North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-NC), the frontrunner in the North Carolina GOP Senate primary, told a crowd two and half years ago that we must “divide and conquer” people on government assistance. Tillis proposed pitting those who are legitimately in need against those who made bad choices.
Tillis made the comments in October 2011 in Asheville, North Carolina. They were reported by local press at the time and are being circulated now by the campaign of Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) whom Tillis is vying to unseat. They were highlighted on MSNBC”s Hardball Monday.
“What we have to do is find a way to divide and conquer the people who are on assistance,” Tillis said. “We have to show respect for that woman who has cerebral palsy and had no choice, in her condition, that needs help and that we should help. And we need to get those folks to look down at these people who choose to get into a condition that makes them dependent on the government and say at some point, ‘You’re on your own. We may end up taking care of those babies, but we’re not going to take care of you.’ And we’ve got to start having that serious discussion.”
Tillis went on to say that discussion wouldn’t happen until at least 2013.
“It won’t happen next year. Wrong time, ‘cause it’s going to be politically charged,” Tillis said. “One of the reasons why I may never run for another elected office is that some of these things may just get me railroaded out of town. But in 2013, I honestly believe that we have to do that.”
Tillis’s comments were clipped by the North Carolina Justice Center’s Health Access Coalition.
The Hagan campaign likened Tillis’s comments to Mitt Romney’s damaging 47 percent comment or then-Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) comment on rape that sunk his 2012 Senate campaign.
Watch Tillis below: