A comment last weekend by Attorney General Jon Bruning comparing welfare recipients to raccoons stirred a hornet's nest Tuesday on the Internet.

Speaking in Papillion, the 2012 Republican Senate candidate was talking about environmental regulations when he referred to raccoons pursuing beetles in a jar at a road construction site near Sargent.

"The raccoons figured out the beetles are in the bucket," he said in remarks captured on video by a tracker for the liberal organization American Bridge 21st Century.

"And it's like grapes in a jar. The raccoons, they're not stupid, they're gonna do the easy way if we make it easy for them. Just like welfare recipients all across America. If we don't send them to work, they're gonna take the easy route."

The video was posted on YouTube and the remarks stirred stories and/or criticism in the Huffington Post, the Atlantic Wire, Talking Points Memo, the Blaze and a variety of political blogs.

"It was an inartful statement and one Jon regrets making," Trent Fellers, Bruning's campaign manager, said in an email.

"As attorney general, Jon's been a strong supporter of welfare reform and giving welfare recipients a hand up and not just a handout."

Bruning's remarks came at the Heartland Liberty Fest, a Saturday event co-sponsored by the Libertarian Party, Americans for Prosperity and the Nebraska Republican Party.

Reach Don Walton at 402-473-7248 or at dwalton@journalstar.com.

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