Corporate Legend Lou Pritchett Pens Open Letter to President Obama

Published June 19, 2009

| FoxNews.com

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," June 18, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Former President Bush defending capitalism and taking a swipe at plans for government-run health care last night.

While he didn't take aim directly at President Obama, my next guest is. You see, Lou Pritchett is a former longtime executive a Procter & Gamble, and recently penned an open letter to the president. In it, he says that the president scares him.

Lou, you went on to say a lot of other stuff. You said that: "You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll." And then it gets worse.

You're — you're ready for bear.

(LAUGHTER)

LOU PRITCHETT, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT, PROCTER & GAMBLE: Neil, thank you very much.

Let me — in your introduction, you said something about corporate legend. Let me tell you, I'm not so sure about that. But I know one thing, that I am not a political activist. In fact, my only political activity in my entire life has been voting in presidential and congressional elections, and since I was 21 years old.

Video: Watch Neil's interview with Lou Pritchett

I'm not even a student of politics.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: All right, you might not be, but you came down hard on the president on a lot of this stuff he's trying to do. Why?

PRITCHETT: Well, I will tell you, it's because — he frightens me because of all of the sudden change with what I have seen — I feel he's not getting a lot of input from a lot of people.

This seems to be a slam-dunk kind of operation: I have got a good idea. Here it is. We will do it. I have got another good idea. Here it is. We will do it. I have got another good idea. We will do that also.

You know, I have spent a lot of time in the sales business. And, as a salesman, you always are trying to read what your customer or your supplier is really about, what they are thinking, what they are doing. And you want to be on your toes to make sure that you are prepared or that you're not taken.

And when I started hearing all these words during the campaign about hope and — it really began to upset me. And then I began to see in the first 100 days that he was doing things that, in my judgment, were things that I totally disagree with.

CAVUTO: All right, but not only disagree, but down to this character. You also say: "You scare me because you lack humility and class and always blame others."

PRITCHETT: Yes.

CAVUTO: Do you think he is still doing that?

PRITCHETT: Well, every time I hear him say something to the effect that this is the mess that George Bush left us, the thing that — that makes my spine tingle is the fact that that is not a classy thing to say for the president of the United States.

I mean, sure, maybe we inherited some problems from Bush, but we have also got to remember what Bush did during those eight years when he became focused against letting anybody come in here and kill us all again.

So, I just don't think that is a class thing to say, coming from the president of the U.S.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: All right. But you — you say that, economically, it's his direction that rattles you. You say, "You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg, which provides the highest standard of living in the world."

PRITCHETT: Yes.

CAVUTO: Now, you're a former capitalist yourself. You're a big P&G muckety-muck. And one would take that out of context and hear, well, he's part of the goose who is getting gored.

What do you make of that?

PRITCHETT: Well, I used to be a big P&G muckety-muck.

(LAUGHTER)

PRITCHETT: I have been retired 20 years. So, I'm not involved with P&G anymore.

But one of the things that I guess — a good example would be that, when we would introduce a brand in Procter & Gamble, and it did not do well in the marketplace, we would do some surveys. We would try to figure out what was wrong. We would listen to our consumers. And then we would make some adjustments and we would try it again.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But, Lou, he's reading his poll numbers, right? And they have come down a bit, but he is still very, very popular. Do you think he is misreading those?

PRITCHETT: Yes, I do.

Based on these thousands of e-mails I have received, there are a lot of angry, concerned and frightened people out there, Neil. And I'm not — you know, I don't how to survey all this stuff.

CAVUTO: Yes.

PRITCHETT: But it's amazing to me that over 53 percent of the letters I have received, e-mails I receive have been from women. And they are panicked. And they're all saying: I am frightened, Lou. What do we do? Who can we turn to?

And this is a very scary thing for me personally. And I'm 77 years ago. I have been around a long time. Thank God I'm not 27.

CAVUTO: Well, you say that it's the direction that bothers you, because you say that he has gone so far as to use extortion tactics against banks and corporations. Now, he says he was forced into doing a lot of things he's been doing, from taking over whole companies, and firing executives, because the government was just sort of thrust into that role, and actually thrust into originally by his predecessor.

What do you say?

PRITCHETT: Well, I still — as I started to tell you my brand story.

Whenever a brand fails, we would let it fail. We didn't bail it out. And I don't think that's the government's role, to bail it out. It's as simple as that.

I think what you do is, you let the economic strain flow. You let it work normally and things will work out.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: George Bush didn't have that view. He must have seen there was either some value in our financial brands to keep them around and our auto brands to keep them around.

Was he wrong then?

PRITCHETT: Well, let me tell you, I am a George Bush fan for one big reason. And that's because of what he did after 9/11.

But, yes, George made some mistakes. There's no question about it.

CAVUTO: Yes.

PRITCHETT: And, again, I repeat, I think he was preoccupied with 9/11. And I'm glad he was. And that's where his focus was.

And he may have let some of these other things slip. But I still believe that what we need in this country, if we're going to survive, we have got to have smaller government, lower taxes, and the things that's — that's made this country great.

(CROSSTALK)

PRITCHETT: And I see us going...

(CROSSTALK)

PRITCHETT: ... opposite direction.

CAVUTO: I hear you. A lot of people are hearing you, say, well, he's obviously a Bush fan. He's obviously a Republican, doesn't like Obama, because, it comes, in the end, when you say, "You scare me, Mr. President, because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do."

You still think that's the case?

(CROSSTALK)

PRITCHETT: Yes, sir.

Neil, for example, I am amazed there's not a 23- or a 33-year-old journalist out there somewhere who would look at what is happening to this country and in this administration and say, my God, there is gold to be mined. I am going in here and go after some of this stuff. I'm going to uncover some of this stuff. I'm going to try to understand what is happening. And I'm going to make my career built on this, a lot like the guys who did the Watergate thing.

There is opportunity there. But I see — I think — and, again, it's Pritchett's judgment, my opinion only — I think that the press has totally abdicated their responsibility. I don't know where they are.

Now, FOX, you guys are doing an outstanding job, I think. And I think that is why your ratings are so high.

CAVUTO: Well, a lot of them don't like to come on our show, though, Lou. But I don't take it personally.

(LAUGHTER)

PRITCHETT: Well, you have got a great personality and a great show, and all you guys on FOX do. And I appreciate you having me here. And I hope I haven't ranted too much.

CAVUTO: It was fun having you. No, no. It was fun having you.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Lou Pritchett in Jacksonville, Florida, former Procter & Gamble executive.

Thank you, sir.

PRITCHETT: Thank you, sir.

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