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. kmr, WA State

    What do you expect from a Republican from South Carolina? It just shows how IGNORANT they are in the deep south.

    January 25, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  2. Donkey Party

    Based on the hatred for American human beings by the Right-wingers, one would think THEY would be the ones fighting FOR abortions. As a disbaled 40-something year old US Navy veteran, I have never seen in all my years such hate and contempt for the middle and lower class from the greedy, racist, inbred, cowardly, sissy GOPPERS / Conservatives / Tea-baggers. May you and your brain-dead followers all find a nice cozy place in Hell where you can rot for eternity. Amen!

    January 25, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. K Mac

    Interesting comments... It isn't just "Shaquita" that gets to load up on junk food with 8 kids in tow. It's Kelly, Amber and Julie too! Let's not start with the race issue by way of ethnic names. The fact of the matter is that people of all races have become dependent upon the welfare system.

    I'm married with no children and my husband and I are gainfully employed. I too take issue with individuals that load up at the grocery store and pull out a Lone Star card for payment. I live in Texas by the way.

    I disagree with the Lt. Gov. choice of words. Sometimes people like him have to resort to drawing such comparisons because they lack the ability to have an intelligent conversation about the true issue.

    I believe the welfare system should be overhauled completely. People shouldn't be able to live off it for generations. The longest a person should be able to stay on welfare should be 4 years. That's long enough to get a four-year degree. They should also be required to work/volunteer if they are not attending school or some type of job training program in order to receive welfare benefits. Places they could volunteer are neighborhood school, daycares, hospitals, nursing homes, soup kitchens, churches, and shelters etcs. I don't care if they pick up paper in the streets all day, as long as they are not sitting at home on Easy Street collecting my tax dollars. We could have some really clean cities.

    It isn’t fair to the rest of us that get up and go to work everyday to allow this to continue. I understand that people fall on hard times and may need a little help, but this help should not last for 18 plus years or until a person has raise all of their children and then start with the grand kids. Oh and yes, the Bible does say that the poor will always be among you, however I do not believe it said the poor will always be poor.

    There’s an intelligent way to have this discussion without the name-calling and comments about breeding.

    Thanks for reading my post.

    January 25, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. scott winter haven

    .....But did he use a Teleprompter? Please somebody steal Obama's teleprompter-it is costing us Trillions!

    January 25, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. william

    Great another Confederate God Fearing State we hear from. This is why they want to get rid of all entitlement programs. Animals right.

    January 25, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. mario ca

    Poverty came with Bush

    January 25, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Thank you SC for so succintly stating the GOP's position and summarizing their belief system. If you don't get it by now, you never will. This guy is toast. And most amusing of all will be the idiots posting here who support his position and disgusting sentiment because they think the MA special election was an endorsement of such hot garbage. You'll find out how mistaken you are soon enough GOPers.

    "On the other hand, how come poverty has worsened in the past 40 years"

    The errant belief in trickle-down economics and the deregulatory farce based on the premise of "free market capitalism," i.e., that markets and industries are magically capable of regulating and fixing themselves despite the unfettered power giant corporations wield through their control of resources and manipulation of the information available to the public. Hint: only thing that's trickled-down in the past 30 years is the stupid.

    January 25, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  8. gatormom7

    What is with the IQ level in South Carolina? Frist, the govenor, then Wilson in the Senate and now the Lt. Governor. Sounds like they need to get a government program going in South Carolina called "GET AN EDUCATION" and this bozo should be the first in line.

    January 25, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  9. Michael

    This from a guy whose family is completely dependent upon government funds for support. The government pays his salary and all of his expenses.

    January 25, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. ken

    I work hard for my money and I'm tired of my earnings going to all the social programs. Every year my standard of living goes down because I have more money deducted from my check in taxes and fees to support the free loaders. Granted some people fall on hard times but they usually take control and get back on there feet with a little help, but the majority here want a free ride. Teach them to take care of themselves. I live in a city where 63 % of the population is on some form of welfare. Its generational, the idea of living off the earnings of others is passed from parent to child. The company I work for had an opening for someone with a high school diploma. There wasn't one repsonse to the ad in the local paper. We ended up finding someone out of state. These people don't want to work when the can get everything for free.

    January 25, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. Larry S

    This whole article and the responses are a simple thing of 'these are the facts' . . . you might not like someone stating it and commenting about him for saying it, but again . . . facts are facts. If you can't stand the heat . . . see the rest of the comment from Harry Truman.

