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. Lisa M.

    Man another loser from South Carolina. Is there a pattern here? OK state to visit would NEVER want to live there. Too many little minded people like this guy,

    January 25, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. Bob in VA

    Is it the water in South Carolina?

    January 25, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. chris tx

    S. Carolina again!

    January 25, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. rita

    This was a perfect metaphor. I have not heard anything more sensible in the last 10 years. We hate the truth. We defend the breeding practices of the poor. We subsidize the breeding practices of the poor. No, they don't know any better. They don't read the newspapers. They are not interested in hearing about the depletion of natural resources or monetary resources of the state which subsidizes them. They have no understanding of the importance of an education. So many of our youth are neck deep in popular culture and can tell you all about Jay-Z but can't answer a simple question like who is the vice-president of the United States of America. Large majorities of our country would defend their multiple births per household while slandering the gay families that adopt these many unwanted children and serve as an important safety net. It is a bizarre biological need that homosexuals don't quite fully understand. The need to have 2.5 children or more in tow with no money in the bank, no prospect for a really good job and no way to buy milk for the fist day of the child's life. It is well past time we bring these idiots out into the light. Grandmothers and grandfathers are raising a new generation of children because the vicious cycle of poverty and babymaking can't be stopped. Look at the mountains of Haiti – not a tree left in sight. Look at Mexico City – not a tree left in sight. Turn down the burner on highly educated homosexual Americans and turn up the burner on dead beat dads, mothers who can't even say the word contraception and societies who pay their bills so that they can breed again tomorrow.

    January 25, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Lori in Texas

    This comment "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." is a total lie. Americans have no problem working hard, doing manual labor, they just want to be paid a fare living wage to do the work. The reason immigrants take these jobs is because they are willing to work for peanuts and no healthcare benefits. Just ask Bob Perry the home builder in Texas who hire illegals to build his homes. He also contributed to the swiftboating of John Kerry in 2004. If people were so concerned about illegal immigrants taking "our" jobs, why are they buying his homes? Why aren't they calling for Bob Perry's head on a platter for taking jobs away from Americans?

    January 25, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. tjaman

    Stay classy, GOP.

    January 25, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. Brent Walker

    It's telling that he apologized by saying he's "not against animals."

    He appears to be another standard-issue Republican who can't understand that our country is made up of a broad variety of people who have a broad variety of problems the likes of which will never touch him. (BTW, nice shot with Tom Cruise. You're a real man-of-the-people.)

    January 25, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Chad

    Typical Republican = Horrible Person.

    January 25, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Shorn

    Every once in awhile a Conservative slips and says what he really thinks.

    January 25, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. sammieb51

    I don't think there are mistakes when it comes to mis-using words this badly .... what he meant is what he said. What is that Oprah says - if someone shows you who they are, believe them. And we just saw who this guy is. What he is sorry about is that it is such a heartless statement.

    January 25, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. Royster

    Bauer is not against animals, and not against 'most' people; but in typical GOP fashion, is against NEEDY people receiving aid (GOP read 'handout') from the government when, in his (and the GOP's) opinion, 'these needy people' should all just go out and get jobs! Perhaps Mr. Bauer should read the latest unemployment reports instead of looking for photo ops with Hollywood Stars.

    In response to Bauer's comments, perhaps gubernatorial candidates should be 'mandated' to attend some sensitivity training regarding the 'less fortunate' and how to regard and address them respectfully. If Mr. Bauer's relatives were unemployed, would he be mandating drug testing for THEM?

    January 25, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. Brenda Cannaliato

    What does he mean "I never intended to tie people to animals". According to biological classification People are Animals..

    January 25, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  13. Edna

    Mature discussions should come from "mature" people and evidently Bauer is not one of them. To refer to human beings as stray animals is despicable and not a slip of the tongue. He is the stray animal. We know that the welfare system is one that needs to be changed, but degrading people doesn't help any. When are politicians going to learn to keep their mouths shut when nothing but stupidity comes out? I have nothing more to say, except get out of office.

    January 25, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Steve C.

    Unbelieveable.

    I've made some poor analogies in my life, but this is brutal.

    This shows a level of uncaring that is almost beyond belief. Then, to follow up with "Noting that he has raised money for a group that protects animals, Bauer also said he is "not against animals." "

    The concern over this guys comments has little to do with animals, it has everything to do with is with minimizing and further belittling human suffering and struggle.

    It also invokes imagry of Master and Mastered.

    January 25, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  15. Mike in NYC

    You get more of what you subsidize. That's just basic economics.

    "Litter" would not be an unfair description of many a welfare brood. Of course, that brings up the issue of spaying....

    January 25, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. ana

    No surprise here...coming from a privileged white republican man who probably never had to strugle a day in his life...

    January 25, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  17. Ser Scot

    Andre Bauer is an idiot. He is the only reason Mark Sanford was not impeached.

    January 25, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  18. liz

    Do corporate farms that are getting millions in taxppayer-funded subsidies count as animals receiving government assistance?

    January 25, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  19. Meka

    What Comes Up–Comes Out!

    HE MEANT EXACTLY WHAT HE SAID!

    January 25, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. Phil England

    This Bauer opportunist is a certified loose cannon,. Remember the incidents in the recent past when he misused his political office to worm out of a ticket for doing 100 mph; his being stopped in Columbia for running a red light and again misusing his political office; and his wrecking while piloting his aircraft. He's by far the best possible gift to the Democrats in South Carolina, next to the wayward Governor Sanford. It's no accident that both of these miscreants are typical Republicans. When will the populace ever wake up?

    January 25, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. Language and brain capacity correlate

    Have you ever noticed that politicians say one thing, then quickly roll into the "extra" limelight days of retraction, rectification, clarification or apology. In the atmosphere of our current political spectrum, this is considered free (read: always good) publicity.

    Next time you find yourself at the ballot box, think if you want to mark your vote for all these people who are intellectually not capable of adequately verbalizing their thoughts into language?

    If they can't verbalize their own thoughts, how can they represent the will and mandate of their constituents?

    January 25, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. Mary

    No, it's obvious-he's just against needy people!

    January 25, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. liz

    There is a difference between regretting that you said something and regretting that you got caught.

    January 25, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. Roy, Columbia, S.C.

    This guy really showed his true colors. I'm remembering his remarks on election day!

    January 25, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  25. Danny

    That's some pretty frantic back pedaling you're doing there Mr. Bauer. That kind of talk may fire up the crowds at GOP gatherings, but most of the rest of the people of this country don't like it when politicians compare poor people to animals. Apparently you have never been in a position where he needed help with basic necessities. Having been raised in a lower income family, attending college, and achieving a comfortable life, I understand both worlds. Let me tell you "those people" you compare to stray animals are not living a lifestyle that most of us would find enjoyable or acceptable. It would be great if there were jobs for all of them (there aren't) and they all had the skills to do them, and transportation to get to the jobs, and child care so they could be at work all day, etc... At the risk of making an assumption without knowing the facts, I'd bet Mr. Bauer was born into a fairly affluent family and has not done a day's hard work in his life. While I somewhat comprehend the underlying point he's trying to make, it's obvious from his choice of words that he's never gone to bed without a full stomach or a soft bed to lie on and has no clue about the hardships that certain groups of people deal with every day. Walk a mile in someone else's shoes before you condemn them sir.

    January 25, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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