OTR Interviews

Romney or Obama: Who's better for business?

'On the Record'-Open for Business: Panel examines whether Pres. Obama or Mitt Romney will would inspire confidence from both small and Fortune 500 companies


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 27, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


MITT ROMNEY, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That phrase, the pursuit of happiness, means that in in country, people would be free to pursue happiness as they choose, not as government directs, not limited by the circumstance of birth. It is the nature of America to have free people pursuing their dreams.


ROMNEY: And dreams -- and dreams are being crushed when taxes go up and up and up on job creators and business creators, when regulations become overwhelming and burdensome, when the people in government sometimes treat you like the enemy instead of the friend.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me tell you, folk who create most new jobs in America's small business owners. And I have cut taxes for small business owners 18 times since I have been in office.


OBAMA: I have also asked Congress repeatedly to pass new tax cuts for entrepreneurs who hire new workers and raise their workers' wages. But here's the thing have you to remember. The proposal I make today would extend these tax cuts for 97 percent of all small business owners in America.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tax relief or tax hike? President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney sharply disagreeing on how to boost business. So whose ideas would help businesses, both big and small? Nick, they have very different ideologies, and looking at both of them, which ideology or person would probably inspire you more to go out and hire people?

BALLETTA: Definitely Mr. Romney.


NICK BALLETTA, CEO OF TALKPOINT: He's run businesses before. He understands the challenges that we have and he is looking to reinvent or re-engineer the tax code. Right now, we are seeing taxes go up. We fall into that $250,000 bucket as a small business that is going to be hit very hard starting January 1.

VAN SUSTEREN: Steve, are you likely to hire more people eye know you are a Republican -- if Governor Romney were elected? Or all in all, does it make a big difference?

STEVE FORBES, FORBES CHAIRMAN AND EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: It would make a huge difference both in terms of confidence and in terms of what you will get in the tax code. He says 97 percent-- the president -- are going to get a tax break or won't have a tax increase. He ignores that the three percent he is going to hit account for over half of small business revenue, the bulk of the hiring. So the people who are the capital creators, the businesses that are expanding, they are the ones who are slam disproportionately. So if you know you are not going to be hit with the taxes and somebody who understands what the challenges are you, by golly, you are going to say, let's take a risk.


CARLEY RONEY, CO-FOUNDER AND CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER OF XO GROUP, INC.: I don't know. I think we need to look at the next president, based on who can stop the gridlock in Washington. At the end of the day it's decisions being made and things moving forward. Businesses will respond accordingly to the decisions made, but it's it is instability that is killing us. I think it is not about -- being a CEO is like being a benevolent dictator. Last time I looked we are a democracy. You can't dictate, anyway. You need to be negotiating. We are not going to win all control over the government --

VAN SUSTEREN: How do you identify that person? How do you identify the person that can get through the gridlock? I suppose the Republicans would say that President Obama had a Democratic House and D democratic Senate in the beginning, although it wasn't filibuster-proof? And he has had -- you know, he bumped his head against the wall changing things, he would tell you that. Governor Romney, we only know his experience from governor of Massachusetts, and we have to do the guesswork on a national level. How do you make the decision?

RONEY: I think in the end of the day, what -- Obama has been saying this, that clearly work needs to be done. It is not a fool-proof solution. But I think it is more so, everyone coming to the table across all sides of government and even from the people's perspective to really understand that it doesn't matter who is in power because I am of the belief, the American public will choose who they want to be in power. I actually think it's everybody together who will get the decisions made. It is not one individual person. I don't think the person can force anybody to get out of the gridlock.

JASON ACKERMAN, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF FRESH DIRECT: We need leadership. We need leadership. I don't get the feeling that Obama and Boehner are what Clinton and Gingrich did. They're definitely not Reagan and Tip O'Neill.

FORBES: One of the things to take heart is a consensus is emerging. The Simpson-Bowles commission appointed by the president to reduce the deficit came out with proposals for reforming Social Security, Medicare, came out with proposals for simplifying the tax code special reducing tax rates across the board -- not as radical as I would like, but moving in the right directions. Democrats and Republicans signed on to that.

I think in November, particularly in Romney wins, he will achieve consensus with a lot of democratic support. To be blunt, this sounds partisan, but so be it. I think it's the White House that blocked it, when you have the deficit reduction commission last summer, the so-called super committee, there were willing Democrats to make a deal. So were the Republicans. I think it can happen.

VAN SUSTEREN: Jason, the stimulus Bill, has it been a success or not, in your mind?

ACKERMAN: I think -- I think it had its moments. But I think it's obviously petered out. For our project, have you to stimulate growth with small businesses spend money to expand. That's where it is going to come from.

VAN SUSTEREN: The Democrats would say we need more. Would you agree with that or not?

ACKERMAN: I think if it's the right kind of stimulus, not the broad- based spending. We are doing $100 million project in New York to generate $250 million in tax revenue in New York, done in partnership with Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg and they understood they partnered and we are putting up capital side by side to grow, that's how it's going to happen. So it depends on how it's being spent.

VAN SUSTEREN: Some people may think eye assume Republicans might think that tax cuts is a form of a stimulus in that people have more money to self-stimulate rather than the government dog it? Is that what you mean by a stimulus? Or are you speaking of government -- we need more government stimulus.

ACKERMAN: What I don't agree with is tax increases. If we need to make more money, we are not going to raise our prices. You don't raise taxes you grow the business. Stimulation is how do you t. It's a function of taxes and it's a function of investment. You have to invest to create jobs. It doesn't happen by being stagnant.

RONEY: Do you really believe that it can be done without any, you know, revenue increase? I think we are all -- I think no one wants to swallow the bitter pill of where our economy really is.