Welch: We need a president who will energize the country

Former General Electric CEO on House GOP shakeup, 2016 politics


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 9, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  Now to a guy whose name actually has come up as a possible replacement for speaker, because you don`t have to choose someone from Congress, Jack Welch, yes, the former CEO of General Electric, arguably one of the greatest CEOs in American history.  I`m a little biased there, but I would agree with that.

Jack, are you interested in the job?




CAVUTO:  Why are so many passing on it?  

WELCH:  Well, I was never asked.  


WELCH:  So, I won`t.

Look, it`s a tough job.  You are making a life decision here.  But for a guy like Paul Ryan, he is making an enormous career path decision.  If he gets in there and gets all moneyed up, whether it`s -- what does that do to his future?  

CAVUTO:  Yes.  But I always think it`s a no-brainer.  I mean, it is the second in line to the presidency.  Right?  

If you -- things are so bad now, you can only improve it, I would think.  
But yet he is obviously reluctant, obviously, the time demands and everything else.

WELCH:  Family and everything else.

CAVUTO:  I understand.

But being chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is not exactly a
9:00-to-5:00 job.  So, what is it about the job that is frightening people away, do you think?  

WELCH:  Well, the polarization of the party right now.

And can he listen to all factions?  It looks to me like voice was not given to enough people in this whole argument, that it was their way or the highway, and they didn`t give him a chance to talk.  

CAVUTO:  I was thinking of you, about this, because we were talking about this yesterday, Jack, this idea that lot of the ones who are ticked off, much beyond the Freedom Caucus and the 40 angry members, that Boehner, McCarthy by extension, didn`t give them their due, we`re told, sometimes didn`t return phone calls, certainly didn`t consider legislative ideas, and ostracized them.  

Now, again, everyone has their own beef.  But as a pretty successful CEO and a guy who ran things, I mean, that`s a dangerous thing to get into, isn`t it, for all...  

WELCH:  Without question, Neil.  

You have got to give everyone constituent voice.  Now, you may not give them what they want, but they have got to be heard.  And it appears in this case -- I have been listening in the last three days to all the punitive actions that get taken by somebody who votes the wrong way.  They`re out of a committee.  This is a wild system, where if you don`t behave the way the leaders want you, you might be a...

CAVUTO:  The idea is...  

WELCH:  You might be a congressman, but you`re not going far.  

CAVUTO:  Right.  But the idea is that there`s an order, and you guys who are rebellious in the ranks, work with us, this is how we`re going to get things done.

But, obviously, it led some chafed nerves here.  

WELCH:  Without question.  Without question.  

CAVUTO:  So, what do you do?

WELCH:  You give voice.  

I mean, I think the next leader who comes in has to go around hand-shaking in every office, listening, making people feel like they`re listening.  If you don`t give voice to any organization, you will have nothing but trouble.  

CAVUTO:  But you also wrote in one of your many books, "Straight From the Gut," I think, that you are going to have some malcontents, no how you inspire them, how you embolden them, and those are the ones you cut off or whatever.  Now, easier said than done.  A speaker just can`t fire people.  
But how do you deal with that element?  


WELCH:  Well, it`s a tougher game in politics.  

You can`t do it as if you were running a corporation.  For example, in an acquisition, there are very often naysayers on the other said of an acquisition.  You give them some time, you give them voice.  If they don`t get on the bus, they got to go.  

CAVUTO:  Yes.  

WELCH:  You can`t quite do that in the House of Representatives.  

CAVUTO:  Do you think that a Donald Trump appreciates that?  That with all his popularity in the polls, it is one thing to be a very successful CEO.  
It`s quite another to translate that into the world of politics.  

WELCH:  Well, we will see.  We will see.  

CAVUTO:  You don`t like Trump.  It sounds like you don`t like him.  

WELCH:  Why would you start a fight like that?

And, no, that`s not true.  I think Trump has brought a lot to this race.  
Who would be talking about Carly Fiorina or other people if Trump didn`t your debate to 24 million people?  It would be about four million people.  

CAVUTO:  Well, 20 maybe.  

WELCH:  No, it wouldn`t.  

CAVUTO:  I`m kidding.  I`m kidding.  

All right, let me ask you, then, who is your candidate?  You like Ted Cruz and the passion...  

WELCH:  Yes.  

CAVUTO:  ... he engendered at debates and at forums.  But he is still kind of stuck in the mid-range there.  

