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Welch responds to Mark Cuban, talks Trump's economic plan

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," September 15, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right. I don't know what people got out of that. There was a lot of talk about, would she go into her pneumonia and how it was communicated and how Tim Kaine didn't seem to know a lot of the details? Some were saying she were overheated and others then later saying within the same campaign, no, it's pneumonia.

Obviously, there was a communication break-through. She said things were fast and furious, that there really wasn't enough time, that she could have been better. Whether that resolved the issue is anyone's guess.

Jack Welch with me right now. He knows a thing or two about getting in front of a crisis before it compounds itself.

And, right now, judging from what is happening to her poll numbers, Jake, in certain battleground states, she has got at least a mini-crisis going on here that has caused this drop. What's going on?

JACK WELCH, FORMER CHAIRMAN & CEO, GENERAL ELECTRIC: Well, Neil, today, she was out showing that she is healthy, as Trump was yesterday on "Dr. Oz."

So, I think the health thing is way overblown.

CAVUTO: Yes.

WELCH: I think they're both healthy candidates, and we will see how it goes.

CAVUTO: The rap against either of them, they really didn't give a lot of information out there. Should they? When you were running GE, don't shareholders have the right to know whether you're physically fine? We have seen with other CEOs in the past that what you don't know can hurt you.

WELCH: Well, she had a cold. She had pneumonia.

CAVUTO: That we know of.

WELCH: That is what we know about. That is not together going to change the world. She showed herself to be...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Do you think it was poorly handled?

WELCH: Well, they obviously have all agreed that they should have been more forthcoming as to what was happening when she was going to her daughter's house. But I don't that's...

CAVUTO: OK. So, this was made a big deal, that why Donald Trump went on a show like "Dr. Oz" to talk about his health status.

None of that matters to you? That isn't what is crucial, unless they're so blatantly obviously ill, right?

WELCH: Unless they're ill.

CAVUTO: Yes.

WELCH: But I don't think this is an issue.

CAVUTO: OK.

I had Mark Cuban here the other day, in fact, when I first came back.  And he was telling me that, as much as he loves you and as great respect for you, he doesn't think that you have been very fair to Hillary Clinton.  I want you to react to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK CUBAN, OWNER, DALLAS MAVERICKS: Look, my point with Jack was -- and I don't know him, never met him, never talked to him -- was that, when he was the CEO of GE, he got accused of a lot of things. I don't know what was true. I don't know what wasn't true.

But I would never accuse him of something without knowing the facts.  And that's exactly what Jack Welch has done. And it is not the first time.  I mean, he made accusations that the Bureau of Labor Statistics, I think, with the unemployment rate was run by, what did he say, the guys in Chicago or something like that?

CAVUTO: Right. Right.

CUBAN: And so it is not the first time for him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: He was going onto say your criticism over the Clinton Foundation, whether it pay-for-play going on, that you didn't check your facts.

WELCH: Well, Neil, I don't -- back to him again, I don't know him. I have never spoken to him. And he was successful in the dot-com bubble in 2000, may have made a lot of money, got the Mavericks, and has done a pretty good job, as I understand it.

He's got a show in "Shark Tank." And he is a Hillary Clinton supporter, so he has every right in the world to criticize me when I'm criticizing...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But do you think that criticism of you was fair, that you were assigning all sorts of nasty motives to Hillary Clinton and that...

WELCH: No, I wasn't.

And what I said was, the pay-to-play thing in the Clinton Foundation looks very suspicious and is worth looking at.

CAVUTO: All right.

Let's switch gears to Donald Trump. You're supporting Donald Trump.  In the beginning of the campaign season, it was Ted Cruz, I believe.

WELCH: Yes.

CAVUTO: What do you think first off about how Ted Cruz handled himself at the convention? I didn't get a chance to talk with you. I was home at the time. But what do you make of that?

WELCH: I didn't like it.

I didn't like him taking the pledge and then walking away. Now, he was obviously piqued by the comments that Trump made about his wife. So, I can understand some reaction to that, but he made a pledge, as did Kasich.

CAVUTO: To support the nominee.

WELCH: Support the nominee. And then I'm disappointed that they backed away from it.

CAVUTO: Would you think twice about ever supporting Cruz again?

WELCH: I would think twice about it.

