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. Robert Whitman

    Kindly do not patronize Americans, sir.

    Bauer's remark demonstrates the ignorance of this man's party philosophy regarding the value of work, and what happens to workers when work is denied them.

    Unemployment is not due to the lack of will or the weakness of the unemployed. It is an intentional cost-cutting strategy, supported by and abetted by the policies of the GOP for the last two decades. The name of this policy is "welfare for the corporation" and "rewards for campaign contributors".

    January 25, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. Duncan McGinnis

    You can tell that Bauer has never known, talked to, or in any other way interacted with a person who is on public assistance. Typical Republican.

    January 25, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  3. Ken in NC

    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 real job they would lose their government handout checks.

    By definition, some people refer to these people as Republicans. I like that better.

    January 25, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  4. Abou

    His comments were insensitive, and rude. HOWEVER, the underlying premise here is true. Our welfare system currently has current practices that deter people from obtaining work. We need a system that is able to distinguish between those who are able to work, and those who mentally or physically cannot. Then, we must assist citizens with job training and job search employment to equip citizens with the skills to work. We must also make sure that wages are well enough or better than monies received from welfare to deter individuals from staying on government assistance.

    However we handle this issue, we must do it with respect and humility for those who truly need assistance.

    January 25, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. DeeDee

    WOW – talk about a caveman attitude!!!! I was one of those poor people he is so against (but he is not against animals, hmn...??.) Without the helping hand my family received when my father became so ill he couldn't work his full time job or run the farm we lived on, I would not have been able to finish high school, go to college, get a degree and pay taxes back into that wonderful system that helped me and my siblings. Not once since I started working during my sophmore year in high school have I ever complained about paying my fair share of taxes and wished everyone else would do the same. I am one of those success stories! PS, I also prove him wrong o the breeding issue – I don't have children – guess we don't all breed like animals.

    Just goes to show, those that have do not understand what the REAL WORKING CLASS is about.

    January 25, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. Marie MD

    What a moron . . . . then again, SC . . . . what do you expect???? What's up with Cruise? Is that his boy toy?
    "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?"
    You get a pet sitter or friend to feed it.
    Of course, if you are on welfare you probably can't afford to go anywhere but feeding a stray shows heart.
    This guy wouldn't know what that means though.

    January 25, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. Kate

    Just like a Republican...doesn't care about people! What is the gov. for? I thought we had a government of the people, by the people, for the people. Let us just do away with government and that way we wont need any congressmen or politicians.... And isn't feeding the corporate america along the same lines!!????/?

    January 25, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. MikeH

    He's just telling it like Republicans think it is.

    The poor can just go die in a ditch for all the fat-cat Republicans and their corporate controllers care.

    January 25, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. Grundoon

    What an idiot! Bet he doesn't know that public welfare budget is a fraction compared to the corporate welfare budget but the GOP gets frickin' IRRATE as the thought of helping peopel when they're down, even the middle class.

    January 25, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. David

    What a moron. Even in his apology this idiot doesn't realize who he has insulted. God, will more Independents please get elected.

    January 25, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. Rachel

    Welfare users as a voter base, I don't think so. They don't vote. Look, not everyone on welfare is just looking for a handout, I think we can all agree. I just hate that everyone is so bent on one way or another. Sometimes our fellow man needs help; and sometimes they should help themselves. I don't want to take care of everyone, but there should be a system that keeps people from completely sinking. If you don't believe in any kind of assistance program, you are completely heartless. Alot of seniors, veterans and disabled persons need assistance and we should help "the least of us" if we can. Perhaps stronger fraud checks would be more helpful than just kicking everyone out to fend for themselves. And I'm pretty sure that white collar crime defrauds our country much more than welfare fraud.

    January 25, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  12. Brad

    Is there something in the water in South Carolina or is the problem inbreeding? For the relatively small size of that state and it's population, they seem to have a history of stupid and crazy people who manage to cause quite a commotion.

    January 25, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. Joseph B

    He regrets his choice of words – but he will not rescind his remark... classy....

    January 25, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  14. Kevin

    He's a politician. The legal sense of being a crook and screwing over those that had been lied to so he would recieve a vote.

    All of these elected idiots are liar's & thieves. I do not hold much trust in any elected political office, be it on a small town level to the Fed.

    Term limits should be written into law nation wide for every level and these elected idiots should payout of their own pocket and not our tax dollars for the special perks they get for free, like health insurance and retirement pensions.

    Take all that away and enforce a limit of office and the type of person that runs for office will change from the greedy crook to the possible people we dream of being elected into office.

