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. Me

    I beleive that Mr. Bauer is correct and incorrect at the same time. There are people who need assistance, use it when needed, and get off of it as soon as they can afford to do so. There are others who abuse the system and think of it as their right to get something for nothing. This is the way it has been since the inception of assistance programs and I do not see this changing.

    January 25, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. Rex

    Many here are under the false belief that TEMPORARY help is what this is about, people falling on hard times. This is NOT about temporarily helping people out, his comment is about career welfare families, created by government handouts. There is a huge difference. All these programs should be TEMPORARY and we should not reward women on welfare by giving them a raise when they have 2 or 3 more kids.

    January 25, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. Terry in Iowa

    His premise (not his analogy) would hold much more water, if as a civilization we were concerned at all with truly helping our fellowman. It is true that generational welfare is neither good for the recipient nor provider. Unfortunately, we also have a long history in this country of greed, oppression and exploitation. \

    There is a class of citizens in this country, which are convinced of their superiority over others; many born into privilege, others convinced that due to the opportunities provided them it makes it so.

    Generational need is a symptom of a larger problem. To a large extent it is a function of perpetual ignorance and one supported, perpetuated and even cultivated by the “haves”. As a society we have failed to educate the “have not’s”, preferring to hoard our wealth instead of providing the real need, a means to escape the cycle, i.e. EDUCATION.

    January 25, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  4. Canada

    Why do we ignore the facts and embrace the lies,am a black man,also an africa who understand the difference between depency and needy.Mr. Andre Bauer said it right and let all face it and solve the problems instead of blaming the pliticians who said it right.
    Let all mankind fight a clean fight by requesting from their goverment a basic education to obtain some basic job or else,you should be made to work for any handout you get from the goverment

    January 25, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. katiec

    He is the only one that has the nerve to speak out as republicans think, but try to hide. They also feel this way about middle class America, voting against anything to help middle class, veterans, less fortunate and women.
    Granted, our welfare system needs reform. There should be teachings and encouragement for children from first grade on, helping them to realize that there options out there, giving them
    the incentive and opportunity to have goals, understanding the importance of education and, providing examples of success.
    We need to help in these ways, not starve them!!
    The republican party has always been and will always be for big business, sacrificing the American people every step of the way.

    January 25, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. Kevin from Co

    I for one am tired of supporting the lazy class of this country while I'm going to work every day.

    January 25, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. Greg in Virginia

    Doesn't this idiot realize that it's the christian way to take care of and feed to the Poor. Again the Party os NO has spoken, they don't care about people, they only care about how much money is getting feed to them by corrupt special interests.

    January 25, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. Albert K. L.A., CA

    Is he saying his grandmother rejected divine creation and believed people are animals, or is that just what he believs?

    January 25, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. Tim

    There people are not animals, so I resent his analogy. but I do agree in that I do not think public assistance programs should be for a lifetime.

    January 25, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  10. Marshall

    I am a independent that leans a little to the right but, I would be running as fast as I could to distance myself from this guy. Wow!

    January 25, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. carol

    Yes, he could have chosen better wording, but the theory behind his words are so true. Individuals and political figures have been saying this for years, but not in an arena where the media could get ahold of the text.

    Welfare breeds welfare.

    January 25, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. Thomas

    Finally, someone who is not afraid to speak the TRUTH!! He should be elected to our highest office, where currently they are trying to offer more free handouts! If this trend continues for another 2-3 generations, there will be nothing left of this country.

    January 25, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. BJNJ

    Bauer's on target. Handout MAKE people lazy. Government has NO BUSINESS trying to solve social problems. Our government does ONE THING well. Make war. It sucks trying to throw money at problems. Areas where the US Government has failed:

    1. Social ills. It has just created generations of people expecting entitlements.
    2. Price controls (exception-a monopoly). The US became great with capitalism. We don't want any wealth spreading commies in office! Carter failed trying to stabilize prices.
    3. Bail outs-just wait until our children have to deal with the national debt. MONEY is not the solution to all problems.