CAVUTO: Really?

So, you think everyone, Republicans have to get on board? You might not love Donald Trump, but he is better than Hillary Clinton. Is that your position?

WELCH: My position is, I'm voting for a Republican at the top of the ticket.

And I look at the policies of the Republicans vs. the Democrats. And I'm all for jobs. I like -- I saw Trump today at the Economic Club. I thought he was both presidential and substantive. I thought his comments were first-rate. I love his tax plan. I love capping the deductions on the wealthy, so that he cannot get accused of taking care of the wealthy.

CAVUTO: But he does lower their tax rate from 39.6 to 33.

WELCH: And he lowers everybody's tax rate, OK?

CAVUTO: Right.

WELCH: OK, now, I like his regulatory attack.  We're regulating ourselves right out of competitiveness. Harvard just came out, Harvard Business School, with -- Michael Porter just came out with a study which showed all the regulatory burdens and the government mess that is creating a lack of competitiveness in the U.S.

But I love an aspirational goal of 4 percent. I like his tax policy.  I like his regulatory...

CAVUTO: You're talking about he wants economic growth of around 4 percent, which would be double what it is now. How doable is that?

WELCH: Well, we have done it before with Reagan. We have done it before with Kennedy. We have done it with Kennedy and Johnson together in the '60s.

We can do it. It's aspirational. But we can't do it pouring out regulations every single day that make doing business very difficult. And we got a tax -- he's got a tax rate on corporations of 15 percent, which will clean up the inversion problem.

CAVUTO: Right. Well, that, they like. A lot of these guys like that.

They didn't like it when he -- I think he particularly went after Ford for wanting to build all these compact cars in Mexico. And he said that if they think they're going to get away with that if he were president, he would take those cars when they're resold in the United States and slap a 35 percent tariff on them. What do you think of that?

WELCH: I'm not buying into that program. I wouldn't like that program. But I sure like the 15 percent.

CAVUTO: I understand that. But that would be a trade war. Right?

WELCH: Yes, but, no, we to got -- no, not a trade war. We get away from inversions, Neil. There's no inversion incentive anymore when you do that.

CAVUTO: In other words, companies that go abroad to take advantage of a lower tax rate.

WELCH: Of a lower tax rate.

CAVUTO: But you don't think this threat would ever be realized?

WELCH: I think a president has a bully pulpit. And he has a right to scare the hell out of CEOs.

CAVUTO: How is he doing in your -- in the beginning, you thought he had a fast and sort of fast, loose gun style. How do you think he is doing?

WELCH: Look, Neil, I have a case here as why I'm for the Republican candidate, and whether it's on taxes, or on regulatory reform, or on the environment, or on energy, where I want fracking and independence.

Every single this that Mrs. Clinton is proposing -- and I don't have any personal feelings for one or the other. We have got flawed candidates.  We're all flawed. What I like is the fact that I like the growth plan because I think jobs are the way to peace and prosperity.

I think that jobs create wealth, I think, for lots of people. I do believe that rising tides help everybody. And I think it's very important that we have a growth-oriented policy. And I love the policy that Trump outlined today. And we will have people nitpicking it all over the place, but at least it's not more of the same.

I have watched for eight years the squeezing down of this economy, the choking off, with climate change being the number one priority. It's not the number one priority. Terrorism is far ahead of climate change right now. We have got to get a country that is growing and where everybody has opportunity.

CAVUTO: Well, Hillary Clinton says the way to get that is to have the rich foot more of the bill, that they have not been paying their fair share.

WELCH: We have been raising taxes steadily, Neil, in this...

CAVUTO: I'm going to get into this a little later in the show, but what is -- when they say fair share, I thought it was when we returned to 39.6 and they added more to pay for the health care law. What do you worry about with that?

WELCH: Right.

Look, I just think you can't keep sucking incentive out of the system.  And the facts are, the wealthy are paying their fair share. We have got to get more people into the pot with growing wages. And the way we are going to get growing wages is to get -- create more jobs and be more competitive.

CAVUTO: Well, the liberal argument, as you know, Jack, is raise the taxes on the rich, get a $15 minimum wage going. You know what I mean. If you can't do it by market forces, forcibly crunch it.

What do you think?

