Off-color comments made by North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis two and a half years ago are currently resurfacing as his opponent in the Senate race tries to derail his campaign. Tillis told a crowd that the government must “divide and conquer” people on welfare assistance, weeding out those who really need help from those who just made bad decisions.
The speech, caught on video and currently being circulated on YouTube, was delivered in October, 2011 in Asheville, North Carolina, according to Talking Points Memo. Local newspaper the News Observer reported on them on the time, while Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan has seized on to them in an effort to stay Tillis’ attempt to unseat her.
"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 said 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 and Hagan captured the nominations for their respective parties. Analysts expect a heated— and expensive— campaign race to ensue in the coming months.