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. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    A lot of right wingnut birthers call be "Buddy," but that is because they are too stupid to think for themselves, and get their daily talking points from Fat Bastard Hannity. Truth.

    January 25, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. Grog in Ohio

    Why do South Carolina's politicians continue to embarrass the good people of that state?

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

    No, no, really, poor people are like kitties, and I love kitties!

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

    this guy is a complete idiot..throw him out. What a truly disgusting human being! "I used the wrong words??????" BS!

    January 25, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. jim

    Other than a case of foot in mouth, what's wrong with his logic?

    January 25, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  6. Moderate

    Boy you guys are the meanest, oddest bunch in SC. Hateful and full of yourselves. Yes we know what you ment. We know what you're saying and we know who you are referenceing. We are way smarter than you think.

    It doesn't take a rocket scientist to read between those lines.

    Where did you people come from?

    January 25, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  7. sharon

    Lt. gov....should check his remark for what it realy is.......
    Those that think they are in "power" over those not in "power"......have long deminished a person...by making such remarks. When this is done to a person then the person who wishes to do further damage......then has no feelings to stop them. Call it a "moral check".
    If this is gone ......then a person can be further put down.....until they no longer appear as a "person". This has happened time and again.
    Pick a race. This continues today as far as Native Americans are concerned. People will try and say,"..oh we are honoring you".....and while doing all sorts of things and misusing items that are"sacred" carry on to their delight......no feeling.It all starts with that first statement. It gets easier after the first comment.
    Was this person realy sorry for the comment, or sorry he got caught?

    January 25, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  8. Sarah

    Does South Carolina not have any decent men or women to put in their government down there? What an ignorant, arrogant bigot this guy is.

    January 25, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  9. Pete

    I have to call "bull" on this apology. He meant what he said, that's why he said it. I would love to know if Mr. Bauer has any actual proof that those on public assistance "don't want to work" or "choose not to work".

    As for his notion that welfare causes immigration issues, it bears pointing out that businesses turn mighty large profits hiring undocumented workers and paying them pennies a day. It is those business owners who are the problem, but leave it to a Republican to blame it on the poor.

    January 25, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  10. mick e

    The Tom Cruise photo accompanying this story is gold. PURE GOLD!

    January 25, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  11. Ed Turner, Indianapolis

    wow cruise looks so gay in that picture. And we now know he wears a hairpiece.

    January 25, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. greg hill

    riveting.

    January 25, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    My uncle owns 6000 acres, is a republcan, and gets paid by the government not to grow crops, is he an animal on welfare too?

    January 25, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. Djbrianc

    So let me get this straight,, this idiot thinks the insult in his analogy was likening needy people to animals, disrespecting animals in someway? not likening needy ( CODE POOR ) people to animals disrespecting humans for "breeding and not knowing any better". And goes further by trying to analogize about cats. what a tool

    January 25, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  15. K(DC)

    The only thing this Klans Man regrets is that he didn't realize he would be velified by so many people. He said exactly what he met to say.

    January 25, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  16. Dan

    Hope this Dope isn't against humans!

    January 25, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  17. Matt

    How does he keep his hair so neat when he's wearing the white hood? I'm assuming that's the group of voters he's been trying out the "stray animals" line on.

    January 25, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  18. JOE

    the GOP can say anything they want about president obama but nothing our president has ever done or said compares with these low life republicans who are simply an embarassment to our country. at least our president has a certain class and decency about him that can make us all proud.

    January 25, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  19. Union Baby

    If I were Tom Cruise I'd be trying to burn all those pictures and make sure andre does not use them in his campaign commercials. but then again, maybe cruise feels the same way – don't recall seeing him on the telathon for Haiti Friday evening.
    Seriousley, the folks in SC are in jepordy of electing another governor who does not know the law because andre does not realize that you have a 5 year max on welfare, and children on wic loose it when they have their 5th birthday. I suppose it would be too much for him to read the book of James in the New Testament. James was the brother of Jesus (child of Mary and Joseph), he clearly stated that you should not treat the wealthy better than anyone else. And that is what is wrong with this nation – we let the wealthy have everything whether they do anything to deserve it or not, and instead we punish the poor whether they have any other choices or not. yes there are welfare cheats just like all the wealthy and corporate big wheels cheat, so what is the difference? For my money, I'd rather my taxes go to feed the poor and hungrey as oppsed to buying another porsch for the wealthy corporate big wheel.

    January 25, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. Moonbeam

    They like them stupid in South Carolina, don't they?

    January 25, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  21. MDC

    Another repub loser. Will we ever be free of these people?

    January 25, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. historian

    South Carolina is noted for it's stupidity.

    January 25, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    What a jerk! While I agree that more support needs to be given to people on public assistance so they can gain job skills needed for the workplace, Bauer's comparison of these people to stray animals who "breed and don't know any better" reveals his deep-seated prejudices about the poor. No amount of spin is going to change that.

    January 25, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. Joan

    The man is not politically correct and he's absolutely correct. Generation after generation of Americans breed like mice and stay in their free apartment that is heated and cooled with free heat & oil, eating free food, using free health care, and provided with a stipend of free monies. Of course, its merely free for them while we who work two or more jobs trying to raise our children and make ends meet are the one's who pay for these lazy breeders. If you can't afford it dont' have it. I can easily and without a second thought walk past every man, woman and child on the street who've never had to earn a days pay. They make me sick.

    January 25, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. John

    I have a metaphor for you Mr Bauer. Repubicans that feel the way you do are like leeches that suck the blood out of puss filled sores. Always squriming. Always sucking. This is why I will never vote for a Repubican again.

    January 25, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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