January 27th, 2012
11:28 AM ET
3 years ago

Welch: Be nice to Paul, we need his supporters

(CNN) - Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch said Friday Ron Paul was heading towards an inevitable exit in the GOP presidential race –and it's an exit that national Republicans should handle with care.

"The GOP doesn't want to lose those wonderful voters that he's brought on board," Welch said on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien." "So how well (Republicans) treat Ron Paul going forward is a very big deal, just the way you layoff employees is a very big deal."

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His interview follows comments from a column he penned for Reuters on Friday, in which he described Paul supporters as impassioned activists and anything but "party regulars."

The libertarian-leaning Texas congressman, who's making his third bid for president, is known for his young, vocal following.

In the first two nominating contests, Paul supporters turned out in droves to throw their weight behind the candidate, giving him a strong third place finish in Iowa with 21% of the vote and a second place finish in New Hampshire with 23%.

While he didn't fare as well in South Carolina and while he's placing little effort in the Florida primary, the congressman has shown no signs that he intends to drop out of the running, even suggesting he would stay in the race until the Republican convention in August.

But if and when that day comes, Welch, a strong backer of Mitt Romney, said Republicans need to be ready.

"There can be no brush-off. No 'Phew, he's gone. Now let's get down to business.' No booby prize. Ron Paul needs to be given a role that really means something to him - a role with influence and voice," Welch wrote in the column.

The former CEO suggested giving Paul whatever he wants, whether it's a prominent role at the convention or an advisory position in a new administration.

"Like a business leader designing a severance package with a key player, the GOP leadership's mindset must be: 'When he walks out that door, Ron Paul is going to be a friend for life'," he wrote.

Sitting by his side in the CNN interview on Friday, Suzy Welch added they know a thing or two about Paul supporters, as their four children are all fans of the congressman.

"If you let them go, they're not going to go into the booth and they're not going to pull the lever for whoever the nominee is," she said. "If you alienate them…either they'll stay home or they'll work against you."

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Filed under: 2012 • Ron Paul
soundoff (185 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Great debate last night. Winner takes all:

    Man on the Moon – 2
    Fidel Castro – 1
    Others – 0

    Eventually Republicans are going to have to wake up and smell the coffee. Unless of course they like being pandered and lied to. This years group isn't even trying to conceal what they think about their voter base, and it ain't good thoughts. These candidates ooze contempt. For each other, their party, and their voters. If it were me, I'd be up in arms against the outright lies...

    January 27, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. Brian K

    I have been a registered Republican for many years. Ron Paul is my candidate. I will not vote for Romney who agrees with the idea that the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial is a good thing. I will not vote for Gingrich who had over 80 ethic violations while in Congress and was a fatcat lobbyist in all but name only. Santoum is a joke.

    I will write in Ron Paul if he is not the nominee.

    January 27, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. dagoberto

    We are not against Obama. We are against the sorry state of the politics of this country.

    Ron Paul or bust

    January 27, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. Ken

    If republicans want to defeat Obama, they better start supporting Paul. Paul's current supporters will not vote for the other candidates. Many of the others are starting to adopt the positions that Paul has had for decades, but they cannot be trusted to follow through with what they say. Watch the debates and you will see that the others agree with almost every one of his economic policies. Notice how no one attacks him in the debates for changing positions or for not being conservative enough. As for foreign policy, the others can't wait to start more wars. They talk about spreading democracy, but I guess they only want to do that when a country doesn't sell us cheap oil. How else to you explain why none of them want regime change in places like Saudi Arabia? Paul would rather defend out boarders here at home instead of the boarders over seas. Paul is right when he says we should set a positive example for the world and promote free trade rather that imposing our will with force. He is head shoulders above the other pretenders. Paul or Obama... your choice.

    January 27, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. Four and The Door

    Ron Paul does add some great points to the overall discussion of the role of Federal Government in America. I agree with his view much more than Obama's view. They are pretty much exact opposites. In Paul's view government's role is very limited and in Obama's view the government runs everything, from picking technology winners ( and doing a really crappy job of it ) to taking control of health, housing, energy and every other industry it can get itself wedged into. Ron Paul's interpretation is much truer to American values. The one thing that takes Paul out of the running however, is his isolationist approach to world affairs. Like it or not, America has a role in the global economy and international affairs.

    January 27, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  6. SuperD

    Don't use that 1% crap in your posts. That is OWS fantasy and is full of BS, just like those dirty pigs are.

    January 27, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Ron Paul or Bust - Romney and Gingrich will NEVER EVER EVER be President.
    ===========================================================
    That's is NOT what the polls say with regards to Romney. Romney actually has a VERY good chance of beating Obama given Obama's 4 years of failure. Why do you think Obama and Obama's lackeys attack Romney on a daily basis????

    January 27, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Truth asked:

    Exactly what positions do Paul and Obama share that would allow this swap?
    ------------
    The only one that matters. Both of them do not trust the Republican establishment. Each and every time they gain control of either the Congress or the White House it has led to self-inflicted economic disasters. Every Time.

