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. CF

    Any one of you could fall on hard times today or tomorrow and need to turn to "government handouts" just to survive. And then the rest of us will be paying for YOUR "lazy butt." Trust me. I've been there.
    But the system exists so that we all can take advantage of it when we need it. We all pay in when we can, we all reap the benefits when we have to. And if you never find yourself in that unfortunate situation, count your blessings; you still have it better than the "lazy" people you are "supporting."

    This Republican mindset is disgusting and disturbing. Remember a year or two ago when they changed the definition of "hunger" so they could claim there was no more hunger in American? Next thing you know, the GOP will want to round up and euthanize all the poor, homeless, needy and downtrodden.

    GOP: The party of the rich and holy that is too good to recognize the unclean.

    January 25, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  2. Keith in Austin

    Although a crude comparison, the fact is that welfare has created generations of government-dependant Americans!

    People capable of working that choose not must be held accountible.

    "Give a man a fish and you'll feed him for a day. TEACH him to fish and he will eat for a lifetime" The time has come to teach that there are no more free rides unless you are completely incapable of working or a ward of the State due to age, disability etc.

    January 25, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  3. sunshine

    This is the POOREST excuse for an American that I have ever heard of, he's a total and complete jerk.

    January 25, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. Dave, the Truthteller

    Obviously, there are spoiled idiots in both parties. While I totally support the idea of teaching a man to fish versus just giving away the fish, this comment has no place in a Christian's discussion. It sounds more like the Nazi-like philosophy that founded Planned Parenthood. Look it up folks.

    January 25, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  5. Stop the Nonsense

    There you have it! Republicans think the Democrats waste money and the solution is starvation to get people back on their feet.
    It's been a long time since such a clear distinction has been made of the parties.

    January 25, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. Lorna

    I am sure he thinks he's a Christian....the kind who conveniently forget the teachings of Jesus unless they can twist it to serve their own vile needs. Jesus taught whoever makes a good living and accumulates money should share it with the least of their bretheren. Jesus hung out with the very people this Republican reprobate is dissing. Jesus...quite honestly...would be considered a sociaist! HA! You gotta' love it!

    January 25, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Well, I can see why he says that. I have to say that anyone who thinks this way needs to reexamine the situation. There are plenty of charitable organizations that do good works, but they can't do everything because they aren't large enough and don't get enough money and volunteers. Corporate American won't do it if they can't make money off it. That leaves it to the government to support people that can't help themselves based on various reasons; physical or mental health issues, lack of education, no support from anyone else. This is a moral issue - are we going to let the poor and rejected of society be left out there because they can't do it on their own? That sounds heartless.

    January 25, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. Carmelle

    Although I'm a lib...I would agree with the underlying point he is making.


    1) Why does the Republican party protects the banks, the big oil, the insurance companies...when they are the one who steal from tax payers more than the poors ever could.

    2) Why do republican talk like that? They always have to claim a higher ground for themselves bc they are "Christians" and have "values".

    3) It's easy to blame assistance programs...will you stand with the middle class so they can stand on their feet or are you going to continue making the rich richer?

    January 25, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. 8 Years of King George II and now the Landed Gentry Scream “Let Them Eat Cake” to the Unemployed and Uninsured Serfs!

    WOW, what "christian values" from this con.


    If you are poor in America, let you starve to death.

    Nice, republiklans, this is great display of your "family values" and NOT one of you have repudiated this "christian".

    What is next from you NAZI's, stations where newborn welfare babies can be put to sleep?

    And you call yourselves "pro-life".

    January 25, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  10. Matt

    Thank you for saying what so many of us are thinking! My family was neither poor nor rich, but I was the primary payer for myself to get through college, pursued an engineering degree because I knew it would open doors to a better life, and now have a job where I almost make as much as my parents do at 50 (I'm 25). I look at my taxes and how much is taken out, and see poor people begging me for money on the street. How much of my own, hard-earned money am I supposed to give to get someone like this off the street? If I give a bum money, he spends it on liquor, drugs, or fast food–never a wash to clean up and look for a job. I've been in line at grocery stores where someone was trying to buy candy with food stamps. Some of the poorest people in this country can afford cable TV, but still get food stamps. It is a joke, and I am sick of paying for them. If these people don't have family members or close friends that are willing to help them, I think it says a lot about that persons' character. Additionally, if you can't afford to take care of yourself, QUIT HAVING KIDS! We give in and say, "Okay, well I won't help the parent, but I'll help the kid." What happens? The person thinks, "Oh, this is easy, I don't have to pay for my kids." So they have more. And more. And we keeping handing out more money. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    January 25, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  11. Sue

    Without his parents' "breeding" this guy wouldn't even exist! Typical talk of the ignorant and prejudiced.

