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. mike

    This guy is a typical elitist. He says he's "not against animals." I'm pretty sure that's not what people are mad about, its the fact that he dehumanized people who are on government assistance.

    January 25, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    The only thing wrong with this statement it, The South Carolina Republican Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer must have forgotten he is receiving government assistance from the State Of South Carolina. Open Big Mouth Put Foot In It and a Republican candidate for governor. MY, MY, MY.

    January 25, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  3. Frank CPA

    When Mr. Bauer files a federal tax return without taking deductions that are in essence, similar to "receiving a government check", when the underclass of South Carolina are afforded substantive education, health care, nutrition etc. assistance, not in the form of checks, but rather in the form of services, he can then rightfully appeal to the bigots of his state.

    January 25, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. Only republicans can destroy the middle class

    When the supreme court rules that social security, medicare, the VA, the post office, interstate highways, the military, libraries and government can only be run by big business corporations, will welfare cease to exist. Until then, Bauer will continue to receive his government welfare check from the people of South Carolina.

    January 25, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  5. vicky from Milwaukee

    Where do the Republicans find these guys? He sounds like a clone of Bush Baby.

    January 25, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. GI Joe

    Too late, idiot. The republican mantra of "let them all starve" has finally surfaced.

    January 25, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  7. Jim

    He is "not against animals." But he is against his fellow Americans in need of compassion and assistance. God help America. Greed Over People = GOP.

    January 25, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  8. Kim

    If our South Carolina politicians had to earn an honest living by relying on their own intelligence and work ethic for a real job, we would be seeing Mr. Bauer in line with foodstamps and our governor using medicaid to get healthcare for his children. "Let them eat cake" so say you Marie Antoinette Bauer. There may be people who feel entitiled to throw stones, but I wouldn't say you are one of them. Let any of you without help from friends, family, social or political connections, earn a real living; take away the benefit of the education your family gave you- then let's see how you do.

    January 25, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  9. Ed from PA

    ...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,...

    Indeed.

    January 25, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. justin

    this apology sounds like it was directed towards the animals he may have offended, not the poor people looks down on. run this rat out.

    January 25, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. Gee, Alabama

    I guess by needy people he means Wall Street bankers? They have received more financial assistance than most people including myself can fathom.

    January 25, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. PEACE ON EARTH

    These GOP'ers are a real class act........NOT

    They get more and more UN-CHRISTIAN like with EVERY PASSING DAY!

    The BEST PART is that they are SHOWING THEIR TRUE COLORS.

    January 25, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  13. Chris

    Stray animals have no choice or ability to better their situation, and are often the victims of human indifference. While some needy people are genuinely unable to provide for themselves, many are just lazy opportunistic garbage existing by exploiting the generosity of government assistance. He is absolutely right about this being a systemic problem that needs to be thoroughly overhauled. No more free rides!

    January 25, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  14. Rob R

    Clueless...regrets the animals metaphor, but the rest "...they breed...and don't know any better..." That's OK right?

    January 25, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. Mad Matt

    Andre Bauer must be auditioning to be a Radio City Rocket because he sure is tap dancing a lot.

    January 25, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  16. FLA

    It would be interesting to see how much of a push back this idiot would get if he followed through with this. Lets see which race is going to run him out of town first, I will bet my bottom dollar it won't be the african americans, because more white people get assistance than other minorities, that's why it's still in existence.

    January 25, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  17. Mark

    He is speaking the truth.

    Go to New Orleans and you will see what happens when you have people who depend on the government to take care of them from cradle to grave.

    Now obama wants to give those babymama's a bigger check, more kids without daddies should not equate to a bigger check from the government. If you can't afford to have kids you should be sterilized after one.

    January 25, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  18. KenS

    Of course he's "not against animals". Its people he doesn't much care for.

    January 25, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  19. LG

    Whatever happened to W's "compassionate conservatism"?

    People like this, Limbaugh, Beck, ... make the term feel like an oxymoron.

    There a valid conservative approach to public assistance - greater emphasis on developing job skills, enterpreneurial skills, ....

    January 25, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  20. shirley-atl

    This selfish, greedy republican meant exactly what he said. I am not on government assistance, but believe that those on it, who need it, should get it. All of those people are not the deadbeats that repubs make them out to be, and if they had not been so greedy in the last in administration, a lot of them probably would not need the help that they get from our government now. I personally haven't minded paying my fair share of taxes for the last 42 years, and have never complained about doing so. If that helps my fellow citizens who need it, and helps provide us with services when we need them, then so be it. I would imagine there are times when people don't need assistance and work the system, but most people are legitimate, I believe.

    January 25, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. Amazed

    How even one individual, who is not rich, votes Republican is beyond me.

    Racist, rednecks and Republicans. Unbelievable.

    January 25, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  22. It Doesn't Suprise Me That . . .

    Bauer would say something that most on the right wing believe.

    January 25, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  23. Jack

    I can understand the Lt Governors statement since they come from a complete fool.

    January 25, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. sparky

    Is this man insane? The fact that he points out he not against animanla is also crazy. Yeah, he may not be against animals, but he is sure against some people.

    January 25, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. Geoff

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!! Awesome...Nice going, smart guy. The GOP has some learning to do. This isn't really helping the GOP rid their image of disliking the poor and minorities...

    January 25, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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