Politicians on right, left respond to Bauer's controversial comparison - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Politicians on right, left respond to Bauer's controversial comparison

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Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer

By Jack Kuenzie - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Days after Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer's remark comparing the poor to stray animals, politicians on the right and left are responding.

At a town hall meeting in Fountain Inn on Friday, Bauer said poor parents of students who eat free or reduced-price meals in school cafeterias should be required to attend parent-teacher conferences, or the students should go without.

"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," Bauer said, according to the Greenville News. "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."

Bauer says many political leaders don't have the courage to say what he said.
    
"I hope that whoever the next governor of this state is has enough backbone to take on these tough issues," Bauer said. "It's easy to pass them on, it's easy not to touch them because they become sensitive."

But Bauer admitted he maybe should not have used the words "stray animals" to draw a comparison with people who depend on government for food and shelter.

"There was no way that I was trying to tie animals to people," he claimed. "But what I was trying to talk about is a dependency culture."

South Carolina Republican Party Chairwoman Karen Floyd called the statement "hurtful," but says she recognizes what he was trying to say.

"I understand the frustration and the sentiment -- shared by many across our state -- that between bailouts and entitlement spending, we are moving increasingly toward a culture where it is acceptable to take more away from society than one contributes to it," said Floyd.

Floyd says an apology is up to Bauer, calling the incident a lesson for everyone to choose words more carefully.

Fellow gubernatorial candidate and Democrat Dwight Drake attacked Bauer's choice in metaphor.

"I condemn Bauer's attack on hungry children because their parents don't have a job," said Drake in a statement. "During his time as Lt. Governor, the state's unemployment has doubled and is now one of the highest in the nation. This is no time to attack children to pick up a few votes."

Attorney General Henry McMaster, who is also running for governor, said Bauer chose his words poorly.

"However, I think all conservatives share his concern about the huge debt which entitlement programs are placing on future generations," continued McMaster. "The lieutenant governor has now clarified his position. I hope Democrats will now stop their cynical effort to inflame passions and exploit the issue for political gain."

But USC political expert Bob Oldendick says there's also an upside for the lieutenant governor.

"He gave the same speech probably last week, some other place without the kind of metaphor that he used, and we didn't cover it," said Oldendick. "So that in terms of jump-starting the campaign, getting people to talk about it, focus on Andre Bauer, if that was the intent, it's done it for this news cycle."

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