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. MC

    Another republican showing true colors.

    January 25, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  2. Joe

    If Bauer was a Democrat this story would not be new worthy. Talk about a double standard. CNN needs to report equal for all.

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

    Wow.

    He just doesn't get it, does he?

    "I'm sorry, I'm not against animals"?!?!?

    Hey Andre, I don't think people are outraged on behalf of the animals.

    Get a clue.

    January 25, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. PC Police

    The thing is, he was completely accurate with his initial statement/comparison. It's not PC, so you get in trouble for saying it or thinking it, but that doesn't mean it isn't true.

    January 25, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. Playtoe

    "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?" He still doesn't get it does it...he replaces "stray animal" with "cat – taken in"...duh, do I look stupid (don't answer that!). But, to answer his question, if you don't know what to do with your cat while out of town, maybe you don't need to "take it in". Don't you have friends? Can't you afford a "Cat Hotel"? If you can't figure this one out, no wonder you can't figure out solutions for the needs of South Carolina citizens. To me, it sounds like you meant what you said. Apologee NOT ACCEPTED!

    January 25, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    No, he's not against animals, he's against poor people...typical

    January 25, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. El Kababa

    There is some merit to that comparison. Like a stray cat, a homeless person has no home, no money, no where to go that's any better, and no hope. Only one in a thousand could rescue himself from homelessness without any help from others. The comparison hurts because it's true. We are able to drive by a homeless bum without a kind or compassionate thought.

    I was walking once and I was standing near a homeless person who was panhandling at a busy intersection. A nice looking woman pulled up beside him and rolled down her electric window. "God bless you," she said.

    The bum replied, " 'God bless you? God bless you?' Lady, do you think I can eat 'God bless you?'"

    She hastily rolled her window up, ran the red light, and sped away.

    January 25, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. Patriot

    Lipstick on a Pig....Republicans can explain all they want...they are the party of privelege, racism, division and hate.

    January 25, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  9. Ethan

    Do they have anything OTHER than neo-confederate IDIOTS in South Carolina? Seriously folks. What's in the water down there? WAKE UP. Obama is providing solutions to this country. The GOP is saying NO. So the solutions don't happen. We need THE MEDIA to start reporting on why there are no big accomplishments in Obama's first year. The answer is because THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS OBSTRUCTING THOSE SOLUTIONS FOR POLITICAL REASONS. They don't care about the Obama policies one way or the other. They JUST want power. Even if it means PREVENTING OBAMA FROM SOLVING OUR PROBLEMS. There is nothing more anti-American than purposefully stopping our own country from getting beyond our troubles.

    January 25, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  10. Lynne in CA

    What is it with South Carolina that causes their politicians to contract such severe cases of foot in mouth disease?

    Unfortunately these rabid right wing comments are indicitive of the mentality of the wingnut southern white evangelical movement.

    Wake up people...rich, poor or in between, we all belong to one race and that's the human race.

    January 25, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    total and complete jerk

    January 25, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. Chas in Iowa

    The American middle class was the backbone of this country until we exported all of our manufacturing jobs overseas in the name of corporate profits.
    I'm all for capitalism but any american company with overseas manufacturing facilities should be barred from re-importing those goods to the US markets. In like the American consumer needs to be educated in their buying habits to boycott purchasing products built by US companies operating abroad. If we could put pride back into American made products we would be encouraging manufactures to bring the jobs back home.
    This GOP nutcase seems to think that beings the US companies don't need us anymore for a workforce that we are yesterdays trash.

    January 25, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  13. Clint

    Nice backtracking Andre. What do you have to say about corporate welfare? Let's get AIG, Bank of America and the automakers off of the public dole. I guess it is easier to pick on a mother with kids who gets food stamps rather than a CEO who mismanaged his company and now, after taking taxpayer money, gives himself a huge bonus and sends the GOP a check to fund attack ads..

