CKE Restaurants CEO on Obama dismissing Keystone jobs

Andy Puzder on 'Your World'


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," November 19, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Forget about what Keystone might do to the pristine environment. It won`t bring enough pristine jobs. That`s the administration's latest argument against building the pipeline. All those jobs that unions and others argue it will create are more like a pipe dream. The president says, most will be temporary.

But it got us thinking. It happens sometimes. Aren`t infrastructure jobs by their very nature temporary? And haven`t most of the jobs generated in this meager recovery been temporary or part-time? And now they`re a problem? And by the way, the same people saying this at the White House, aren`t their jobs temporary?

Andy Puzder says that is the problem. And he should know. He employs thousands through his CKE restaurants. And he says those folks, most temporary workers, value those jobs very, very much. But now, now, Andy, they are not -- they are not a big deal here. What do you make of that?

ANDREW PUZDER, PRESIDENT & CEO, CKE RESTAURANTS: I think the hypocrisy here is pretty incredible, as you noted in your article on the Fox Business Web site.

Look, number one, if you like infrastructure projects -- and all we hear about from this administration is, we need roads and bridges to generate jobs and grow the economy. If you like infrastructure projects, you should love this. It goes right across the center of the United States. You are going to have construction workers. You`re going to have the people who generate the concrete and cement that you need to build this.

You`re going to have the people that move the earth to build it. You are going to have the people who make the pipe, who manufacture the pipe. So, you create a tremendous amount of jobs. Now, they are not permanent jobs. But unlike roads or bridges, which aren`t ongoing businesses, this supports an ongoing business, which is our energy sector, which is thriving, which also produces a large number of jobs.

It will reduce the cost of the transporting oil. We will get away from the trains and trucks that are more expensive, less effective and less environmentally friendly, will help that industry. That will lower costs. And I will guarantee you, when oil prices go down, it helps our economy and it creates jobs.

I have talked to other CEOs in the restaurant sector over the past couple of weeks. And every one that I spoke to saw an increase in their business beginning the end of June through the 1st of August. And it`s continued on.

And that`s just about the time that energy prices went down. On top of that, you enhance energy security, which you can -- we can use natural gas and oil as a lever against Putin. You deprive groups like ISIS, you reduce their oil revenue when the cost of oil goes down.


CAVUTO: Andy, you`re making way, way, way too much sense, way too much sense here.


PUZDER: I could go on and on.

CAVUTO: My point is, a temporary job beats no job.

PUZDER: Absolutely.

CAVUTO: A part-time job beats no job.

And for an administration that has been heralding the steady decline in the unemployment rate really because we just have more of these temporary and part-time jobs, that was not an issue then. And we called the numbers what they were then. So, why demean these jobs by just the basis of their permanent or not-so-permanent nature? Infrastructure jobs are by design just that, you know?

PUZDER: Well, and it -- number one, it makes no sense. Number two, let me just add on top of the ridiculousness of making those jobs less than they are, these are jobs that require absolutely no money from the federal government.

There`s no federal government subsidies, there`s no bond issues, there`s no taxes. This is all private sector money creating private sector jobs. If you want to know why they are opposed, it`s really -- it really has nothing to do with the nature of the jobs or the number of the jobs.

This is private sector jobs created with private sector money. However many they create, it`s a plus. What it`s really about is the Democrats don`t want to lose the support of those large environmentalist donors who have an irrational obsession with the Keystone pipeline and these issues.


CAVUTO: Yes, but they are also losing -- whatever they gain with the environmentalists, they are losing with unions, who desperately want those jobs, temporary, part-time, or not.

PUZDER: But -- which really shows you the strength of this environmental lobby, that they are actually deserting the unions to go with the environmentalists on something that would clearly be in the interests of the American middle class, of the American working-class and common sense.


And, by the way, the president`s job is temporary.

PUZDER: That`s true.


CAVUTO: That`s no less an important job, you know?

PUZDER: We`re all temporary.

CAVUTO: For all I know, my job will be temporary.

PUZDER: That`s right.

CAVUTO: But, Andy, thank you very, very much. Well put, Andy Puzder.

PUZDER: Thank you.

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