NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: We know what the delegates here in this city want to see come November, but what does corporate America (search) want out of this election? We’ve gathered some of the biggest and brightest in the business world to tell us. In New York, Terry McGraw, the man who heads up publishing giant McGraw-Hill. In Seattle, Rob Glaser the chief executive of RealNetworks, and joining us again here in Boston, my good friend Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE.
Jack, ended with you, begin with you. Corporate CEOs really just like to see more of this, right? They like to see more green. Does it matter who sits in the White House?
JACK WELCH, JACK WELCH LLC: I think it does matter. I think that we like the direction the country is going in now, at least, speaking for myself. But I’m an ex-CEO, these guys you’re going to talk to are going to be able to give you the real stuff right now. From my point of view, Bill Clinton did a great job when a Republican Congress was there to balance the whole thing, the two of them did a great job. So I think, yes, we care. But divided government isn’t the worst thing in the world either.
CAVUTO: Yes. That might be the way we go. Rob Glaser, there is a theory out there that says John Kerry does get elected, but he has to deal with a Republican Congress. I have met many a CEO who say that is a perfect prescription for me. What do you think?
ROB GLASER, REALNETWORKS CEO: Well, in terms of the economy, if we have a situation like the ‘90s where we’ve got budget deficits under control, which that combination caused the deficits to go down, that would certainly be a positive development. I think in terms of U.S. standing in the world, really being an environment, where being an American company is a positive and not like what has happen with McDonald’s and Nike and a lot of these great brands around the world which I think is connected somehow to U.S. standing in the world. So those would be the two things from a business standpoint that I think we’d really want to see happen and a guided government could cause that to happen.
CAVUTO: Rob Glaser, you’re not a fan of the president, right?
GLASER: Well, I think in both those areas you would have to say we look at the deficits and look at what is going on and you’d have to say it is kind of risky business. The last time we had a war and we weren’t very fiscally responsible, we had all that horrible inflation in the ‘70s. So I would worry about that, not that we have got inflation specter today, but the formula is there if you don’t run a balanced budget over time...
CAVUTO: OK. But my question was, do you like the president or not, you’re not supporting him, right?
GLASER: Well, personally I’m not, but I’m trying to separate out my personal views which...
CAVUTO: No. That’s fine, I just wanted to know where you are coming from. OK.
GLASER: No, where I’m coming from is I think John Kerry would be a good guy.
CAVUTO: Terry McGraw, how about you?
TERRY MCGRAW, MCGRAW-HILL CEO: Hi, Neil. Yes, I do think it matters who is in the White House. And I agree with Jack, I don’t think that necessarily from time to time a divided government is a bad thing. We have some very, very big issues. A lot of things have already been started, a lot of very positive directions. Education, the biggest one of them all, homeland security, tax policies, so that more people have an advantage of getting in. The trade policy is, I think, one of the strongest. We need to continue, since trade promotion authority, to be staying on that road and making sure that jobs and growth are a part of that and so forth. So I think those are good.
Now, what concerns me from a business standpoint is the endless partisanship that seems to just absolutely stagnate Washington. And so maybe perhaps in a divided government sense, maybe if there is a new agenda, maybe there is a hope that there will be more of a consensus and consensus-building.
CAVUTO: I wonder, though, because Jack Welch, one of the things I’ve heard from a lot of CEOs, and be them Republicans or democrats, a valid point, it’s the deficit, stupid. You’re making it bigger and bigger and bigger, you’re spending more and more and more. And here we thought we’d get that under control with a Republican president, a Republican Congress, it is worse than ever.
WELCH: It is surprising the level of spending. But don’t forget, Neil, this president inherited a bursting bubble and a declining economy, and then he got hit with 9/11 and then we have a war. So there is a lot of spending that has gone on here that got this economy back, going again.
CAVUTO: No one is against the tax cuts -- obviously there are many who were, but then why didn’t he cut spending to compensate?
WELCH: Well, you and I talked about this, and you would like to see more responsibility there. No question.
WELCH: You thought a Republican Congress and a president would in fact slow spending.
CAVUTO: And Rob, that is one of your biggest beefs, right, that we have got this kind of run away deficit spending, right?
GLASER: I think so, I mean, certainly the rate of which is -- and I agree with Jack, there were certainly a lot of specific things that happened in the first couple years of the presidency that were very challenging. But I think to combine all that spending and still do those tax cuts, which I think was a kind of an irresponsible combination.
CAVUTO: Terry, now the tax cuts, you have written in your fine magazine, certainly gave the economy a boost, in Business Week, that’s where I read these things, do you think that it is still the case or were these tax cuts like a quick nicotine hit, short-lived, end of story?
MCGRAW: Well, it depends on what the outcome was and the outcome obviously is an economy that is growing and growing at a lot faster rate than anybody anticipated. And so the strength of the recovery is what that fiscal stimulus created. That is good. Deficits in the short-term are not bad. Now longer-term they’ll cripple you. So I think the fact that you have got the strong growth now, it gives you the opportunity now to start really bringing spending back into check and to start to shift to a deficit-reduction program.
CAVUTO: Rob Glaser, very quickly, Wall Street jumped today on some good economic news. Does that hurt the Democrats’ message, what do you think?
GLASER: Well, it is certainly tricky, obviously we have got a job recovery now and only a sadist would not want to have a job recovery. I think the big question is in terms of economic policy, who is going to be the best job of bringing responsible stewardship. And I think this is an election that is going to cut on a lot of factors, obviously the war in Iraq casts a very long shadow. So I think it will be a combination of factors and the economy will play its role, but maybe less than other elections.
CAVUTO: All right. And you say terror is going to be a big theme.
WELCH: Big issue.
CAVUTO: OK. Final word, thank you, gentlemen, appreciate all the perspective.
Content and Programming Copyright 2004 Fox News Network, L.L.C. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2004 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, L.L.C.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.