    January 25, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. Honest AB

    Well this is definitely not what Jesus would have said, but I do believe we have handicapped many with our free welfare system. I know that there are many out there who rightly deserve the assistance, because I'm sure they worked and paid their tax dollars into the system before being layed off. But to those who are being hateful, I have a word for you. Do not judge a man lest you be judged and found guilty of the same judgement. Also, know that with whatever measure of judgement you judge a person with, it will be measured back to you. And don't forget you are not untouchable, you too can fall to the same situation.


    January 25, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    you know the sad shame of this if this guy was if he was charge people will starve a igree to a point bad thing to say as a political figure but i also believe he grew up pretty good

    January 25, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  14. Mack

    It's about time someone has taken the spotlight off of the the corrupt and greedy politicians that are in bed with the special interests and corporations. Let's blame the poor for the country's problems. The poor are living it up on a couple hundred dollars a month and get to live with rats and roaches. Meanwhile the rescued billionaire bankers are enjoying their record bonuses in their mansions. Maybe the poor can work as indentured servants for the wealthy as a way to pay back the hundreds of dollars that they've stolen from the country? Seems like South Carolina would be the perfect place to implement this type of policy being that it was the heart of the Confederacy that fought bravely for the continuation of slavery.

    January 25, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  15. Ron in California

    Though it was a bad metaphor...you didn't focus on his point. Welfare makes people dependent and keeps them poor. The only way to escape poverty is education and hard work. I came from a poor background but chose to get out by education and work. I am not a wizard, anyone can do it.

    January 25, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    And GOPers will say this with a straight face despite their trickle-down daydream reaulting in 30 years of average middle class salaries failing to compete with inflation...all while the top 1% of income earners grew their share of the total national income from 10% in 1989 to 24% in 2004. That's right, 1% earning approximately one-quarter of all the income while the middle-class didn't get a raise. Getting the picture?

    January 25, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  17. sara

    I am BAFFLED...will some of the Bauer supporters please tell me what you mean when you say..."Socialism, and Why do You expect something from the government? Who are YOU speaking about, and since "Socialism" is a very old word, why is it applied to the President and the Poor of this country? Waiting. Then I will tell you what is my opinion

    January 25, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. Nellie Bly

    What he didn't finish saying is that they "breed future voters who will probably vote me out for my narrow-minded, cruel thinking."

    January 25, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  19. AP in Illinois

    BJNJ January 25th, 2010 12:43 pm ET – Bauer's on target. Handout MAKE people lazy. Government has NO BUSINESS trying to solve social problems.

    You are so hypocritically right. You forgot to mention the exceptions...abortion, gays in the military, abstinence education, creationism in schools. I could go on...

    January 25, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  20. Bob of Lompoc

    This guy trying out for the Limbaugh Team? Uh, this is news? Is there anyone who doesn't already know that the lowest form of life on Earth is the Southern White Male who has it made? I believe all Republicans think this way. I'm not shocked nor amazed. The only people more stupid than this guy are the South Carolinians who elected him. But then, that's not news either.

    January 25, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  21. Luci The Light

    Turn the working class against the poor and they wont pay attention to the rich who are screwing them over. The people who are going to work everyday at a job they hate are making a select few rich while they are barely getting by. Instead of complaining about low wages and unfair workplace rules, the rich want you to blame the poor. As they write off every lunch and golf outing as a business expense, you are paying your fair share of taxes. Maybe one day you will make 10,000,000 dollars a year or maybe you will lose your job and need food stamps. Blame and complain about the group you dont want to be in.

    January 25, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  22. Sam

    And what happens when you feed or give handouts to "stray" farmers and farmers who cannot make a profit without government subsidy? Do they breed and multiply too? Or this idiot's granmother never touched on that subject?

    January 25, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  23. Donkey Party

    Bauer's statement is very true. True in that it reflects the way the Right-wing views the less fortunate. And what a walking contradiction this piece of crap is. He wants the poor to help themselves, but he doesn't want to give these people an equal opportunity. A bullet in the head is too decent of an ending for this loser. Personally, I would love to see some divine intervention, and watch Bauer get eaten by a pack of stray animals.

    January 25, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  24. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Tell it to the poor, homeless, hungry children in this World. Tell them they are no more than stray animals. Bauer isn't fit to serve any human being and should be ousted from humanity.

    January 25, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. Rod

    This man is truly abhorrent.

    January 25, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
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