January 25th, 2010
05:32 PM ET
13 years ago

South Carolina Republican regrets 'stray animal' metaphor

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/25/art.bauercruise.bauer.jpg caption="South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer poses with actor Tom Cruise at a NASCAR race last year."](CNN) - South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, under fire for drawing a comparison between needy people and "stray animals," said Monday that he regrets his choice of words.

In a phone interview with CNN, Bauer, a Republican candidate for governor, said, "I wish I had used a different metaphor." Bauer told an audience Friday that people receiving government assistance are like "stray animals" because "they breed" and "don't know any better."

"I never intended to tie people to animals," he said, before opting for a kinder animal metaphor: "If you have a cat, if you take it in your house and feed it and love it, what happens when you go out of town?"

Noting that he has raised money for a group that protects animals, Bauer also said he is "not against animals."

But Bauer said he is committed to finding ways to end the "culture of dependency" created by government assistance. He suggested that people on welfare undergo drug testing or be mandated to attend parent-teacher conferences. Efforts at self-improvement, such as job-training or earning a high school equivalency degree, should be rewarded.

Otherwise, he argued, people will just sit at home waiting for a government check. He called that a "systemic problem."

"If some of these people who are currently on welfare were put to work you wouldn't have an immigration problem," he said. "The welfare system is so entrenched that nobody wants to do manual labor jobs."

Asked about criticism from his political opponents, Bauer argued that many voters in South Carolina agree with him. He said he is only telling hard truths that have been swept under the rug for decades and called for a "mature discussion" about welfare in South Carolina. He said he has spoken about the issue for months, and not once has a voter objected.

"That's part of being a leader," he said. "Politicians stand up and give eloquent speeches that make you feel good, but they don't do anything about it." Referencing President Obama, Bauer said: "That's why we have some of the problems we have in this country today."

Bauer has also been rumored to have considered switching races to run for Congress in South Carolina's first congressional district, a seat being vacated by Rep. Henry Brown. "I am not running for Henry Brown's seat," he said.

Filed under: Andre Bauer • Popular Posts • South Carolina
soundoff (573 Responses)

    This is repulsive. After serving 20 YEARS in the U.S. Air Force and retiring with the 2nd-highest NCO rank, my father temporarily couldn't find a civilian job (NH 1976). My siblings & I participated in the "free lunch" program for a portion of the school year. Eventually we moved to FL, my Dad found work, and that period became a memory. "Not against animals." How dare he, this arrogant SOB. My boyfriend and I have vacationed in Charleston twice in the past 2 years (08 & 09). Unless this cretin issues a REAL apology for his remarks, I will never vacation ANYWHERE in SC again. Ever.

    January 25, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. Travis

    Oh no, the dems are playing victim card again. Someone take care of me. ItS not my fault I have 4 kids, no education, no income. Can't someone more motivated and more responsible help me.

    January 25, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. j-Dub

    That should be....Hey Massachusians

    January 25, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. OH IO

    THE TRUTH HURTS!! Obama voters are the ones on Welfare!

    January 25, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. Jon

    Many things would fix the constant drain on the economy and society that is welfare. The people who genuinely need it should get it, and regularly attend job fairs and interviews and have drug tests. There should be a temporary sterilization available that is mandatory to anyone on government assistance. You should NOT be having more children if you cannot afford to take care of yourself. We have become a nation of lazy, fat, hand out for freebies people in the last 20 years or so and it is pathetic. Get off your butt and get a job, stop having babies you can't afford and won't raise right and get off the drugs and you will see the economy turn around, illegal immigration decrease, crime decrease and many other issues will self correct. Wake up people......just because he said it in a non PC way does not make him wrong.

    January 25, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. VernisRobertson

    This is why we don't need Republicans in office, I will like to see thier face one day when they fall on hard times. See perfect example we don't need to put people with money in power , why because they don't care about the middle class.

    January 25, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  7. Shmeckell

    HA HA HA, If you wanted to call him a screwball for his choice of words just say it CNN, you dont have to post a picture of him with tom cruise to prove your point, we got it, he's a screwball.

    January 25, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. sameoldyellowdog

    Sounds like a good pro-choice argument to me....:-)

    January 25, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. Jackie from Florida

    I wonder how many people would be off government assistance if South Carolina hadn't lost all it's manufacturing jobs to other countries. Perhaps he should reconsider the conservative belief that as long as banks and big business are making money all is good.