    Bauer for President!!!!


    January 25, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. Concerned for all of America's children

    The christian thing for the Government to do is to stop feeding, and providing health care to children in foster care, because they may grow up and breed??????????? How can the Republican Party be identified with Christianity in any way?????? Maybe those who agree with Bauer would change their minds if they had been homeless and destitute when they were children, or abused when they were children, and placed in Government care. Children cannot help what their parents do. Would Jesus say do not feed that homeless little girl, because she may grow up and breed?????

    January 25, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. RDS

    Definition of delicious irony: "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."

    Know where the tax-paying families are? NY, NJ, CT, MA, etc. - not South Carolina or any other teabagger-infested state. The fact remains that the southern states for the last 50 years, if not longer, are completely dependent upon the rest of the country to provide for them. For every dollar NY gives to the federal government it receives back 80 cents, compare that to South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, etc. where they receive almost $2 for every $1 they send. Thus, the same teabaggers complaining about "socialism" wouldn't have two nickels to rub together if it weren't for the rest of the country "subsidizing" them. Stop listening to Rush Limbaugh and do your part.

    January 25, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. MB Seattle

    Mr Bauer is the third generation of his family that most of us would say is not highly educated. For his sake it was fortunate his grandmother wasn't into drowning the idiots of the litter.

    January 25, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  17. No Huey in this hunt

    Hypocritical parasite

    January 25, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. A Mom of 4

    It's so nice to see compassion and understanding. It really is.

    We are in the worst recession since the Great Depression. Unemployment is at record levels. Mortgage foreclosures are high every where. I'm only guessing that rent evictions are just as high.

    I am a former welfare mom. I hated being on welfare, but I did what I needed to do in order to feed my children. My children and I were never "stray animals" that needed to be shunned from "proper society". No human should be compared to a stray animal. EVER. That is disgusting.

    Yes, there is welfare fraud. There is fraud everywhere. Wall Street is full of it and no one is saying that they are stray animals who need to be thrown out to the streets. Where's the compassion? Where's humanity? Perhaps the Lt. Gov. needs to look at ways to combat the fraud instead of throwing innocent families out in the cold to starve to death.

    January 25, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. Steph

    Let them starve to death...great Republican plan!

    January 25, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  20. Sondra

    Bauer wasn't politically correct the way he said it but seriously...do we really like paying for people to sit on welfare all their life? It is suppose to be an assitance program to help you get back on your feet...instead it has become a way of life. Which means most likely their children will do the same and the cycle continues. You can't help people by just giving them money and think they are going to try and better themselves...you need to have them on a program that qualifies them to get assistance as well as training for jobs. I think they should also be subjected to drug testing as well...my money should not go to enable them to have a drugs while I pay for their food and gas. I don't have a problem helping people but I do have a problem with people that refuse to help themselves while holding their hand out waiting for someone else to help them.

    January 25, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  21. Sarah

    What a loser and that goes for all Republicans.....this is how they feel about the people of this country.....if the GOP doesn't get a check on the radical, racist, far right wing conservatives, the tea baggers and the Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, Palin bunch.....then I don't care what kind of mistakes this President makes, he will still be President in 2012, cause America will not let these idiots of the GOP get any seats in the Senate or the White House........

    January 25, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. Sandra, New York

    I take issue with comparing human beings in need with stray animals. Very insensitve comparison. But, I do have to agree on the dependency issue.

    January 25, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  23. Lisa P

    Many poor people are hard working but still need "hand-outs" to get by. What does that say about out screwed-up country?

    That's the real "hard truth" that Bauer and his supporters on this list are trying to avoid. Shame on all of you!

    January 25, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  24. Kate

    I suppose all you uninformed think that welfare lasts forever. Sorry – it doesn't. It ends out after 5 years. It was a liberal (Clinton) that put that in.

    January 25, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. Sammie in Valparaiso, IN

    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?

    January 25, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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