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. Julie from James Island

    As a life-long South Carolinian, I would like to lodge the following observation:

    This "culture of dependency" was initially brought on by the rich white landowners who have forced minorities and poor, non-landowning whites for at least 3 centuries to live in poverty. These "stray animals" have been treated as such for so long that breaking out of the cycle of poverty may seem impossible to them.

    If you want to change the system, level the playing field. Our schools state-wide are not the best, but the ones in poor areas are absolutely heartbreaking. Instead of cutting funds to education, put the money where it can help the most: into future generations. You want to avoid a "socialist" state? Then invest in it, like a good capitalist. The returns will be out of this world.

    I love my state. It's the politicians I can't stand – not that Bauer ever had my vote to begin with. Every single South Carolinian needs to vote out everyone in office: No Incumbents for 2010!

    January 25, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  2. CF

    Human beings are not stray animals.

    All people deserve respect and compassion.

    People who are poor or needy are not that way on purpose or because they enjoy it.

    January 25, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. dude palin

    What God does the gop worship? Keep them poor so you can control them.Sounds just like my Dad growing up in the 30's 40's and 50's.He worked in the coal mines and never got paid cash.The workers had to shop in the company stores.Same old same old in this country.Don't let them breed.Who the hell did Jesus take care of anyway !!!

    January 25, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. Theresa

    Maybe for 1 week Mr. Bauer should live as a homeless person to see how the other side lives. In this society many animals are treated better than humans!

    January 25, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. AEK

    I so wish I would have been surprised when I first read this article and then the comments made by the fine Americans who have contributed to the discussion. Alas, not so much with the surprised aspect. It does appear that many of the socially sensitive of you agreeing with this idiot really should look into remedial reading and writing classes before inflicting your ignorant opinions on the rest of us.

    January 25, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. OldUncleTom

    Now I know why the legislature declined to impeach Sanford... his replacement is EVEN WORSE!

    Still the worst state, year on year, in the entire nation, as it ALWAYS HAS BEEN.

    January 25, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. sujith, NE

    All those who agree with him – Would you have taken the same stand if those words came out of Pres. Obama? Didnt think so.Hypocrites ! Anything to fail the "black" president. huh?

    January 25, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  8. Danny

    At the risk of making an assumption without knowing the facts, I'd bet Mr. Bauer was born into a fairly affluent family and has not done a day's hard work in his life. While I somewhat comprehend the underlying point he's trying to make, it's obvious from his choice of words that he's never gone to bed without a full stomach or a soft bed to lie on and has no clue about the hardships that certain groups of people deal with every day. Apparently he has never been in a position where he needed help with basic necessities. Having been born into a lower income family, attending college, and achieving a comfortable life, I understand both worlds. Let me tell you "those people" are not living a lifestyle that most of us would find enjoyable or acceptable.

    January 25, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  9. AJL

    Joe, the reason poverty has worsened in the past 40 years is due to economic policies (both private sector and government) enacted. With the loss of literally MILLIONS of decent paying jobs to overseas economies to boost the profit bottom line of much of corporate America, UNEMPLOYMENT has added to those living at or below poverty levels. Social programs that offer education or job training for those out of work have been cut drastically (the government part of the issue). When someone loses their job, an advanced society finds a way to take care of its own. Responding specifically to the comments in the article, he made an extremely cold statement. You cannot separate his analogy from what he said. His context when stating "they breed" is comparing those on welfare to animals. The same can be said about any group. Racists and criminals breed, too.

    January 25, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. Right Leaning Independent

    We are creating a culture of dependency but I do not think that I would have expressed in that manner. It seems to me that Politicians just do not think before speaking...

    January 25, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. Steve in Ct

    What ever happened to the "Earn Your Welfare" program suggested decades ago? Too many of those on welfare pushed back so hard it was voted down. Lots of folks would be happy to earn their way but are dragged down by those wanting a free ride. In a sense Baeur has a point, though porly presented. We need to help those wanting to earn their way up. Hopefully when the others see that's the way to dinner the cycle would be broken.