    January 25, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. Brook E. Mantia

    Yeah, well, I'd call him a pig - but I wouldn't want to disparage pigs.

    January 25, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. Stephanie

    "If some of these people who are currently on welfare were put to work you wouldn't have an immigration problem," he said. "The welfare system is so entrenched that nobody wants to do manual labor jobs."

    The ignorance of this man is astounding. My father's roofing business was put OUT of business by the cheap mexican labor market. The immigration problem is a problem because it takes jobs from the poor! Not because the poor are too lazy to do them! Why pay a poor american minimum wage to do a job when a mexican will do it for pennies? Anybody who supports this fool needs to put aside their holier than thou attitude and have some common sense and compassion.

    January 25, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. Jason

    Ii thought that is why we have government programs. To take care of people that can't take care of themselves or their children. I think calling them "pets" is derogatory and demeaning. This just shows the ignorance of the Republi"can't" party. We as democrats have repeatedly shown the ability to take care of communities, especially the black community, because they can't take care of themselves. He needs to walk a mile in someone else's shoes.

    January 25, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  13. TomC

    This is nothing more that another shady South Carolina politician trying to divert attention from his states unemployment rate which is among the highest in the nation. By scapegoating welfare recipient as the cause of illegal immigration (and therefore causing high unemployment), he draws attention away from his states failure to create jobs that would have kept people on the payroll and off of the government dole. The state ranks poorly in education so they are not preparing people for their future. Who is really to blame here?

    January 25, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  14. Travis

    Childrens story

    Rep "Little engine that could"
    Dem "Little engine that can't"

    January 25, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. Art in Chicago

    Vietnamvet -I'm curious, did you pay for your college with the GI Bill? Do you get healthcare thru the VA? Did your mortgage come through the VA? Guess what sport, that is ENTITLEMENT.

    January 25, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    I'm sad to say but this is typical of the Republican philosophy!

    January 25, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. Chad

    The party of "Christians" shows us their true colors...bravo!

    January 25, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. VernisRobertson

    To DAR or whatever you wanna be called, i can think of plenty names. The Tea Baggers are why this country is suffering like is today , Just what til you fall on hard times DAR . By the way the how much money did Dick Chaney rap this country doing the oil crisis .Billions , so before you start calling somebody look at your own party idiot .

    January 25, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  19. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    In S.C., if you starve 100 dogs you go to jail. If you think it is OK for humans, you can be Lt. Gov.

    January 25, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  20. Steve

    He should have restricted his comments to a Negro Dialect or the light color of skin and all the libs would have had nothing to complain about. Liberals are douche bags.

    January 25, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  21. meidy

    The metaphor was unfortunate but the premise is pretty accurate. I tutor / mentor a young boy whose mom tells the children to eat hearty at their tax-payer funded breakfast and lunch at school because they aren't fed dinner. She gets food stamps, buys enough food for herself and then has the kids go out selling the rest of the stamps so she can use the money to buy other stuff. She hasn't worked in over 24 months....and she's not trying....at all. A special case? I doubt it........

    January 25, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  22. bellaluna1123

    Those kinds of people kill me! Just lump everyone who receives any government assistance into the "lazy pile". Nevermind your active duty families who don't receive enough income to take care of their families while Mom/Dad are gone. Nevermind the people who may have been supporting themesleves until a failed economic plan ruined their livelihood,not that family needs assistance to bsaically survive while they search month after month for a job that pays more thant $6/hr. I guess grandma whose pension was cancelled is also a lazy bum too, nevermind the 30+ years she worked for our American companies that folded. All bums who arent worthy of any compassion at all. I dont hate Republicans because I'm loyal to the Dems. I simply have a soul!

    January 25, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  23. Patricia

    When will the hatred stop. You cannot campare this man with an animal. Animals are more human this. you cannot even call him human. If this is what the people of south Carolina are voting for then shame on them.

    This less than an animal should ot even speak President Obama's name.

    January 25, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  24. Dumbo Dar-Dar

    Deflect much? Can [R]s keep to the subject at hand? One of their elected leaders has made a comment that highlites their predjuice and stupidty, and all they can do is complain about Obama. Man those GOP panties are still riding high.....hey baby, REAL CHANGE IS HERE!

    January 25, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    I'm betting, even in South Carolina, with a white hood and everything, that this guy couldn't get elected dog catcher.

    January 25, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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