January 25th, 2010
11:36 AM ET
13 years ago

South Carolina Lt. Gov. compares poor to 'stray animals'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/26/andrebauer.jpg caption="South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer is running for governor this year."](CNN) – South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer isn't backing away from controversial remarks he made over the weekend comparing needy people to "stray animals."

Bauer, who is one of several candidates seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination, said Friday that providing government food assistance to lower-income residents - things like food stamps or free school lunches - encourages a culture of dependence.

"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals," Bauer told an audience in the town of Fountain Inn, according to the Greenville News. "You know why? Because they breed."

"You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply," Bauer continued. "They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better."

Bauer said recipients of government assistance should undergo drug testing or be forced to attend parent-teacher conferences, or else lose their benefits.

His comments drew rebukes from rival candidates in both parties along with political and community leaders around the state. Responding to the uproar, Bauer told South Carolina reporters over the weekend that he could have chosen his words more carefully.

But he stood by his basic premise.

"Yes, I believe government is 'breeding a culture of dependency' which has grown out of control, and frankly, amounts to little more than socialism, paid for by hard-working, tax-paying families … against their wishes," Bauer said in an e-mail to supporters on Sunday.

Bauer wrote that the government has an obligation to help people in need, but, he said, "there's a big difference between being truly needy and truly lazy."

"We must find ways to instill some sense of responsibility or consequence into those who are now a part of the cycle of automatic hand-outs," he said in the e-mail. "Generational welfare is bad for the people on it and bad for the state of South Carolina."

Filed under: 2010 • Andre Bauer • South Carolina
soundoff (308 Responses)
  1. Wisconsonite

    Perhaps Mr. Bauer, and all of you who seem to agree with his comments think the correct action would be to round all of these people up and put them down, just like we do stray animals??? Sort of a "Humane Society" for unfortunates??? Or perhaps we should revert to the Work Houses of Great Britain's past ala Oliver Twist??? You people are sick and you have the nerve to refer to Democrats and President Obama as 'marxists" & "socialists" ???? You people are WORSE than Hitler!

    January 25, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Scott

    Well . . . he is RIGHT! As he says, he may not have phrased it the best way possible, but that does not make his basic premise less true. I'm a bit confused by all of these "Christian" comments. First of all, I thought there was a separation of church and state, so if you think Jesus wants you to feed lazy people, by all means, give them all of your money that you care to give. Do NOT, however, use my tax dollars. I give to the charities I deem worthy of dispensing money to truly needy folks, and I encourage everyone else to do the same. But the government is not the proper way to go–it has failed miserably since the "Great" Society began in the 1960s.
    Furthermore, as the Lt. Governor states, there is a difference between truly needy people and truly lazy people. It seems many posting comments cannot appreciate the difference. Yes, we are in economic hard times–that is why unemployment has been extended. The Lt. Governor's comments were not aimed at the unemployed, but at those who have been on welfare for years (and, yes, there are plenty of ways around the "5-year limit"–including having more kids!) and who are milking the system.
    Our society cannot survive long without more common sense policies regarding those who chose not to work (and make no mistake, this has been an issue long, long, long, before the current economic situation). I strongly encourage you to rent the movie "Idiocracy" if you want to see what is going to become of our society if we keep subsidizing lazy people (and if you don't think generational welfare is a problem, then YOU ARE the problem!).

    January 25, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |

    Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer.

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

    South Carolina Lt. Gov. compares poor to 'stray animals'

    Big Surprise: Republicans believe the poor are animals.

    I'm shocked....shocked...to learn Republicans believe this.

    January 25, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  5. NotFooledTX

    Just another testimonial from a member of the "I've got mine, screw you" party.


    January 25, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. Wisconsonite

    I just want every single person who agrees with this man to stop calling yourselves "christians". Because you're NOT!

    January 25, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  7. John in WV

    Many have chosen to beat the system opposed to the system beating them. How can you blame someone willing to work for choosing welfare over a job that does not provide health care and a living wage? What party chokes and pukes everytime we try to raise minimum wage. What party has said NO to health care reform? The same party that will fight Obama when he tries to help the middle class. The same party that wants Americans to work for nothing while their employers live a comfortable life.

    January 25, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  8. sara

    Well here I go....healthcare is Not a poor issue...it is an American issue....Why do our soldiers enlist in Wars to simple have Healthcare? So who fights our wars? Poor people? Since there's no WELFARE, who's receiving handouts? It has long been the Republicans Mantra and their way of Dividing this country to suggest that "poor" people were black people. As the first Black President, took office, there has never in our history that the word Socialism has been applied in America, even though, we ALL KNOW this is A Capitalist country.....the suggesting is that this President is Not the President of All American, but the President of Black ("poor") that is looking for "handouts". This is why the Republicans and Teabaggers began shouting "socialism" 2 months into this President's first term. Bauer just REAFFIRMED IT BRUNTLY.
    The Republican goals are to create 2 Class of People.....Us (rich) and Them (poor) as evident by the crushing of the Middle Class, that they are Now calling "POOR".

    As a 60 year old black woman, I don't know anyone that is on government assistance programs....my neighbors as I... have raised their families, bought and some have paid for their homes and have great pride in striving for themselves.
    But as a social worker, if this country was perfect, then Why in the world do I see families without the basics...shelter, food and clothing? Living without the basics even in times when we think the economy is GOOD. Now, may I add that the majority of my clients are NOT black, but white. Some has lost jobs, savings, homes, money through illness, divorce and a host of other life's circumstances.

