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. Chuck

    The GOP never seems to run out of fruit from the idiot tree.

    January 25, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  2. Chip Pierce

    Republicans have always felt that people who need assistance are animals, especially if they're black people.
    As an Independent, that's just one reason why I'll never vote for any member of the GOP.
    I think they're the animals.

    January 25, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  3. dan

    i wonder which animals he will get to vote for him next time????????????

    January 25, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  4. Anne

    we spay and neuter our animals the people on welfare just keep breeding.

    January 25, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. MBW

    What ignorance. The idea that everyone who receives government assistance WANTS to stay that way is ridiculous.

    There will always be some who abuse the system, but the reality is that most people want to be self-sufficient and successful. I know this from personal experience as a teacher in a low-income neighborhood (with many welfare recipients).

    Bauer should focus his attention on creating jobs for those people to turn to instead of perpetuating stereotypes.

    January 25, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. It has begun

    And another thing!!.
    I love how you liberals are eager to pull the "Christian thing to do" card when it suits your argument. But some how christianity has no place in a women's right to choose?

    There are a lot of people (not all) who fall in the poor bracket but their kids wear the designer clothes, their nails are done, hair is done tons of jewelery, cars all pimped out, but are living off you and me. They refuse to better themselves and why should they? They get everything for free. Perhaps his choice of word are poor like so many democrats but he has tapped into a lot of frustration with the welfare class. I have no problem help out the sick and those that are genuinely unable to work. But I am sick and tired of my tax dollars going to those that are too lazy to get an education, work hard and have kids that they are capbable of raising themselves.

    "The problem with taxing the rich is that eventually you run out of rich people to tax!" -Margaret Thatcher

    January 25, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Soooo, translation: "I'm sorry if I offended any animals or animal rights grousp by comparing animals to poor people. I'm not against animals, just poor people."
    ???

    January 25, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "Did I mention I meant to say "black" and "hispanic" not "poor"?"

    January 25, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  9. dan

    how many times has he supported raising the minimum wage? what about equal pay for work among minorities and ladies? i am just waiting for the other shoe to drop that he is coming out of the closet or that he is being paid for by the mining companies???????

    January 25, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. David S

    He has nothing against animals, he'll take a entire farm in his house before he'd let a poor person come near.

    January 25, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  11. bum on the street

    hahaha "hes not against animals". thats not the issue. "he doesnt like poor people"

    January 25, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  12. Rachell

    It's not so much the poor people you have to worry about, it's the stupid ones.

    January 25, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. Defender of the United States Constitution

    Bauer, you are absolute moron. If you and your neocon friends did not put policies in place where American jobs were outsourced because it was "good for the economy," your fellow Americans would have jobs. This is why I will never vote for a Republican because their conduct, policies and what comes out of their mouths, is morally repugnant and is unethical. They profess to be "Christians," however, they behave in a unGodly manner.

    January 25, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    Wait wait wait...maybe this is th emore accurate translations: "Sorry if I offended any animals or animal rights groups...I'm not against animals, and since poor people are animals, I'm not against them either."

    January 25, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. notamused

    oh dear Gawd, CNN had to dig pretty deep today for an anti GOP peice huh?

    January 25, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. Jerri in NM

    Why am I not surprised???

    January 25, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  17. Carl Justus

    This is the alternate to the democrats some of the public are crowing about. '

    He is one the republicans that think the tide has turned and the republicans will take over the congress this fall. If this is the kind of people we want to run the country, then my God help us.

    The bible indicates if not says God puts the leaders in office, I do not believe God will be putting Bauer in office and if he wins, I still will never believe that God put him in office. It will be the rich and those who worship (Idolize) the worship.

    Well there is one other choice this November, Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, and Alito gave corporations the ability for them to use unlimited amounts of money to buy politicians and then try call money speech-never knew a corporation could talk.

    South Carolina has 25 percent of if corporations are foreign owned so maybe the foreign corporations will install Bauer as governor so they can more incentives like the one for either BMW or Mercedes Benz who got 130 million dollars total in tax write off, infrastructure improvements or should I say state.

    January 25, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  18. valwayne

    Would Republicans in office, and running for office monitor what they are saying. Leave the really stupid remarks to VP Biden, Harry Reid, and Obama when he's not reading from a Teleprompter. Geez!!!!!

    January 25, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  19. juge

    I do not think your reference to people and animals reflected poorly on animals – your intention and continuing intention is to denigrate the needy. You are obnoxious. What would Jesus say!

    January 25, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  20. Kitchen Police

    So now we know what Bauer and the Republicans think about the poor, and I thought they were pro-life. Sounds like Mr. Bauer and others in his party have "final plans."

    January 25, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. Jen

    Typical GOP, blame poor people for the nation's problems. HELLO!?Come on, who has the power, who's pulling the strings, poor people or rich people? Figure it out already. Corporate wealth controlls our country, they have robbed this country and it's people of EVERYTHING. If you are a Republican or voted for Georgey boy, you are responsible for the condition our country is in now. You are also responsible for the deaths of over 1million people that have died in war based on intentional lies, you supprted the invasion of a sovreign country when the rest of the WORLD didn't agree with your leader's reasoning. I'm GLAD THAT BLOOD ISIN'T ON MY HANDS.

    January 25, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    It's ok, he doesn't hate animals, he just hates poor people. The typical right wing mantra that poor people just aren't working hard enough. And bootstraps.

    January 25, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  23. Steve (the real one)

    Government dependancy is a problem but better words should have and could have been used! "Foot in mouth disease" affects both dems and republicans! In the other Bauer story, folks quoted the Bible,not arguing with scripture but you left one out
    IF A MAN DOES NOT WORK, HE DOES NOT EAT!
    Yes we are to take care of the poor and one of the best ways is to get them to work! Interestingly enough we have charities in AFRICA to teach folk to plant and harvest (work), Why not here? Could it be for votes?

    January 25, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  24. Bill

    You shouldn't apologize for speaking your mind. A lot of those people on welfare are just looking for a handout. Some of them work hard to get more than 1 welfare check. If they would just work that hard at a normal job McDonalds might be able to get my order right once in a while.

    January 25, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  25. j

    Any metaphor would have been inappropriate. I certainly hopes this remark sinks his campaign.

    January 25, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
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