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. Sherman Farves

    The problem with Republicans - they have no heart. It may be true that some people game the Government assistance programs. However, most are hard working Americans needing help not a hand out. And, the last time I looked South Carolina is no better than most of the deep southern states that have Republican governors, poor, ignorant, no jobs, uneducated (excluding the so-called "blue dog democrats who are republican wolfs in sheeps clothing). The Republican are No to any health (yet they claim religion as their vice), the replicans mostly commit adultry, pocket money from big pharam and gas companies, support big banks. Once people become educated in these deep southern states, these Republican jerks will be out of a job.

    January 25, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. Wmscot

    And you wonder why the people think that the Republican Party is out of touch with us poor folk !

    January 25, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  3. Tom

    "Noting that he has raised money for a group that protects animals, Bauer also said he is "not against animals."" <<Um, I don't think anyone would construe your comments as being disrespectful of ANIMALS, Bauer.

    January 25, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  4. FatboySlim

    You said what you meant and meant what you said. Stop trying to be politically correct. So what if the truth hurts. Honesty is the best policy.

    January 25, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. Betty

    Apparently he's not against animals, just people.

    January 25, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. Ronald E Miller

    Andre bauer is the reason gov.sanford won't resign can you imagine replacing infidelity with stupidpity and the people of s.c.voted these people in office,this isn't his fiirst act ask about the air plane or the traffic stop down town .

    January 25, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. Former soldier

    Ok, so I am not going to talk about the obvious idiocy that exists here. What I do want to point out are the following facts. TANF (now called SNAP) is what this person is referring to and what many Americans refer to when they mention welfare. THE TOTAL TANF OUTLAY AT ITS PEAK IN THE LAST 10 YEARS WAS 1% OF THE ENTIRE FEDERAL BUDGET!!! Why address this? Because, people who have these anecdotes about welfare queens driving cadillacs, etc are creating false problems that distract us all from real issues. Listen, are there abuses, absolutely, are they egregious when they occur, no doubt. But, would you spend this amount of time, energy and capital on less than 1% of your company's budget?!! No, you wouldn't or you would simply fail. So, as usual, a wedge issue is being used to try to limit government. Oh, wait, the Republican (you know the Christians) party only wants to limit government when it feeds poor people or takes care of a doctor bill, not when it makes huge corporations rich. And yes, I know CLinton had a lot to do with that, he is not exempt here. However, he was a white male southerner and was exposed to this same thinking. BTW, I am a white male from the south!! So, I have some experience on this one. This guy is just another shining example of the ignorance that grows in SC, where they lynched a black man in Dec.!!

    January 25, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. Ruth

    He mis-spoke. Like all the other republicans have done.If you forgive one - you must forgive all.

    January 25, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. Jim Hall

    Only two words to print "another republican idiot" Jim Hall Kansas City Missouri

    January 25, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  10. Wisconsonite

    Another out of touch Republican! Where are all of these "manual labor jobs", Mr. Baur, which you seem to think are SO abundant??? Please enlighten the thousands of American citizens who would be thrilled to have ANY kind of job, but can't find one! As for his despicable choice of words when comparing human beings to "stray animals", it's not the "metaphor" that's at fault, Mr. Bauer, it's the meaning BEHIND your words that's the really, really big problem!

    January 25, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  11. andy

    Is this the same South Carolina that still flies the confederate flag? Conservative Repulican – confederate flag flying seem to have the same meaning.

    January 25, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. Melissa

    Of course he does. Because he got called on it. Republicans are some of the most unfeeling people I've ever met.

    January 25, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. SocialismBad

    So is this CNN's latest baloney to get the Democrats stunning lose in Massachusetts off the ticker??

    January 25, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  14. Bob of Lompoc

    I ask: Which one has the more stupid appearance? Take your pick.

    I protest you using these two "actors" (Oh yaaaa!) to trash NASCAR. Some of my best friends are NASCAR people and they are nothing like this alleged Lt. Governor of this backwoods Southern State.

    January 25, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    A typical republican. They are supposedly Christian, but hate helping the poor or the sick, even though the message that we need to do so was one of Jesus' primary messages.

    January 25, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  16. Baby Boomer

    He should stop talking now. I don't think there's a good way to get out of this. Poor comparison, poor choice of words and what's more, no real way to determine who's legitimately fallen on hard times and who's milking the systems. Far to subjective. If I ever needed help, I would want it to be there...

    January 25, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. Only republicans can destroy the middle class

    For people like, "unemployed by Obama," and "jobless in Iowa, "who sit at home waiting for their welfare check, Bauer has a message for you.

    January 25, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  18. Lisa P

    This guy just gets more ridiculous.

    But at least he's getting a little more honest: "The welfare system is so entrenched that nobody wants to do manual labor jobs."

    The problem that Lt. Gov. Bauer is concerned about isn't dependency, it's that people who have any kind of a choice refuse to take lousy underpaid back-breaking exploitative work. It says a lot that he'd rather take away the benefits of a mom with four kids (however stupid and irresponsible) than make the conditions of manual labor good enough that unemployed American citizens would consider supporting their families that way. But no, that would be expensive; the rich people who benefit at the expense of immigrants would be up in arms!

    And how about companies like Walmart that rely on "handouts" like state health care programs so their poorly paid job-insecure employees can make ends meet? Why isn't Lt. Gov. Bauer of SC telling Walmart to give their employees time off for PTA meetings, or at least enough scheduling flexibility so they can attend meetings on their own time?

    More "hard truths" for you self righteous ignorant people who would rather pretend the poor - and immigrants too, for that matter - are animals than face up to treating them like fellow human beings deserving rights and respect.

    January 25, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. Michele

    He may not be "against animals" but it sure sounds like he has no empathy for the poor of his state whatsoever. And if they "don't know any better" than to keep having children, what is he doing about sex ed in his state? Let me guess: abstinence only education. Another Republican hypocrite.

    January 25, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. Who said the Mayans were wrong?

    Gee,no racial undertones there.Wonder if he jumps up and down on his couch too?

    January 25, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  21. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This isn't helping his bid for governor. It is funny and sad that people's mouths run faster than their brains. Things come out faster than they know.

    January 25, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. Lucullus

    Spoken like a true southern republican. . . or a republican in general. He says it and then says he didn't mean it. Keep your apology we know who you meant

    January 25, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  23. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Another GOP Christian... What a bunch of creeps!

    January 25, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. politicallyreese

    "not against animals" ...really? so I guess you're against poor people then

    January 25, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. vwrtb

    Republicans are disgusting...

    January 25, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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