WELCH:  Start out with, number one, I want to win.  I want to win so much, I can taste it.  We have to win to change the direction of this country.  
We have to do it.  

CAVUTO:  But wait a minute.  You`re not a Democrat?  Let me write that down.  

WELCH:  Write that down.  Check that off.  

CAVUTO:  All right.  


WELCH:  No, we have to win.  So I want to win.

I like Ted Cruz.  I like him personally very much.  I`m not so fond of his position on Ex-Im Bank, but you can`t get it all with any of these people.  
And you have got to make compromises.

CAVUTO:  Right.  

WELCH:  And I like his ideas.  I like Kasich.  

CAVUTO:  Ohio governor.

WELCH:  I like Rubio.  I like Rubio.  So, I do...


CAVUTO:  Is there any one of this bunch that you think would be a disaster, and just it couldn`t happen, they couldn`t get to the White House?

WELCH:  Well, some of those people at the bottom have no chance.  I don`t know what that`s about, when you get some of these folks in there.  

CAVUTO:  Well, you know, everyone gets lucky.  

WELCH:  Yes, but not after eight weeks or 12 weeks and you got 1 percent.

CAVUTO:  Yes.  Yes.  

Back to Trump and the fact that he is galvanizing this sort of anti- establishment mood.  How you think that last?  

WELCH:  Well, Neil, I have been on the road for the last 10 days giving speeches in Vegas and Los Angeles and in Reno.  And I have talked to probably 10,000 people.

And the first question -- I don`t give speeches.  I give Q&As.  The first question in every one of those meetings, what do you think about Donald Trump?  What do you think his chances are?  


CAVUTO:  And you say?  

WELCH:  I say, he has done a service so far to raise some issue that we all have in our minds.  He has done a service in terms of getting -- he`s -- it`s must-see TV.  It`s the old Thursday night on NBC.  

CAVUTO:  I think he is brilliant.  I think he is brilliant.  

But a lot -- the critics say he has to attach some details to what he is talking about.  He can`t talk broad...


WELCH:  Well, he brings out a tax plan.  


CAVUTO:  What did you think of that tax plan?

WELCH:  It`s a start.  And it`s a placeholder.  Then he can negotiate around that.

CAVUTO:  What didn`t you like about it?  

WELCH:  Nothing, really.  

CAVUTO:  Well, you know what I didn`t like about it is the fact that 75 million, in that range...

WELCH:  Don`t pay taxes.  

CAVUTO:  Don`t pay taxes.  Now, I`m not saying they should pay 30, 35, whatever percent, but...

WELCH:  You want everybody with a stake in the game.  

CAVUTO:  Yes.  

WELCH:  Well, that`s a fair argument.


CAVUTO:  It doesn`t matter to you?  

WELCH:  No.  No.

CAVUTO:  What about Jeb Bush and his plans?  He started out as the establishment guy.  He`s dropped in the polls.  

WELCH:  I think he had a pretty good plan.  I think Trump has labeled him, and not inappropriately.  

CAVUTO:  Really?  Not -- you need a little more passion, you need a little more excitement?

WELCH:  You need more passion.  

We have got a country in trouble, whether it be our foreign policy, whether it be the over-regulation of our economy, that when we`re stuck at 1.5 to 2 percent, we`re not growing.  We need somebody to come in and energize the whole place.  We have got to turn the ship.  

CAVUTO:  Do you think that there is a connection between the discord in the House, all the anti-establishment candidates succeeding, Hillary Clinton racing to try to be as left as Bernie Sanders on corporate everything?  
What is going on?  

WELCH:  Well, think there`s no question that there`s been at least -- we had elections in `10, `12, `14.  A young crowd in the House got elected.  

And they came in ready to do things on Obamacare and other -- they haven`t been able to get their voice heard at all.  Now, maybe you can`t get it through where -- the president without a veto-proof majority, et cetera -- with a veto-proof majority.  Maybe you can`t get it through, but put more things on his desk, where he has to -- I mean, when Harry Reid broke the, if you will, the rules to appoint people in Washington, the Congress -- that judicial system, we didn`t have enough fight.  

CAVUTO:  Well, one congressman said of Speaker Boehner, he sucked the life out of us, all our enthusiasm.  

WELCH:  Well, I don`t know him personally.  I don`t know him.  But I am not a fan by any means.  I`m not a fan of what he did.  

