South Carolina’s lieutenant governor Andre Bauer, a Republican, has been heavily criticized for his remarks in which he compared welfare recipients to stray animals and called on the state to stop providing welfare services to them.
At a town hall meeting last week, Bauer said, “My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. 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.” (Reported by Greenville News)
Democratic State Senator Vincent Sheheen has called the remarks "immoral," and said he felt "disgusted."
"They show an unbelievable lack of compassion toward the unemployed workers in our state who are hurting during these hard times," Sheheen stated.
As the criticism mounted, the lieutenant governor took to the airwaves to salvage his image. In an interview with CNN, he stated that he regretted his comments, saying "I wish I had used a different metaphor."
However, Bauer went on to say that he would like to see "the culture of dependency" created by government assistance come to an end, as it takes away the incentive to be responsible.
"If some of these people who are currently on welfare were put to work you wouldn’t have an immigration problem," he said, quoted by the news source. "The welfare system is so entrenched that nobody wants to do manual labor jobs."
Bauer is running for governor to replace the incumbent Mark Sanford who has been involved in a sex scandal.