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. Russ R.

    Bet Andre and Tom don't breed any unwanted offspring. Now, how can we non-Republicans get stray bankers who don't know any better out of the taxpayers' wallets before they breed any more financial catastrophes?

    January 25, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  2. karkri

    No, this sucker is not against animals, he is against people. Yeah I know, he belongs to the party of "family values", of "compassionate Christians", who don't give a hoot about people!

    January 25, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  3. Peter R LeVan

    YES! It is the PINNACLE of irresponsibility for people to continue having babies they cannot possibly feed. Good to hear a politician speak the truth.

    January 25, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  4. sarah

    It must be so easy to be in denial over the overpopulation of the United States by the young and dumb. It is so much easier to turn our attention to other fabricated immoralities like the love between two consenting same-sex adults who pay for the free lunches of the children of the young and dumb.

    January 25, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. irene

    THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 25, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. Katie B in NC

    Next thing you know he'll be proposing we spay and neuter everybody who receives government assistance!

    January 25, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. Roxy

    Usually poor people cannot afford any other type of entertainment but breeding! Maybe if the government put it high on the list to provide birth control and stop paying the poor money based on the number of children they have, then the system would not be abused.

    Let's educate the poor among us and reward them for not having children especially out of wedlock.

    January 25, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. laurie

    He should be voted out of office in the next election, but he'll probably be elected as Governor. This is South Carolina, after all.

    January 25, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. scott winter haven

    Is it me or does Tom Cruise look like a stray animal in this picture?

    Let's see if this works two ways Libs! Get Over It-You Lost and are Losing!

    January 25, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. george wheeldon

    He definitely needs to live in POVERTY for a few years. But such are the Republicans as a whole and especially in the south.

    January 25, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. The R

    Where do I sign up for the new Civil Wa?. I don't care if these Southerners are idiots or not. This BS about saying something crazy and then saying you meant something else is cowardly. I demand satisfaction Sir...

    January 25, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. Bubble of Sanity

    Much ado about nothing.

    January 25, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain

    It's interesting how people like Bauer love to blast welfare, thinking only about the adults they see and criticize.

    What about the children? They didn't choose their parents; why should they be denied help and opportunity? You want to reduce the number of people on welfare: Support real health care reform, support education, support real opportunity so children growing up on welfare see that their country offers them something other than just more of the same.

    Bauer would like to just forget all these people. What a selfish jerk – and typical of the "I've got mine, to heck with you" attitude of the current Republican leadership.

    January 25, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. obama 08 but...

    I think the photo says it all.

    You know people are tearing him apart for saying that, but when are we going to wake up and smell the real America??? Being politically correct is becoming a thing of the past because it is seriously hurting us to tiptoe around every issue. Sometimes it's good to just nip things in the bud. However, I hope he focuses on ways to empower needy people, a huge difference between people and animals. You can empower a cat by not feeding it, it will learn to hunt. However, if you don't feed a needy person, they're going to do whatever it takes to survive and I believe THEFT is a lot easier than obtaining a bow, arrows, a hunting permit, a vehicle to bring a kill home on... get what I'm saying????? Obama needs to step up on this, this whole "Yes We Can" thing that he promised us and made us all believe and start finding ways to empower people.

    January 25, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. TonyH

    From the remark, and from the way he attempted to explain it, it is clear that Andre Bauer cannot be trusted to look after animals – nor the well-being of the people of his state. That is the "hard truth", and unfortunately, he is one of those who "don't know any better. Shameful...

    January 25, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. An Independent

    He is not against animals, just against people, the human kind of animal. Are they all stupid in South Carolina? We have some of the problems we have in this country is because people keep electing fools like you Mr. Bauer. If Mr. Bauer really believes that the country's problems are caused by people on welfare, it is he who should be drug tested. Ignorant SOB.

    January 25, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. Jimmy James

    While his example may be crude, the premise is correct. Constant handouts and programs hurt people. They come to rely on them. The Democrats call this their voter base. They get them hooked on free stuff and then call anyone who opposes handouts as evil. Oddly I bet the left pounces on this but Reid's comment about Obama falls by the wayside. His apology gets accepted but this guy will be called every name in the book.

    January 25, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. Jude Cowell

    It isn't stray anmals he's disrespecting here, it's human beings who aren't as high on the totem pole as he.

    Guess he really really Isn't his brother's keeper. Does he profess to being a Christian? Puh!

    January 25, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. Jonathan Versen

    "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?"

    (maybe he thinks poor people need to be euthanized or offered for adoption say, on a bulletin board at the laundromat.)

    So, Bauer is condescending and paternalistic in his view of poor people, but he wanted to seem BENIGNLY condescending and paternalistic. Well, that's different!

    January 25, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. Scott Brown's wrist

    Didn't Scott Brown say that his family was on welfare at one point while growing up? Good thing he didn't grow up in South Carolina.

    January 25, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. I can't believe it

    He's right...he's not against animals. He's against poor people.

    January 25, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  22. john sonpull, camden, NJ

    at least he left out the part about them not even having the courtesy to throw themselves in front of a speeding car like stray animals do. he should at least get some points for that.

    January 25, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  23. Jeremiah

    Well. "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." And I am sure there are WHITE PEOPLE on WELLFARE also. So he must know of what he speaks. Or as Regan called them: “Those BIG BUCKS AND WELLFARE QUEENS” they are of all hues and races.

    January 25, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  24. boz

    hopefully he doesn't breed and create little monsters like himself, how do people like you get in these positions??????????/

    January 25, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  25. John

    I hate to say it but he is right. We have millions of people who do nothing but sit around and wait for government checks, because if they got a job they would lose their government handout checks. These people are lazy and would rather take other people's taxmoney than actually work and better themselves.

    January 25, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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