I mean, we had the election.  We had these young turks, if you will, or whatever you want to call them, and they didn`t get voice, although the public gave them voice by electing them.  

CAVUTO:  Right.  Right.  

So, do you think the public now remembers, we give you the House, then we gave you the Senate, you let us down, you, Republicans, as Dan Henninger wrote in The Wall Street Journal this week, are going to grab defeat from the jaws of victory?

WELCH:  Not if we get a leader nominated, not if we get somebody out there who can give a vision.  

Look, the only way we`re going to get jobs growing and everything is to get the regulation off of us to do all these crazy -- take away these crazy things.  Every morning, you wake up and the NLRB has got another one.  Or the Labor Department has got another one, whether it be overtime rules, whether it be this rule or that rule.  

It`s not just EPA, which we see about all the time.  It`s not just the Clean Air Act.  It`s a lot of little stuff.  Little guys are out there drawing up little rules that are nailing you, whether it be a department store size -- in the department store, the cosmetics department can unionize and then cause a rift in the whole place.

CAVUTO:  Right.  

WELCH:  They have resized that.  The idea of McDonald`s, the parent being involved with the franchisee in terms of labor costs and other things, it`s crazy, Neil.  

CAVUTO:  Now, how are you helping?  You want to prepare young people for in the new environment with this Jefferson University.  Indeed, you`re combining -- how is it, the MBA, medical expertise?  How does it go?

WELCH:  Look, no industries in the world need disruption more than education and medicine.  

Medicine is a $2 trillion to $3 trillion -- let`s say $2 trillion economy.  
Rules have come in with Obamacare, with changing regs, with consolidation, all this.  Doctors are still practicing one-on-one the way they used to years ago.  

They are going to learn how to maneuver through this mine field, and what we`re doing with Jefferson University, which has a population health center, the only one in the country that is starting to deal with all these regs and training doctors.  And our MBA, which is going 40 percent a year -
- it`s over 1,000 people now, Neil, our MBA program.

CAVUTO:  Is that right?  Wow.

WELCH:  And we`re growing 40 percent for the third straight year.  

 CAVUTO:  And then where do they go with that?  

WELCH:  No, they`re in the company.  We don`t -- you don`t come to our school and get a promotion.  And you don`t change jobs.  


WELCH:  You get promoted within your company.  And more than half are getting promotions while they are working, staying in their job while they`re in school.  

Now let`s go to the why we`re tying up with Jefferson.  There`s a desperate need for doctors who now work in corporations more than they used to.

CAVUTO:  That`s right.  That`s right.  

WELCH:  They`re all being bought out.  They`re put together.  And for $39,000, we`re putting together a joint MBA and deal here now with Jefferson courses, and they can keep working.  They don`t have to go off campus.  They don`t have to go another school.  

CAVUTO:  How long does it take?

WELCH:  Sixteen -- 18 months.  

CAVUTO:  Wow.  That`s pretty fast.

WELCH:  And 18 months, and they learn business and they learn today`s regulatory environment in business, how to cope with it, ethics rules, et cetera.  

It`s pretty exciting.  We`re off the charts about it, because we think this allows them to keep working.

CAVUTO:  That`s not too shabby.

But you get the rap and all these people saying, well, business guys are still up to no good.  Hillary Clinton wants to extend the time where you can go after corporate chieftains, and Ben Bernanke this week saying, where are all the financial executives behind bars?

What do you make of all that?    

WELCH:  Don`t be to harsh on Hillary.  The last time that we were almost too harsh on Hillary, we got Barack Obama.  


CAVUTO:  So you want...


WELCH:  And, this time, you might get Joe Biden.  

CAVUTO:  Who is more dangerous?

WELCH:  Who is more dangerous?  I think Joe Biden is.  

CAVUTO:  Really?

WELCH: "Good old Joe" -- quotes.

CAVUTO:  Yes.  

WELCH:  People want authenticity, et cetera.  So...

CAVUTO:  OK, all right.  Always good seeing you, my friend.

WELCH:  I love talking to you, Neil.  

CAVUTO:  Thank you for everything.  Same here.

One of the best bosses on the planet ever, ever, ever.  Take that, Donald Trump.  We will see what happens.


CAVUTO:  I don`t know.  Just trying to start a fight.  There`s no reason.  
He`s already tweeting, as we speak.  


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