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. Pepou

    Bauer was born at the wrong time in the wrong country. Nazi Germany would have loved him, sending Jews (whom they referred as non-beings) to gas chambers.
    People like Bauer should not be allowed to breed.

    January 25, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  2. DOG1

    "On the other hand, how come poverty has worsened in the past 40 years despite Johnson's Great Society, Kennedy's New Era, Carter's
    whatever he called it, Clinton's whatever he called it, and the TRILLIONS we've spent on this subject ?"

    Because the right wing (supposed Christians) have always made sure that the focus of this country is corporate profit no matter what. That means decent wages, proper health care and anything that will help prevent poverty are shoved aside. This country is nearly bankrupt not because of trying to help our own but because of wasting our taxes to do things like fighting wars, not for our security but to protect "american interests" in order to further that corporate profit!

    January 25, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  3. billy123

    What is new about this the Republicans do not know who anybody is unless you are "RICH" What bothers me is why voters in South Carolina keep voting Republican?

    My question is this is everybody in South Carolina "RICH"?

    January 25, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. Enough government handouts

    The government programs have created many so called poor. Many on welfare are there because of their own choices. We pay them to reproduce, we pay them to be drug addicts. Truly poor people will always be helped, but the government created poor will never do anything to help themselves because they don't have to. Having spent time working in an office that accepted medical.........many of them are not poor, they are drug addicts with kids and by giving them handouts we are NOT helping them, we are encouraging this behavior.

    It is NOT up to the government to take care of everyone. That's what families, churches, friends and charities are for.

    January 25, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  5. DALE

    Glad he is sticking to his comment and being honest. We already know that the GOP believes this way at least one of them is man enough to confirm it.

    January 25, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. Chris - Seattle

    Don't fret people, this isn't uncommon to think that someone that doesn't have what you have or the ability to acquire it, is beneath you. It's the same philosophy that fueled the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, which is where I think a lot of folk still live mentally! The divine intervention to this mindset is coming and it will leave us all butt naked and bleeding the same blood. I'd prefer the 5 mile wide, 5 mile long meteorite. Whatever it may be and whenever it gets here, it'll be a life changer and hopefully we'll be able to start anew and let's make it better this time. May God Bless!

    January 25, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  7. DOG1

    God has a very special place reserved for this kind of "christian" and all his right wing buddies and it ain't in heaven.

    January 25, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. I'll never go hungry again!

    Just when you thought it couldn't get crazier in South Carolina! Let them eat empanadas!!!

    January 25, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. independent jim

    Wow. And he probably calls himself a Christian too.

    January 25, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  10. Chanel

    This is DISGUSTING!!! He should be pushed out of his office. Republicans better stand up and condemn his comments. IS THIS THE KIND OF REPUBLICAN PARTY THAT TEA PARTY GOERS WANT RUNNING THIS COUNTRY???

    January 25, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  11. Fed Up

    I feel sorry for stray and abandoned animals, they are not capable of taking care of themselves. But the so called poor that we enable, are making their own choices and it isn't up to the government to rob my pockets to support someone elses choices. We have charities to help people. I don't go to work everyday to pay for the drug addict next doors kids.

    January 25, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. j

    So you deny people sex education, then deny them birth control and abortions, then say it's your problem. Sounds real compassionate.

    And the responses are treating people as if they're a different species. Some people don't have the knowledge or resources to deal with their problems and they need government assistance. It's not a crime to be poor or it shouldn't be.

    January 25, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  13. awaitingmoderationby CNN

    He is right, but he said it wrong. We should have learned this from the $3 trillion "war on poverty" that the libs did and it made things worse. In the meantime, is CNN going to mention that the decline in housing sales is the worst in 40 years. That Obama is sure doing a wonderful job.

    January 25, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  14. MnMary

    If Jesus thought like that, there would be no Christianity; He fed the poor and encouraged us to take care of each other, because we are all ONE - we are the brotherhood of humanity. How DARE you, Mr. Bauer, call humans "animals"?!!? YOU, sir, are the animal! Any country/team is only as good as its weakest link - we must strive to BUILD UP everyone to a state of human decency!

    January 25, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  15. FM

    Is this man drunk of power???? He should feel ashamed that poverty still exist in such a great nation on earth!!!!!!!

    January 25, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    I don't think he was refering to those who have lost their jobs or whatever, but the welfare parasites who refuse to work...It's easier to get that gov't check than a job, and the illegals who come to live here, and get a check.

    If we demand that welfare is for citizens and those with green cards(legals) and not for the illegal lice just sponging off te system, the system will work.

    But his terms are a very poor choice of words!!

    January 25, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. Mlhall

    I hope all you who agree with Mr. Andre Bauer lose every thing you got and have to beg in the street for a bite to eat and I hope no one give you a second look. I wish you nothing but the most horrible thing that can happen to any man. I am ask God to forgive me for feeling this way but I hate to see any man think that God put anyone above anyone else.

    January 25, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. Dee G - CT Voter

    Wow! Scary GOP thinking – and even scarier – people that allow themselves to be led around by the nose by people like this moron. People – WAKE-UP! Think for yourselves instead of letting garbage like this guy do all the talking(spewing)!

    January 25, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. Dar

    And everyone on here that beleives that Bauer is soooooo wrong must be living in a dream world.
    I wouldn't have called a human being a stray dog, but his example was correct. I know a couple of people that live off the goverment and they have no desire to stop living the way that have become custom to.
    I too beleive that everyone that accepts our help should have weekly drug testing and must have signed forms from a business that they were there and tried to get a job.
    Not all, but there are some who will take advantage of the system and they should be weeded out.
    Dems just like giving away the house and think that doing this is good for the soul, and it is good for the soul to help but not when it comes to hurting the people by not getting them back on their feet.
    I dont mind giving any body a hand up but IM not going to keep giving hand outs to people on dont deserve it. Get real people, stop being stupid.

    2010/2012 REAL Change is coming

    January 25, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  20. Carl Justus

    Bauer is an idiot. I will bet he claims to be a Christian and is doing God's will on earth. If feeding those who have lost jobs and in need of food or shelter and we do not try to give them a hand UP, then we have become like wild dogs ourselves.

    Remember this is the guy we elected as our LT. Governor and several state papers advocated that Sanford resign or be impeached and this idiot would be our governor.

    We in South Carolina should do more research on who we elect to be our SO CALLED LEADERS. Bauer could lead a puppy down the street on a leash and he is running for governor, If anyone votes for this guy they must be as heartless as he is.

    January 25, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. Dan Holiday

    Oddly enough, I agree with him...lol. Although I would include "more like a plague." as well.

    January 25, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  22. No Incumbents 2010

    Bauer is just being honest. If you encourage people to be dependent on the government, that is what they will do. If you give them more welfare if they have more children, they will have more children. While not politically correct, Bauer is just stating the facts.

    January 25, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  23. Lilarose in Oregon

    I can't believe this!

    Oh, he is from the South! And South Carolina, which unfortunately is where my gr-gr-gr-gr-gr grandparents lived and died.

    That is alot of "greats." Just know that my people left the South generations ago.

    Thank God.

    January 25, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  24. Anne-Marie

    Wow, again, forever grateful to be a Canadian!

    January 25, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. Joe

    I hope this guy never loses his wealth and fortune, god forbid he understands what someone in poverty has to go through. He might learn something!

    January 25, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
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