WELCH: We have tried this, Neil. We have tried this. We have no economy. We're growing at 1.5, 2 percent. Neil, that's not enough to take care of enough people is this country. We have too many people out of the to the work force. We have the lowest participation rate.

All of these things are real. People are out of work. That's why this phenomenon of Trump is working, because people are looking for a policy that drives growth in America. Growth in America is what we need.  And we will get it with this type of plan. We will have a shot at it.  Let's say we will have a shot at it.

We know more of Clinton and more of Obama, Obama-like in environment, Obama-like in regulation, Obama-like in taxes, is not going to do it. We know that. We have tried it for eight years.

CAVUTO: Well, he says we have tried it, and we have come off the mat and we have gotten all these jobs, and it's working.

WELCH: Neil, stop it. Just stop it.

CAVUTO: Why are you yelling at me?

WELCH: Because you're just trying to rile me up. And I'm not rile- able. I just know I'm voting...

CAVUTO: We both had heart operations. That is the last thing I want to do.

WELCH: And I'm voting for the Republican candidate. And I hope you get 21 years with yours, like I have had with mine.

CAVUTO: All right. And I thank you for all your kind words and support.

But I did have to ask you this. In one of your first books, "Straight From the Gut," you talked about how it's important in hiring workers and all for them to be smart. And you have to weed through the weaker chaff, the dead wood, but passion meant a lot to you, the zeal to...

WELCH: Caring.

CAVUTO: Right.

And Hillary Clinton has a lot of policies and positions. And she goes back to that, and then a lot of people say that is what she will bring to the debate. Donald Trump is a loose cannon but he engenders a great deal of passion.

Which is going to be more important?

WELCH: Look, I think you need a leader in this country right now that will be aspirational.  Her style right now is more measured to try and contrast herself with a more flamboyant Trump. But this isn't about personalities. Let's get away from it. Let's look at policies.

CAVUTO: I think it's always about personality.

WELCH: Yes, the election is.

CAVUTO: Yes.

WELCH: But it shouldn't be. It should be about policies. Who is going grow this economy and create jobs?

Trump is doing things that have not been done. And the never-Trumpers are out there yelling at him, Bret Stephens in The Wall Street Journal, the Bill Kristol. These guys sit in their ivory tower with no pragmatism, none. They sit there and say, we must have it all.

Well, the election took place in the primary. And their ideas were rejected. OK? And when Trump moves into the minority community and talks about opportunity, talks about growth, talks about jobs, that is something Republicans...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: What do you think, Jack, of Barack Obama the other day speaking in Philadelphia that there's a double standard applied to the press coverage of Donald Trump, that he gets away with saying outlandish stuff?

Now, I look at the same press clippings, and I see a lot or rough coverage of Donald Trump. But be that as it may, do you think that the media is harsher on Hillary Clinton, because the president does?

WELCH: No, look, you watch "Morning Joe" on a competing network, and you will get three hours of hating Trump.

You watch "Hannity" at 10:00, and you will get one full hour of hating Hillary Clinton.

CAVUTO: And CNBC, of course, is in the tank, right, for Hillary, right?

WELCH: I don't think that. I don't know notice that.

CAVUTO: Really? It's funny. You shook your head the other way.

WELCH: I don't notice that.

CAVUTO: OK. All right. Somebody is blocking.

WELCH: I don't know notice that. But I do notice that the country is going to vote. They're sick of the media driving home narratives.

CAVUTO: So, you think Trump can pull this out?

WELCH: I think he's got a real shot. He's got at least a 50/50 shot.

CAVUTO: What would you urge him to do to keep doing what he is doing, if that is the case?

WELCH: Keep focusing on how he's going to get that 4 percent growth, how he's going to be more exclusive, go to the minority community. Don't give up on it. Bring them along. Show them opportunity.

CAVUTO: Very good.

Real quick on the heart thing, because you and I have been through these open-heart surgeries. And you were so nice after mine. Do you really have to eat healthy like 24/7?

WELCH: Well, you will the first year.

CAVUTO: OK.  

WELCH: Then it sort of dwindles away.

CAVUTO: Well, that's good. OK, fine.

Jack Welch, very good seeing you, my friend.

WELCH: Good luck.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Thank you for your kindness.

Jack made my career possible, my friends. And he is still living with the guilt from that to this day.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: All right.

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