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Nebraska Attorney General Criticized for Comparing Welfare Recipients to Hungry Raccoons

Posted Aug 12, 2011 7:18 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning has issued an apology after comparing welfare recipients to hungry raccoons during a campaign speech.

Bruning is seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. Speaking on Saturday, he told of an effort to protect endangered beetles found during a road construction project, report Fox News and the Omaha World-Herald. Biologists called in to trap the beetles placed dead rats in buckets in an effort to attract the beetles and then relocate them. A local farmer noticed that raccoons found the buckets and ate the beetles.

"The raccoons, they're not stupid," Bruning said. "They're going to do the easy way if we make it easy for them. Just like welfare recipients all across America, if we don't incent them to work, they're going to take the easy route."

Among those criticizing Bruning’s statement was Kate Bolz, a policy analyst with Nebraska Appleseed, a public interest law firm in Lincoln. "It's a misconception that folks who access public assistance aren't working," she told the World-Herald. "It's a requirement for those programs unless someone is disabled or facing a crisis of domestic violence."

Bruning’s campaign manager later said the attorney general supports welfare reform, but he regrets the “inartful statement.”

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