. Johnny DC

    There's nothing wrong with what he said. The kind of people he's referring to have more in common with animals than they do with humans. They don't think, they don't care about society, they only look out for their own survival and take whatever they can get for free.

    January 25, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. Red by Choice

    Obama is comtemplating another trillion dollar stimulus give away package and CNN is posting this up as news? To CNN reporters: if you don't have anything of more substance than this, take the day off, stay home and watch Oprah.

    Really?

    January 25, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  18. M-AZ

    Bauer,

    Some of your comments may have very well resonated with people in my line of work (social services), but that ignorant, self-righteous tone, coupled with the generalization that all people who need assistance are just sitting around waiting on a government check is a distractor You may not be against animals, but sounds like you are "against people".

    There are lots of programs out here that do just what you suggest, but again, it takes money to run these programs.

    On the matter of education, this countries public education system has failed multiple generations of Americans and continue to do so...just look at our math and science scores compared to other developed countries. It is finally catching up with our non-competitive selves.

    On the matter of immigration, employers need to pay workers a viable wage and stop hiring illegal immigrants.

    January 25, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  19. Maryann Rose

    Ahhh, I get it – he's not against animals, just needy people.

    Ummm...Ooookay....

    January 25, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  20. Caroline

    I live in SC, and am completely embarassed by Andre Bauer's remarks. Although I was born and raised here, I am embarassed that there is such a extreme conservative bent in this state. Basically, the prevailing attitude is here "Fend for yourselves". We don't have the protection of unions, and some obviously believe the solution to poverty is as simply as withholding food from hungry children.

    January 25, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  21. Pasquale Barletta

    The comment was that of an idiot. Its the same thing in Orlando Fl.

    Disney just about controls Orlando. Orlando has an ordinance against feeding the homeless.

    So much for Disney family values.

    January 25, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  22. disgusted independent

    Thanks for wasting 30 seconds of my life CNN, this isn't news, try again.

    January 25, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  23. Slick

    it's not about animals you idiot! You should regret comparing poor people and animals breeding without thought.....

    January 25, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  24. shucks

    This is the true feelings of the Republican party. The poor will have to fight for every dime they get just to be recognized as a US citizen among these hate mongering right wing nutjobs. This isn't anything new. All you have to do is live in the south for a very short time to understand that the vitriole coming out of the mouths of Southerners is filled with hate.

    January 25, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  25. EDDIE

    Typical republican,what else is new.

    January 25, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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