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 in Maine

    Of course he does. And by tomorrow, he'll be claiming that it's not what he said at all, that the quote is out of context, misunderstood or a fabrication.

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

    I never had a high opinion on the Tom Kat. I think even less of him now he obviously hangs out with low lives.

    January 25, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  3. james Miller

    Most of the GOPers are compassionate people---– as long as it doesn`t cost THEM anything. Desperate, poor people would be at their mercy and would be glad to "work for food". Kinda sounds like "the old company store" approach that ultimately gave rise to the Labor Movement. ---- I agree the welfare system has become unaffordable and bloated. Limits of the number of children a woman have and collect should be limited to no more than two. This would slow birth rates of generationally poor people.

    January 25, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. Recreator

    "Not against animals". What about people?

    January 25, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. EC

    REPUBLICANS don't regret anything.

    They KNOW exactly what they are SAYING and exactly WHAT they are doing. This who "regret" BS is nothing but a fraud, a phony act in front of the cameras.

    Republicans are such HYPOCRITES who think they are Saints whenever they wave their bibles and their Christian morale compasses. What a bunch of SATAN SINNERS!!!

    January 25, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. lifelong democrat

    To Lt. Governor Andrew Bauer,

    Sir, you must NEVER apologize for telling the truth. Yes, the words you use was harsh, but it is what it is. Political correctness is killing this country of ours, we cannot behind flattering words when what's infront of us is rotten. Thank you for saying it as is, no flowery words, direct to the point. There are millions of us thinking Americans who agrees with you, we're not PC people but we have a LOT of COMMON SENSE which some nowadays doesn't have.

    I'd rather someone tell me the truth no matter how hurtful it is; that will help me fix the problem instead of camouflaging the truth to make me feel good.

    To be politically correct is to be wrong; immoral, enabler of malfeasance.

    January 25, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  7. Will Klatt

    s, Bauer also said he is "not against animals." – just poor people.

    January 25, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  8. true daughter of the american revolution

    "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?"

    How is this comment any BETTER than the first one???

    I have a cat. If I go out of town, I have someone look after it.

    What's his point, REALLY?

    Of course, it would be better if people worked and did not depend on government.
    But, sir, there are not many jobs out there. And, a lot of the people currently on welfare are not immigrants.
    And, for the record, Obama is not the REASON all of this is happening. Have you forgotten the 8 BUSH years that got us here?
    If you want to tell hard truths, then stick to reality.
    Otherwise, you are lying, just like all the other politicians you claim to be different from.
    The problem with these politicians is that they have never HAD to live on welfare (they are priviledged or have forgotten their roots), never had to look for work or live on minimum wages.
    They don't have to budget down to their last penny, they live on a generous stipend from the PEOPLE, including retirement and life-long healthcare.
    What do they REALLY have in common with the regular folks?
    Not a hell of a lot; and it shows, by some of the idiotic things they say.
    This guy (Bauer) is a moron and ought to be dismissed like all the other morons.

    January 25, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Another foot in mouth wingnut. Just what the world needs

    January 25, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. Fangbird

    What happens to your cat when you go out of town? You either leave it enough food and water or you find someone to take care of it for you until you get back. How hard is that?

    This guy is too stupid to even be a Republican, although his compassion for other human beings and animals is about equal to that of other Republicans.

    January 25, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. CC

    They always regret what they say after it has been said.

    January 25, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. Angi's Mom

    To protect society, stray animals and politicials should be neutered.

    January 25, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  13. deegee

    Thx. But I have a job.But what about the jobs you sent over seas and none to replace them? Any bright ideas while you consider the down and out animals. You sure do have your nerve. We pay your salary. Have some respect! You fool!

    January 25, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  14. slkwly

    As a person born and raised in SC, I thank God everyday for freeing me from that place. It is not the geographical landscape of the place I abhor, but the willfull ignorance, in-bred hatred, and prideful stupidity in being nearly last place in everything, and the seemingly innate ability to not recognize this as a major dysfunction-especially in the area of education.

    SC is the epitome of what a lack of education to can do to a state and its residents (even though the state is filled with institutions of higher learning). What makes this comment even sadder is it comes from a man, whose supposedly well-kept 'secret' of being gay, is what drove many of the state lawmakers away from impeaching Governor Sanford, out of fear that they would have a gay man in the governor's mansion. This state should be renamed "Jerry Springerland".....

    January 25, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  15. CR

    Another day, another GOPer exposing himself for what he is. Bigots on parade.

    January 25, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  16. true daughter of the american revolution

    In addition – just because he stands in the photo with another moron, Tom Cruise (who, incidentally, looks like he has a wasting disease in the photo) doesn't give him any more authenticity.

    January 25, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. Praetorian

    Sure...no problem we understand–NOT.

    January 25, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  18. Nothing to see here...

    ...if you're a Republican. Outrage and calls for burning in effigy if you're a Democrat.

    COMING UP: A Democrat says something ridiculous. Outraged/Indifferent respondents change hats.

    January 25, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  19. Dina Levine

    It's simple. If you have trouble financially taking care of the children you already have – DON"T HAVE ANYMORE!!! Be responsible for yourself and your own. Animals might be the wrong metaphor, but his message is correct.

    January 25, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. Patty in California

    The unfortunate reality is that Bauer and his party really believe and think this way. They apologize only when confronted.....but later at the cocktail party they all laugh and high-five at the perfect choice of words. This is what we are dealing with.

    January 25, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  21. Blue

    He just said the truth about how the GOP feels. The only time that they need the poor is at election time. If this doesn't wake the public up, nothing will.

    January 25, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  22. Doraine Gordon

    Another weirdo from S Carolina. I might have known. That state turns out some of the strangest political figures in the country today. Along with N Carolina and Minnesota. Where were these crazy people hatched? Wherever it was they need to go back to where they came from. We do not need the likes of them helping run America.

    January 25, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  23. Dr. Empirical

    Poor people are animals.

    Black pople are animals.

    Gay people are nimals.

    Gotta love that Compassionate Conservatism!

    January 25, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  24. Rasabu

    This man clearly has no idea about the origins of government assistance programs, the reasons people seek assistance, the feelings those who seek assistance have about doing so, or, the reasons individuals who are poor have additional children. I actually feel sorry for this man.

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

    A Republican show contempt for the poor?!?!?! OMG!!!1! Say it ain't so!!!1!

    January 25, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
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