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. Ken

    Well, that was stupid.

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

    No, Bauer isn't against animals. But he is against needy people, and programs to help needy people. In the south, and especially South Carolina, ignorant insensitivity is a natural trait of GOP politicians.

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

    It doesn't sound like he is against animals just needy people.

    January 25, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. oh please

    What a prick!! Silver spoon in the mouth rich fool! God forbid one day he loses all his wealth and find his self in need.

    January 25, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  5. Jack

    If you are serious about wanted to end dependency on government programs, then you should seriously consider bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US. Not everyone can or desires to go to college like politicians. We need to stress bringing these jobs back to the US instead of China, India, or Mexico. Reagan pushed "made in America" american Pride. I think the Reagan democrats drove it home while these Reagan Republicans rode the coat tails.

    January 25, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  6. Hawaiian Girl

    What an idiot! The only difference is that in some cases, animals are treated much better than the poor! No one chooses to be poor; however, with the unemployment rate steadily climbing, I have a feeling that a whole lot of people will soon be fall into this category!

    January 25, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. Procstylee

    At least he didn't call the President a "negro" like Harry Reid. But guaranteed Dems will say that he should drop out of the race now.

    January 25, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  8. Mountain Dude

    He didn't mean to call poor people animals just sub human. Why is this attitude standard in the GOP ranks. The GOP doesn’t even realize how many of our disabled veterans are poor with special needs. They just send people to war; they could care less about the one’s that come back.

    January 25, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  9. David

    As a former Republican, all I can say is that this is the kind of attitude that drove me out of the party. Republicans try to assume the moral high ground, but behind closed doors they are hypocrites of the first order. This was no accident by this candidate; it was a Freudian slip that exposed his true views of less fortunate ones in our society. This guy could be the poster boy for Bush's legacy of "compassionate conservatism (an oxymoron if there ever was one). The New Testament book of James calls out those who walk past those in need and state, "Be warmed and be filled", and then go on their merry way without offering practical aid. That is Republicanism at its core. What would we expect of a party that sees people as stray animals?

    January 25, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  10. independent

    Even though I am left leaning, I have to agree with him. Afterall, statistics will show that there is a negative correlation between household income and number of children. Then again, if you don't work, what else do you have to do?

    January 25, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. Dale

    Ooo that's cold. Personally I liked it better when Republicans just blamed the poor for being born poor. It is that kid's own darn fault that his mommy is a druggie.... ;)

    January 25, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. Kyle

    The Lt. Governer's comments to be honest wasn't too far from the truth. However, most Americans are more concerned with political correctness than speaking the truth. A perfect example is the state of California, which I am a resident. It doesn't take a genious to figure out that California's financial problems are are the result of more and more people coming here and expecting the government to take care of them, and less and less people staying here who have good jobs or good retirements. This trend will end up causing the failure of the state.

    January 25, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. Natalie

    He just keeps on digging. Dude! Shut up already!

    January 25, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. Mike

    "You Lie"

    January 25, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. reggie

    Don't apologize for saying what you mean. Have the guts to stick by your selfish, me first ideology. at least then you won't be a hypocrite too.

    January 25, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  16. John

    Stunning. He regrets the metaphor because he meant no disrespect to animals. I am sure the citizens of South Carolina are very proud.

    January 25, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. Tony

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

    And where does he and his "many voters in South Carolina" stand on health insurance for all that includes comprehensive family planning?
    What's he done to create work for people who want to work but can't because he thinks jobs will magically appear?
    He, like other Republicans are great at giving these issues lip service but what have they created since 2000 except for high unemployment and job outsourcing!

    January 25, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. Dickson

    He likes animals, but doesn't like "needy" people. On it goes. Another
    republican who hasn't learned how to fire up the base without being
    stupid. Do these right wingers really think they can spew this crap and not get caught? God Help Us if they are ever in charge again.

    January 25, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. ~~ JULY ~~

    He does not .... he regrets getting caught saying it but no regrets that he believes in it.

    January 25, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  20. Steven

    "If some of these people who are currently on welfare were put to work you wouldn't have an immigration problem,"

    That's just naive. Immigrants take these jobs because they pay better than wherever they came from. Employers are the enablers because they know they can pay slave wages and no benefits to these unskilled, illegal individuals.

    We need corporate oversight that removes the incentives for hiring undocumented workers and levy hefty fines to those that do.

    January 25, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  21. Willy Brown

    Karma

    January 25, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  22. WENDELL

    The GOP shouldn't be ashamed. This person was just stating the official view of his party. The things the Republikooks talk about behind closed doors without microphones present are much worse. In reality they hate everyone who isn't rich and white and that wants to use our military as our only foreign policy tool.

    January 25, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  23. JJ

    It's so easy and convenient for those who have been given everything to look down their noses at those who are less fortunate.

    January 25, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  24. shucks

    Looks like a closeted gay couple to me at a pride parade.

    January 25, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  25. Adelita

    Does anyone even admit to being from South Carolina these days? Only Jenny Sanford shows any class at all, and I'll bet she isn't from there. The men all seem to have no class, and smeg for brains.

    January 25, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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