    January 25, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. bscheller

    For all of you with the brilliant ideas to do away with government assistance, educate all these poor people, make them go to work, keep them in a job, and sterilize them – WHO do you think will pay for all of that!? And WHO would deal with an ever increasing homeless problem (lying on the steps of the state capital), an increasing crime rate (more cops needed), and more babies being aborted (healthcare?). Then, everyone would say – gosh, why doesn't the government DO something about this! Are you also for the government doing away with social security – you wouldn't have to pay into it, but WHERE would you be if you were disabled and couldn't work – or gasp – got too old to work, but then you wouldn't have any income at all? Government assistance is still designed for the greater good – not that is isn't without issues. I guarantee if you were down to your last dime and had nothing left, you'd be eager to turn to the government for help – and would be darn glad there were agencies supported by the government to give you food and shelter. Basic needs people...

    January 25, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. Richard

    Everyone is overreacting. The guy probably just likes hearing his name on Keith Olbermann as today's "Worst Person in the World." Rush must have asked him to say this as a favor to help him get the day off.

    January 25, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  14. JLM

    S.C. seems to a have a stock pile of idiot Republicans.

    January 25, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. Shmeckell

    It doesn’t matter how good you point is, you will never gain support with that type of delivery. You need to address the fact that you are referring to life long dependents and not the short term ones in-between jobs, you also might want to think about not referring to people as strays. Drug testing is a good idea, consoling to prepare for the workforce is also a good idea. Your delivery is horrible, how did you end up in politics.

    January 25, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  16. James Welcomer

    Here's an example of a Republican who would take away the safety net for the poor, but never and I mean never think of stopping the fortune 500, corporate welfare.

    January 25, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  17. republicans stand for greed and ignorance

    lila January 25th, 2010 11:57 am ET

    Brian, you must live in one of the northern states. Come to South Carolina and help us support these "Americans". Believe me, they will love a sucker like you!

    I thought the south was the "bible belt". Do unto others, and all that crap. Hypocrite
    Why don't you round them up and put them in cages? Then you can euthanize them when someone doesn't come claim them in 30 days?
    It is really a stretch for some of you to call yourselves human.

    January 25, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  18. Cosmo

    "Yes, I believe government is 'breeding a culture of dependency'..."

    Hey Andre, does that include AIG, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America,
    GM, Chrysler, and the rest of the corporate welfare crowd that we taxpayers have kept afloat so they can give themselves huge bonuses and continue to breed? I am waiting to hear the The GOP answer?

    January 25, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  19. Will

    So should we euthanize them?

    January 25, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  20. Travis In Colorado

    I agree with the man. I have no problem with helping people out, but it's the people who live, not survive on it, that make me mad. And then they teach their kids to do the same thing. We've created entire generations of people who live, not survive off of welfare. They are lazy, dirty, selfish and they keep expecting more of the same. In fact, I would be in favor of people on welfare to submit to drug testing. And, I would even be in favor of expecting people to reimburse the state for any welfare they have received. Dock their pay checks, if they ever get a job.

    January 25, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  21. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Politically incorrect? Yes. Factual? Yes. If all welfare checks ended tomorrow, 95% of those collecting the checks would figure out they needed to get jobs, even burger flipping jobs, or starve. Of course they would then be competing with all the illegals who have those jobs now, and can't collect welfare. Although the left is working on that even as we speak with 'immigration reform'.

    January 25, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  22. Ready for 2012

    Let's see if CNN will post my comment this time

    The truth shall set you free. This politician chose to ignore PC and stood up and told the truth.

    January 25, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  23. K in fl

    If the republicans didn't support the poor and uneducated they wouldn't have a "base". Careful where your stepping there Bauer. If you lose them you won't have anyone to step on to elevate your way to the golden palace.

    January 25, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  24. Texas Doc

    I find it shocking that people in office can say crap like that and be shocked when called on it. Republicans are racists and they hate America and democracy. This is why the GOP is in the sitaution that they are in. Go have your little tea parties and leave the governing to the grown ups. If y'all hate the government so much quit trying to get elected and go away.

    January 25, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  25. jjj

    wow...all I can say is wow. Can not believe someone can say something like that and see nothing wrong with it.

    January 25, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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