    January 25, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. james

    Typical GOP remark! and then the typical apology–you've said what is in your heart and mind –so let it stand! Cowards–defend your position and stop lying about being sorry!

    January 25, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. TS

    I noticed that he is more concerned about insulting the animals than he is the about insulting the poorer people in this country.

    Although I agree with the loooooong overrdue need to fix the welfare system his initial comment had nothing to do with that goal.

    We all need to be a lot nicer and work to fix these problem instead of just thowing insults.

    P.S. THROW OUT ALL PERSONS COMING UP FOR RE-ELECTION! WE CAN'T DO ANY WORSE WITH A NEW BUNCH!

    January 25, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. Rekha

    Gov.Bauer really believes this. As do all politicians. Funny how they need "the stray animals" come election time. I suggest the people of South Carolina put this stray pol "to sleep" come election time.

    January 25, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. Stan White, Rex, GA

    Looking at the comments to this article I can see that Bauer's conservative "dog whistle" came through loud and clear: Black people and Mexicans are living off of YOUR hard-earned money, having babies all over the place and not getting a job. It ignores that many (in fact the majority) of people on public assistance are only there for as short a time as they can manage, and many are only on assistance because the cost of living is so high. This view also skips over the fact that there are more White people on welfare than Blacks, Latino, etc. But it plays nicely to stereotypes.

    As to work programs: those have been proposed as part of the way to reduce the unemployment level, but the same people then complain about government waste. Why don't they clamor equally about the waste in hiring contractors at 3-4X the cost of a soldier's pay to do the same job in AfPak, Iraq, Colombia, etc? How about subsidies for large commercial farms? Should ADM or other like companies receive govt assistance?

    It's so easy to say "cut'em off" when you think you're talking about "Shanequia", but where's your fire when it's "Marge, Jenny, Lisa" et. al?

    January 25, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  18. Nick , California

    As much as I hate to agree with a Republican... I do! I am of Mexican decent and live in Southern California and I see this all the time first hand. The welfare state is really bad... I know of people who do sit at home all day waiting for their check.. They go to the grocery store and sell their food stamps outside for cash so they can buy alcohol and drugs! There must be limits for receiving government assistance.. such as a job.. drug tests.. or school with required testing! By giving them money for nothing just hurts them because they have no self confidence and don't have a sense of accomplishment. The only way to get to these type of people is to stop giving them cash!

    January 25, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. some guy in New Hampshire

    He regrets being caught scriptless and letting a candid comment escape his lips.

    January 25, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. Scott

    What a moron. No one accused you of cruelty to animals, you idiot. Not everyone on welfare is a deadbeat.

    There are millions of people who NEED assistance and who cannot provide their own means.

    January 25, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. Jay, chicago

    ALL the Republicans in South Carolina should vote this guy for Governor. Then, when they have any misfortune in their life they should go and ask this guy, Bauer, for help. Since he is against helping stray animals==needy people ... he 'll help them accordingly!!
    It is incredible that this guy thinks that he belongs in a civilized society to begin with, and then to have the nerve and the audacity to ask to become the GOVERNOR of S. Carolina!
    What a way to go!
    Viva Republicans!!
    A party with a life philosophy???

    January 25, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. Crazy Harry

    Why apologize for saying what you really feel and believe? You and all of your republican buddies are the same. A perfect example of someone who only cares about themselves.

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

    So an 80 yr old widow on welfare should get up and go to work? A man who cannot express himself any better than he did should not be running for any public office.

    January 25, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  24. Michael Hsu

    I feel more compassion to a stray animal than to homeless people... because animals lack the brain capacity to get a job, whereas homeless people have the mental capacity to seek meaningful employment but simply choose to be lazy.

    January 25, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  25. todd

    Well, we know how this GOPer feels towards poor people, now don't we? In any event, he just disenfranchised anyone who needed to receive a welfare check, Social Security check, food stamp, or tax assistance, or utility assistance.

    As far as he is concerned, such people merely need to be sterilized or put down.

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