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. Michael

    He's not against animals - he just has no use for people who don't have the means to dona.te to the republican party.

    January 25, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  2. WrongKindofChange

    I do think there is a real problem with people who live off the government. There seems to be no incentive for these people to get of their lazy butts and earn their own living. The fact that people who are on medicaid go to the emergency room on average of 14 times a year is pretty telling. It's easy to abuse the system when you aren't paying for it.

    Throughout high school I bagged groceries at a local store and I got tired of watching people come in and buy steak, shrimp, and the most expensive foods while paying for it with food stamps, when my own family who worked hard for what we had, couldn't afford such foods because we had learned to live within our means.

    I understand people need assistance at times and I also believe we should help those that need it. However, I also believe that our system benefits the lazy who chose to remain lazy and allow others to work fot them. Our system create laziness. Why not have a welfare program that makes people work, if they are physically able to, for their benefits. We have a lot of streets and cities that can be cleaned of garbage.

    A system that allows people to earn their benefits will help them to feel good about themselves and teaches a valuable lesson that nothing is free in life.

    January 25, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  3. political junkie

    What IS it with South Carolina???

    You couldn't PAY me to live there!

    I feel sorry for any RATIONAL person who does live there,
    be it democrat, independent, or even republican (although
    a rational republican is almost impossible to find!)

    January 25, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. Dan R

    I love South Carolina Republicans! They say exactly what the party is thinking, without those silly, politically correct filters.

    January 25, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. Dimslie

    Okay, this guy's a Republican so, we can raise hell. Right?

    January 25, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  6. Orlando

    When this fool wake up, somebody got to let him know that Bush was in office for eight long years and it cost us millions of jobs. These people did not ask to be laid off, but it happen and what the hell he want them to do? maybe he can trade place with them for a month and see what it is to walk in their shoes.

    January 25, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. adods

    If our politicians have come to view the needy in this way the country has been lost. We, like Judas, have sold our souls for 30 pieces of silver.

    January 25, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. Mary Hieter

    Well it sounds like another politician with $$$ who is out of touch with is constituency. What is the per capita income in his state????
    Can these southern white males get any dumber???

    January 25, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. Terry Miller

    Wow Lt. Governor Bauer doesn't know when to shut up does he. Every follow up sentence he exclaimed just dug the hole deeper. Please someone tell him the old advice/adage, when you find you are in a hole, quit digging!!!! Ha

    January 25, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  10. steven harnack

    He's not against animals he says, heaven forbid! He's just against needy people. Oh, and birth control and abortions etc. And god forbid any taxpayer money going to poor people for abortions when that money is desperately needed to kill foreigners!

    January 25, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  11. EJ

    I think he misses the point. He wasn't insulting the animals; he insulted the people. His clarification is more of an insult that his original statement.

    January 25, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  12. Julie

    Regrettably he had a poor choice of words but gives a visual that goes right to the heart of the problem. Welfare has to stop being a way of life and back to being only a time LIMITED bridge to achieving self-reliance. Let's not hide this debate in the rhetoric of being "politically correct". Welfare is not a good lifestyle for families and is a major drain on society.

    January 25, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  13. pat c.

    this joker even looks like a jerk/bigot.
    and republicans wonder why they are called old white racist, just in this case the jerk is young. they must be breeding them faster in south carolina. he an jim Demint should be brothers.
    south carolina will never be any better than it is today with this kind of leadership, or should i say.... the lack of.
    i have never seen a republican that did not think he was better than anybody else. they all just have the look on there faces of looking down their noses.

    January 25, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  14. Mike

    Funny how nothiing is ever regretted until it comes out in the media...........

    January 25, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  15. Jim

    this kind of assumption is a common reoccurance among republicans. i hear it time and time again ... somehow those who need help don't want to work.

    personally, i don't know ANYONE who doesn't want to work ... and I mean ANYONE. and yet republicans would have us all believe that democrats, specifically, just lay around all day waiting for the handout.

    a total fabrication, and yet, I keep hearing it.

    more idiocy from those conservatives.

    January 25, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  16. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    This type of politicians is exactly was people do not need...politicians that has no respect for human beings!

    January 25, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  17. Jeepers

    He's not against animals. Just needy people...and immigrants. At least we don't need to worry that he's one of those politicians who stands up and gives "eloquent speeches" while doing nothing.

    January 25, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  18. Margaret Peters

    Whether he meant it or not, what he said is pretty close to the truth.

    January 25, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  19. John in Iowa

    "people receiving government assistance are like "stray animals" because "they breed" and "don't know any better"
    Yeah I am not sure how you could have made that sort of comment sound good not matter what metaphor you used.

    January 25, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. Michelle

    Ok, so he's not against animals; just poor people. So much better.

    January 25, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  21. Reny

    See, This is the Republican mindset and this is what the poor in this country will face when the Repulsivecans gain back power. You think you are angry now, jsut waitn until the Repulsivecans take back control and laugh all the way to the bank.

    January 25, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  22. Diane

    There is so much abuse of the system, the analogy he made is correct. It's too bad those that abuse the system ruin it for the truly needy.

    January 25, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  23. all the news that's fit to omit

    Any chance nitwit of you having a political career are gone.

    You DESERVE all the heat your going to get.

    There you go liberals a Conservative hammering this nitwit for his stupid remarks.

    He belongs in the stupidest comments of the week section along with Gibbs, Jarret and Axelfraud this passed Sunday.

    Retiring Congressmen Marion Berry a DEMOCRAT passed this gem along today –

    “I’ve (BERRY) been doing that with this White House, and they just don’t seem to give it any credibility at all,” Berry said. “They just kept telling us how good it was going to be".

    "The president himself, when that was brought up in one group, said, ‘Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me.’ We’re going to see how much difference that makes now.”

    Obambi said this to a VETERAN Democratic Congressman who was pleading with him to not make the same mistakes that they did in 1994 but Barry is the annointed one and is above reproach.

    I look forward to 2012 and this arrogant never worked a day in his like fraud is carrying his box of stuff out of the WH.

    January 25, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  24. steve

    amazing...the republican's under Bush put the American and most of the world's economies in the garbage, and now that there is poverty as a fallout they call those affected 'animals'. You sir, are an idiot!!! Good luck getting elected.

    January 25, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  25. ATL Guy

    Sounds like he meant what he wanted to say.

    January 25, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
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