Forget running against President Barack Obama. Republican Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer wants to make the GOP's June 8 primary for governor a referendum on the state's poor.
Bauer and his supporters say his recent comments - comparing the poor to "stray animals" in January and calling some "flat-out lazy" last month - simply express his deeply held convictions about the value of hard work.
His critics, however, say Bauer is running a campaign that Lee Atwater - the legendary, divisive S.C. Republican operative - would appreciate.
Their concern? Bauer is running in the Republican primary, an overwhelmingly white affair, and, in South Carolina's political discourse, "poor" is often code for "black." So by ripping the poor, critics say, Bauer really is cheer-leading for minority bashing.
Bauer's comments have some fuming. Fortunately for Bauer, most are Democrats.