    January 25, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. Stephanie

    " He suggested that people on welfare undergo drug testing "
    Why are the poor being treated like second rate citizens? Innocent until proven guilty. There's plenty of people on assistance who are not drug addicts, and I would find it incomprehensibly offensive to be ordered to do something like this. It's undignified enough to be reliant on the government, way to slap those who are trying to better themselves in the face. This man should be ashamed, as should his mother!

    January 25, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. Wisconsonite

    Another Republican Elitist

    January 25, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. Virginia Independent Voter

    This is a prime example why republicans don't get it. They have absolutely no compasion for the poor and needy. The only thing they really care about is the money in their pockets and the money in the pockets of their rich friends. Pathetic. Greed is not a family value. Face it, they care absolutely nothing about the great majority of people in this country, particularly the working poor.

    January 25, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. Mike Dallas

    You cannot make such statements and consider yourself a Christian.

    At least the republiklan hatred for the poor among us is out for all to see.

    This “liberal socialist always waiting for a welfare hand out” is blessed with a job and it pays enough to more than meet my basic needs for food and shelter. This “heathen” was indeed taught that yes, I am my brother’s keeper, which means once my basic needs are met, I am to help others less fortunate and help to clothe, shelter and feed them. I am not only glad, but in my belief, I am obligated to pay taxes, and since I cannot possibly help all those in need in this country, the government will use those taxes to assist those in poverty to achieve their basic needs. It may not be a perfect system but instead of ending it, I want the corruption rooted out, not to “starve” the system into non-existence. It is not my place to judge, why the folks are in a different place in life than I. I do not recall any teachings that said help those less fortunate, but only if I deem they are worthy of my help.

    So, this “heathen” will continue to try and follow the lead of the original “liberal” while you “christian” cons are merely the 21st century version of the money changers He chased from the temple.

    One day we will be divided into two groups, one that tried to promote the “liberal agenda” in our short time here, and one that elevated pride and personal greed to an art form and fought to actively limit the help to the poverty stricken by not only ignoring the poor’s basic needs for food and shelter, but sanctioned the deaths of 45,000 less fortunate Americans every year, all so you could keep more of your “gold coins“ in your own pocket.

    The Shepherd will decide which group contained the sheep and which group contained the goats.

    January 25, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. al in memphis

    Hold if just one minute– I come from a very large family who principles was built on hard work, not hand outs. Before free lunch programs at elementary schools, I had plenty days of being hungry in school. Being on food assistance did not keep myself and my siblings from losing ambitions and becoming doctors, lawyers, and engineers - middle class taxpayers in this country.
    Many of you point out the example of abuse of these programs (mostly to elevate yourself), but you forget that in a lot of cases the investment the government makes in assisting it citizens pays of later by having productive taxpayers in the futures.

    Yeah - there are too many examples of people ambition crippled by the assistance program. The culture of dependency by the poor was spawn by the culture of entitlement by the rich who used the taxpayers treasury as their own piggly bank .

    How could you be a Lt governor and be that out of touch with why people are struggling. Next, he will be blaming elderly people for needing too much medicine to maintain a decent quality of life.

    January 25, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  20. Lisa P

    And, from the shallow end: Tom Cruise isn't looking too well in that picture, is he? Bad color, way too thin. Guess the Hollywood lifestyle isn't agreeing with him; maybe he ought to try working for a living instead ;-)

    January 25, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. Jay

    Can we say, "Mr. Bauer needs a bigger shovel."

    January 25, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. Dumbasrocks [R]s

    OK. Then I regret thinking that most [R]s are severely mentally handicapped, genetic throw-backs to the neanderthals. It certainly IS regretful that a significant portion of our population is so stupid that they would want to put the failure of [R] rule back into office so soon after their last failure almost drove this country to ruin. Bin Laden need finince no further attacks.....all he needs to do is sit back and hope [R]s gain back control of the American gov't.

    [R]s and false "independents" who shill for the rightwing underbelly of this nation are NEO-TARDS! You can tell them from their shrill calls blaming the poor of this nation for everything. The delusion and hypocrisy it tkes to be a [R] and a neo-independent is just absolutely stunning!

    January 25, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Bauer was Just Proving That If Your Give . . .

    Bigots too much publicity, they will just breed and take over society.
    Best to shut them in a windowless padded cell and throw away the key.

    January 25, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. j-Dub

    Het Massachusians this is the type of people you lowered yourself to represent you.

    January 25, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. If you want sweeping generalizations and partisan rants, put 'If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge' in charge

    Touched a nerve there, eh?

    January 25, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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