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. 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...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. Apology NOT ACCEPTED!

    January 25, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. duffey

    Don't try and talk yourself ourt of this one you bigot. The GOP is full of them.

    January 25, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  3. sccc1

    "I regret my choice of words" Sounds like Obama after his comments toward Sgt Crowley that led to the beer summit. I wonder if the GOPers will slam Bauer for not thinking before he speaks, as they did Obama. Of course not, why would they miss an opportunity to be hypocritical.

    January 25, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    "... nobody wants to do manual labor jobs." Bauer said. Wrong. My brother does and likes it. So do countless men and women I see daily working for the city, for construction companies, for landscapers, etc. This guy is offering just another simplistic–and wrong–explanation for things he can't understand much less lead about. Typical political bs.

    January 25, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. duffey

    Don't try and talk yourself out of this one you bigot. The GOP is full of them. Why don't you put on your white robe too?

    January 25, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. Tim Hooksett NH

    This sounds like the ramblings of a racist and a republican snob. There is no doubt that while courting for votes Mr Bauer looks at the poor differently. After the election they are trash in his mind. He represents the typical southern republican politican

    January 25, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. Navy Vet

    Gov. Bauer, while there is a problem with dependency on government assistance in this nation, your analogy is disgusting, degrading, and downright prejudice.

    There is a need for serious reform when it comes to welfare. But to lump everyone who may receive assistance into your vile description is nothing short of irresponsible.

    Having the ability to communicate effectively on an issue requires having a complete understanding of that issue, not just the negative points that support your political agenda.

    January 25, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. neal kelley

    does it surprise me?... the answer is no... A lot of the GOP is bunch of racist that do not care about the poor people of this country. The only animal I see is him!!!!

    January 25, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. TOM MCGEE

    not against animals just poor people,
    How in the hell did South Carolina get all these people in offfice.
    A Gov who want let the people get unemployment, But he was employed full time with hanky panky a rep who call the President a liar. Lt Gov who calls poor people animals.
    I was born there but ashamed to admit it in public

    January 25, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. single mom

    Another case of a politician putting his/her foot in mouth. Whether Dem or Rep, both sides do it.
    Next big deal?

    January 25, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. Greg

    SO he's saying he likes animals, but not people?

    January 25, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  12. Lee

    This is how he apologizes? He compares needy people to stray animals and then makes it clear that he is "not against animals." Classic. It's like telling someone, "You're as ugly as a dog. No offense to the dog, of course."

    January 25, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  13. Reality bites

    No Bauer, you're not against animals...just people in need.

    January 25, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  14. Ralph

    "... nobody wants to do manual labor jobs." Bauer said. Wrong. My brother does and likes it. So do countless men and women I see daily working for the city, for construction companies, for landscapers, etc. This guy is offering just another simplistic–and wrong–explanation for things he can't understand much less lead about. Typical political bs.

    January 25, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. Chipster

    So, let me get this straight, Bauer is apologizing to because he isn't against animals - he's against people who are in need. Because people wouldn't be in need if they were just willing to work? Does Bauer have a clue how many people are losing their homes because they lost their jobs and consequently lost their healthcare? All it takes is one serious illness in the family to bankrupt you and there are not many jobs available. Some people are work 2 and 3 jobs, still having trouble making ends meet. People with degrees are working as taxi drivers, waiters, and clerks. It isn't beneath them but they don't have health coverage, like Bauer and his family enjoys!

    Republicans talk a lot about Christianity but employing the teachings of Christ just doesn't work for them!

    January 25, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. Kelly

    I'm so glad he's "not against animals" – just poor people.

    January 25, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. L for Legend

    We all know what he meant, and Americans should be upset and tired of these STUPID comments. He is from one of the most backward thinking states in the union. If he was trying to be racist (which I believe was his motive), he must remember that people of all colors, religions, and sects need public assistance. The world would be better off without his kind.

    January 25, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. Ryan, Denver

    Considering most American families are a lay off away from being one of those 'needy animals' the Lt. Gov. refers to perhaps Americans should take note just how the GOP views them.

    January 25, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. Omar

    He apologized for insulting animals, not poor people. What a clueless jerk!

    January 25, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  20. Luc Hetu

    What an ignorant amoeba. What about the corporate welfare bums on Wall Street?

    January 25, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  21. REG in AZ

    To be truly objective one needs to think things trough first and then make the decision. Whenever anyone makes a decision first and then thinks of things to justify that decision, it is called 'rationalizing'. It may not be hard to see the truth but it can simply be hard to get emotions out of the way in order to accept it. If our political loyalty is based on our rationalized decisions, then we really can't trust those choices. It isn't easy with all of the subterfuge being constantly thrown at us, aimed to appeal to our self-interests, our fears, biases, prejudices and emotional preferences, hoping to get us to 'rationalize', but it is totally necessary to negate those deceptive efforts, otherwise we can just end up being co-responsible victims. It is absolutely necessary to recognize the manipulative efforts intended to solicit our emotional responses and to instead be firm in withholding trusting the source. The proof has been clearly demonstrated when the voting majority literally failed in doing just that and we are now paying significantly for it. We can't afford 'more of the same' and it isn't going to get any easier, especially after the Supreme Court's recent decision that has opened the flood gates for Special Interests and the influential, powerful and extremely wealthy to now spend even more extensively to manipulate public opinion. We may not always like the truth but if we now fail to have the discipline to make the real effort to know what it is, then we need not complain when the results are controlled by only the few, greatly impacting our lives, and just giving us subterfuge to rationalize with. Whatever Party leaning we may have it will greatly behoove all of us to utilize some very strong independent thinking, to objectively recognize and reject the deceptive manipulation. The question is, "can we do it?" or are we destined to always emotionally react, being led by their self-serving gross dishonesty, and then be the majority that is taken for granted, used and abused? In my thinking, I can't see us surviving a return to government concentrating on Special Interests and the select few and the money, influence and power they have to throw at manipulating the people just scares me.

    January 25, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. Thomas Micale

    As a South Carolina resident I can tell you that Bauer is an idiot!
    When he references the residents that don't complain about his comments, he is referring to other idiots who would listen to him.
    Andre, like most politicians, I find you are akin to the animal MY Mama warned me to avoid, the slimy leech.

    January 25, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  23. Ray

    Gov. Sanford, takes off for an Argentinian love fest, still in office.
    Then you've got this Joe Wilson moron, the you lie guy, and now this Lieutenant Governor making a stupid statement, followed by an even lamer excuse. What exactly is in the water in South Carolina?

    January 25, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. Georgia Washington

    It easy to say you used poor judgment and should not have uttered the remarks in the first place, but that's a way of putting thoughts out there, e.g., what you've been thinking all along and this is a way to make sure your deepest inner thoughts are heard, regardless of the consequences, as long as these words have been spoken & written about. Words are powerful, they influence people, either good or bad. Whatsoever is inside a person is bound to come out. Always. It is indeed a low-level of thinking for a public representative to compare human beings with animals. Very sad.

    January 25, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. foyelady

    Does he feel the same way about Corporate Welfare, which by far outstrips anything those on public assistance get? Those corporations that borrowed $30.00 for every $1 of collateral, as most of the major banks & hedge funds did. What does he call those Multi-nationals that receive billions in tax cuts, that the average person must make up for. Any anger towards those that almost bought down the global economy. What he's doing is a VERY old tactic. Blame the least powerful while the people with all the power & money rob us all blind.

    January 25, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
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