    January 25, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. Barbara Independent in NY

    It's not surprising that someone from the state that gave us Mark Sanford, Joe Wilson and Jim DeMint would consider people in need to be "stray animals". The really sad thing is that most of these people consider themselves to be "religious". Shame!

    January 25, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  13. CHIPS

    Maybe this Lt. Gov. can stop taking our tax dollars to fund his salary, which mount to welfare for his salary. Are not the little people supporting and feed you?

    January 25, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. Russ

    Appalling. We heard that kind of talk in the medical wards at Auchwitz.

    January 25, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. paul

    FUNNY very similar in nature to Reid's comments about Obama. 100% truth but NOT something you say out loud. Sadly, he's a republican instead of a democrat (who would have got off clean as a whistle)

    January 25, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. NYCitizen

    Is he referring to getting rid of "bad seed" ?

    January 25, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  17. Sam

    This is sick. you know how much extra money a woman on welfare gets if she has another child? About $84 a month. That's right, $84 a month. YOU try raising a kid on $84 a month. That's less than $1000 a year. Oh yeah, I'm SO SURE women are lining just to have more babies to feed for that extra $84 a month.

    In state after state after state where they ended welfare increases for new children, you know what happened? The welfare pregnancy rate DIDN'T CHANGE! Women don't have kids just to get more money, it's a LIE perpetrated by the right as part of their war on the poor!

    And you know what happened to the poverty rate in states where welfare was time-limited? It GOT WORSE! That's right, WORSE! Why? Because 80+% of people on welfare CAN NOT WORK! It's not that they won't work, it's that they can't. Yes, we can find plenty of stores of the a–holes who abuse the system, but they're the MINORITY. Welfare SAVES LIVES, PREVENTS POVERTY, and makes us all BETTER PEOPLE.

    But God forbid you give up a couple dollars of your "hard-earned" money to help people who CAN'T help themselves. I'm sure Jesus would be just as upset about it as you are....

    January 25, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  18. citizen AND BELIEVER


    January 25, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. Charles

    There are a lot of things about what he said that I disagree. But the one thing I would like to see is people on public assistance forced to attend some sort of jobs program, or even work as lunch time monitors at our public schools, a way of giving somethig back.

    January 25, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. banderson

    Only in South Carolina can you have such a group of racist SOBs.

    January 25, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. bts

    I am so, so, so, glad that Obama was elected President! People are so disgusted with the fact that a Black man is president, that they FINALLY dropped the facade, and are pouring out all their pent up hatred and venom for others. They have been hiding behind this "christian" facade for so long, that they themselves really didn't know their true selves. But God did and He's showing them what He's been seeing all along! So people look hard ...and CHOOSE whom you will serve.

    January 25, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. Joe in PA

    WOW don't feed the poor as they are likely to reproduce. For once a real salt of the earth republican telling the truth and not masquerading under some level of lies. God Bless you sir and may you and your family always remain prosperous, healthy and racist. You are clearly the leadership this country needs. I hope you win the governors race there, as this could position you for the presidency. You are truly a republican's republican. America looks forward to more of your kind in leadership positions.

    January 25, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. Clint

    I guess that the next step in the"thought process" of this "person" is that all people deemed to be "stray animals" (and that term may be expanded to include all those who do not pass the GOP wingnut litmus test) should be sterilized and/or euthanized for the good of the country.
    May God help us.

    January 25, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  24. Kate

    There's more than a few people here who don't bother to do the least bit of homework. You need to read the Grapes of Wrath (don't bother to see the movie, it prettifies the situation). This book shows what happened when we didn't have social programs and the country started to stratify in the powerful and the powerless. You don't create a better social situation by starving your poor. You simply hand power to someone else who will start feeding them and creating a power base. This is how the communists took over Russia and how terrorists groups gain power in the middle east. It's all there if you bother to read history and actually think about it for a minute or two. Apparently that's too much to ask.

    January 25, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  25. Miri

    I'm shocked and saddened by how many of you agree with this selfish and insensitive man. Would you have the children just starve to death? You are the same people who call yourself pro life – you only seem to care when they are in the womb not after they are born. Are you really proposing let all these children starve out in the streets?? That really doesn't seem very christian!

    January 25, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
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