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. Religulous

    And this is noteworthy because... As an African-American I am hardly shocked. The unfortunate thing is that by some measure, in his infinite ignorance Andre Bauer is correct. Behavior is a science which they most defnintely have observed and studied. Given certain circumstances behavior is extremely predictable.

    People like Andre will not change. They are imperialist, war mongers, unnatural and unspiritual, mal-adapted, socially and sexually maladapted, etc... We however see them as intelligent, industrious, benevolent, spiritual, etc... when nothing could be further from the truth. Bauer is nothing more than a 21st century cave man barbarian. I find nothing someone like him says compelling or even provocative for that matter. The fact that such a person is actively running our country says much more than any one thing he could have said.

    January 25, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. kc moser

    Of course he's not against animals. He's against "needy people."

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

    Spoken like a true Republican.

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

    If lazy people don't want to work then let them starve instead of sitting home and collecting a free check

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

    Let me get this straight...this guy is apologizing because he thinks he may have insulted the animals? How and why do people who have absolutely no clue about the lives of real people keep getting elected to office?

    January 25, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  6. GRITS (Girl Raised in the South)

    moron !!!

    January 25, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. jlb

    Sounds like a typical, understanding -NOT, Christian Republican. All they think of is themselves or how much it might cost them.

    January 25, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Stop the Ignorance

    Wow! So bad and so TRUE!!!!

    Not the stray animal part but the dependency breeding dependency for generations without any educational/training requirement that would improve their life and perhaps the life of others.

    Be honest folks, even those of us "liberals" must admit that plan laziness is being "fed" by the government. I'm not saying the recipient lives in the lap of luxury but simply survives. They are fed and if they're lucky, they are housed by the taxpayers. The taxpayers pay for the schools, roads, their checks, etc. We, the full-time working people are supporting this system. What are we going to do about it?

    Don't blame Obama – he didn't create it nor does he "condone" it. Let's find new ideas and sincere suggestions on how to break that dependency on the government cycle that so many impoverished Americans are relying. Who knows what the answer is but it's got to start with education. Let's try to reach everyone, NOT JUST THE RICH & WELL CONNECTED. To be sure, it requires more than money – YOU HAVE TO WANT IT!!!

    January 25, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. bandgeek1

    No, he's not against animals, just poor people who need help. May he soon feel the sting of unemployment and know what it means to need that help.

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

    Yeah, he isnt against animals. Just poor people..

    January 25, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Mr. bauer says he likes animals. It appears to be people that he doesn't like.

    January 25, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Dan

    Harsh, but he does make a good point. I think those on welfare should lose their "right" to procreate as long as they are on it. We should reward those who make an effort, and allow those who don't to fail (in reality they wouldn't fail; they'd be forced to try which is the goal). It should be easier to get on welfare as a short-term help to those and need, and harder to stay on it. Hard working people who just need a little help now and then are often unable to receive temporary help, while others milk the system for generations. There must be a better way!

    January 25, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. Robin in SC

    THIS is why Sanford was not impeached...Bauer would've taken his place and he's just as bad if not worse. Even the republicans in SC don't like Bauer! At the Town Hall meeting where he made the comparison of government assistance programs to feeding stray animals, there were all of 20 people in a huge church auditorium to hear him. He's a disgrace.

    January 25, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  14. Steve

    Brilliant.

    So if CNN reported this right, it sounds like he compared the poor to stray cats and he apologizes to ANIMAL LOVERS for demeaning their beloved cats and dogs by comparing them to the raggamuffin poor with entitlement complexes.

    January 25, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Adrian

    Typical republican. Aren't you glad that they are the self-proclaimed holders of America's moral banner? Reminds me of the US' Worst President Ever's words: "compassionate conservatives".

    January 25, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. The Divided States of America

    This made the news???? The democrats can use the "n" word all day long, can slam women for being women and CNN doesn't even mention it.

    Then this guy compares stray animals to some people and this makes news? Wow, is there a bias at CNN or what?

    January 25, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. Beauregard in Charleston

    New metaphor FAIL.

    Now Andre says poor people – and their kids – are like feral cats that you leave locked up in the house without food and water.

    That's much better, Andre. Yeah. Run on that.

    January 25, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. Jeff

    Another example of so-called "compassionate conservatism" – and the GOP wonders why many consider them detached and uncaring. To make such a comment and then try to draw it back is really pathetic – the toothpaste is out of the tube, forget about trying to squish it back in.

    January 25, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. Diana

    So, he's apologizing to animals for comparing them to us, "he's not against animals".

    Another reason to dislike Tom Cruise.

    January 25, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  20. Wayne

    People are animals. Sounds like a good Republican to me.

    January 25, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. susanj

    No- he's just against poor people. what a jerk.

    January 25, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. Stratmaster

    So let me get this straight. He defended himself by saying he donates to animal causes, as if it was the animals he was offending by comparing them to welfare recipients. That is so screwed up it would actually be hilarious if not for the scary fact that people like this are running our states and country.

    Hey Andre, I think the problem was with your saying welfare recipients "breed because they don't know any better" you idiot. gotta give you credit for guts I guess.

    If that is, indeed, the problem, maybe we ought to add sex education to the welfare program?

    January 25, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. LeftyMarty

    Of course, if a Democrat said this there would be
    H___ to pay !

    January 25, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. D

    They ARE like stray animals! Have no jobs, yet keep breeding JUST to keep the benefits coming in! I can't believe it, but I actually agree with a republican!!!

    January 25, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. Big Ed

    Knucklehead! Another example of how Republicans look down their nose at others.

    January 25, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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