    So, the 'Mantra" of the Republicans has Not held up for DECADES, but their Message is Still fueling divisiness, selfishness, "we against them", Racism. That's why Responsibility means that every Adult has to have the ability to seek out information, and stop letting our emotions sink our country to the "Moral Lows" that is no different than any other "terrorist". People aren't Animals, and should never be equated to one. By the way, I saw a movie over the weekend, and it had a powerful message....of greed, selfishness and hate....called the "BOOK of ELI"

    January 25, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  9. glib lib

    the real problem is that there are a lot more people in this country that think just like this.

    January 25, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. Tracy

    And how's that foot tasting Mr. Bauer?

    January 25, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    What he is actually saying is actually correct. Unless people are forced to earn their own way, they won't.

    The poor were helped greatly, when Reagan forced them to stand on their own 2 feet, by cutting many social programs, which simply encouraged them to continue to do nothing for themselves. Once they lost the social programs, they made the effort to improve their own situation, themselves.

    While some of that still had public support, and financing, it wasn't given without strings attached, which got the desired results.

    January 25, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. virginia nielsen

    With this german last name and being a Republican = discrimination + being insensitive !!! Typical right wing !!!

    January 25, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  13. Who said the Mayans were wrong?

    Im in no hurry for 2012 or the republican comback.

    January 25, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  14. Jake

    To all those saying they're working hard to support the lazy..let me tell you, no one wants to be poor. Yes, there are lazy among the poor but try getting yourself out of the vicious circle of poverty, unemployment, lack of education and you'll know the world is not black and white as conservatives think. Most of the poor don't even know there is a choice. They have been poor for generations and a little help in getting a child out of that hopelessness is what any decent society would do.

    The percent of our hardworking money going to supporting the 'lazy' is nothing compared to that being stolen by corrupt politicians and corporations. Let's at least be smart and try to catch the bigger fish!

    January 25, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. Andi

    I think we should have mandatory drug-testing for members of Congress.

    January 25, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. Ted

    Another dumb southerner. What a surprise.

    January 25, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  17. LDibo


    January 25, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  18. If you want something stupid said, put 'If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge' in charge

    Yeah, you heard me buddy.

    January 25, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  19. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Sammie in Valparaiso, IN January 25th, 2010 12:47 pm ET

    Finally someone says it like it is. I've known several families who had children they knew they could not afford, knowing that the government would finance their choices. They all receive food stamps, welfare payouts, wics, and so on.

    I am not saying that all are like this; many have fallen on hard times and deserve to be helped. But come on, one woman I know had 4 kids by 2 different men and all 4 kids are on wics, free lunch meals, etc, etc, etc....then she brags about getting everything free. These people make stupid, irresponsible decisions, and we the taxpayers are expected to support them in perpetuity. When does it end?

    You hit the nail right on the head! Spot on!

    January 25, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  20. Kevin St Pete FL

    Given the fact that a STRONG majority of Americans, regardless of what they are, are living from paycheck to paycheck, and that same amount are ONE paycheck away from being on the system, I would be careful about making statements like this; but then again, I should expect this coming from the Republican Party, the party that was responsible for this mess IN THE FIRST PLACE!!

    And for those that are making vile statements about those that are on the system: While I agree with you that there is a problem with welfare fraud going rampant in this country, and the need to drug test those that receive goverment aid, I pray to to God Almighty that you don't have to go throught what most of us have gone through; from taking a pay cut; to losing your job for whatever reason; to being homeless and living in a shelter, especially if you have a family. For all you know, it could be your next door neighbor or a family member who have had this tragedy befall them.

    January 25, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  21. Lisa - VA

    My goodness..I cannot believe the amount of people who thinks this guy is correct in comparing people to stray animals. I cannot believe so many people can be so MEAN.

    I must admit, there are a lot of people (black and white, male and female, young and old) who LOVES to take advantage of the "system"..but there are a lot of people in this country who really needs help. So rather than call people "stray animals"..maybe he needs to work with the government to put in place programs to help people become less dependent on government.

    I truly believe that WE are put on this earth to help on another. I also try not to look down on people. Just because I am able to work and take care of myself now..doesn't mean it's always going to be that way. We as children of God (if you believe there is a God) need to remember that what God gives, he can take away.

    January 25, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. If you want sweeping generalizations and partisan rants, put 'If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge' in charge

    <- Truth.

    January 25, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  23. normajean

    Hey folks,this is what the Repubs. think of you. Are you really going to keep voting them into office. Some people are fighting to put our great country back in good condition, and some people are working over time to bring it down. Which type are you? Get out there and stand behind a president who REALLY has the best interests of our people, all of them, at heart. How do you like being compared to animals ? Remember that at the polls.

    January 25, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  24. Are you kidding me?

    Well, imagine that. A wealthy welfare recipient complaining about the poor ones? Think about it. Aren't most politicians taking handouts from the rest of hard-working Americans? Isn't it our tax dollars that pay their wages and retirements? Isn't it our tax dollars that provide them with exceptional health care that they deny so many others? Does paying them to 'work' for us make them work harder or do more? Heck NO. Politicians are getting our handouts but do the bare minimum and stay on that gravy train.

    Let's cut their wages by 75% and let them struggle to get affordable health benefits. If they are going to continue to live off the backs of hard-working Americans....they should be WORKING FOR US.

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

    Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Explain why he needs a fish, explain that you are better than anyone else at fulfilling his fish requirements, and leave him your number and the website address of get-a-fish.com. Having stimulated his need for fish, both you and the venture capitalists will believe that there is no possible way he can get a fish online without coming to you. 100,000 people sign up in the first month. Your market cap goes to $50M. Now, quickly, sell up. Whilst you weren't looking your marketing manager thought it would be a great idea to turn your fish site into an 'Online Fish Portal'. As a result, everyone who signed up in the first month has followed the link to learn-to-fish.com, and taught themselves to fish online. Your company is now worthless, but you've walked away with $10M, and you still don't even know how to fish yourself.......

    January 25, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
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