    January 27, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. gg

    just wondering -if a person does not have health care and in a accident or becomes ill and in the hospital-who pays or does he or she not get treatment canada

    January 27, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. Texas Doc

    Newsflash to Jack Welch: Dr. Paul's supporters do not represent what you stand for, they are independent of your outdated GOP for the rich and powerful. Dr. Paul represents us, not you.

    January 27, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. freedom27

    If Paul loses I will run for congress in my district as a Paul-clone, and bring more of his style to congress. I know many others who are readying campaigns at state and local levels for 2014 and 2016. The Establishment is over. It only takes a few of us and we will take back congress. Paul is running as an inspiration to all of us. We will win.

    January 27, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Rand Paul has proven "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" and that tree is his father and they are both bad news for this country.

    January 27, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I welcome Ron Paul to the debate. The problems that Ron Paul has are several. He may have supporters that really rally to his side, but they never make it to the polls in large enough numbers to make a difference. I think that he came in 2nd in New Hampshire and a quasi 2nd place in Iowa and a definate last in South Carollina. He can sound good, but never make a big enough mark to do anything worth while.

    I also disagree with his assumptions that he seems to have. I don't see that businesses are going to be honest and forthright all the time. Since when do businesses do the right thing if it hurts the bottom line? If it gets them something that helps, then they will do it. He also doesn't seem to understand what the federal government can do because it is where it is...

    Functions shouldn't just be for law enforcement and military actions. Where would we be if he were in charge with regard the space program? We'd have been out done time and time again by the Soviets and lost our science advantage. That created jobs in many places. I guess that Ron Paul would have just put weapons in space and nothing else. So much for advancing science.

    January 27, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. Grand Oil Party

    If Ron Paul had any balls, he'd run as a third party candidate instead of playing footsie with the Republicans. I like Paul, but he'snot a Republican. His libertarian stance on foreign policy and civil liberties attracts liberal and conservative voters alike and even if he loses the presidential election he would show that there is a place for a third party in US politics and that alone would be worth him running.

    January 27, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  15. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    dagoberto - We are not against Obama. We are against the sorry state of the politics of this country.
    Ron Paul or bust
    ========================================================================
    Again, a total contradiction. How can you claim to be FOR a Libertarian, and then say you are for a leftist that would grow government and make it even MORE overbearing than it already is???

    If all Ron Paul supporters are all this illogical then there is NO way to reach them.

    It is clear that Ron Paul will NOT win the Republican nomination because he is only getting around 20% of the vote. He would do MUCH better if he didn't have such a horrible foreign policy approach, especially when it comes to Iran. I suppose he would let Iran close the Straits of Hormuz?

    January 27, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Truth wrote:

    I think it is the usual lefties playing games on this board...
    ------------–
    How typical. Whenever reality does not conform to the conservative world view, it must be because some sort of traudulent conspiracy is being perpetrated. And if it isn't a conspiracy of some sort, then it is a messaging problem.

    January 27, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  17. ST

    Ron Paul and his supporters can be handled with care but the question remains to be answered. Can Ron Paul tell his followers what to do and they will listen and act accordingly? Every part of my body tells, me the answer is: a BIG NO.

    January 27, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. Derek

    A lot of RP supports will vote Obama if RP is not running.. I would rather have Obama than any of the 3 clowns.

    January 27, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  19. Data Driven

    Based on typical comments from Paul supporters here, I wouldn't expect them to sigh wistfully in the voting booth and fill in the bubble next to the name of the vulture in the ironed jeans.

    January 27, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. Four and The Door

    Ken
    ... As for foreign policy, the others can't wait to start more wars. They talk about spreading democracy, but I guess they only want to do that when a country doesn't sell us cheap oil. How else to you explain why none of them want regime change in places like Saudi Arabia? Paul would rather defend out boarders here at home instead of the boarders over seas. Paul is right when he says we should set a positive example for the world and promote free trade rather that imposing our will with force.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
    Oil did not fly planes into buildings in New York and Washington. And America did not throw out Saddam Hussein's regime to capture Iraq's oil. Oil has nothing to do with Iran's nuclear arms ambitions. In the forseeable future the value of oil will be greatly diminished. I know it must be fun to imagine these great and evil conspiracies, but they just make no sense.

    January 27, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  21. v_mag

    Truth and Nothing But the Truth - Surely you jest.

    As a senator, President Obama and some other Dems voted against war in Iraq. So did Paul, but I don't think any other Repugnant did. I'm sure Obama could find common ground with Paul on lots of foreign policy stuff. They would both like to reign in military spending, as opposed to most Repugs who would lavish funds on military contractors. They might find common ground on the so-called War on Drugs. They would both like to get rid of the noxious "Patriot Act". I think Obama is a much better choice for libertarians than any of the screaming meemies running as R's.

    January 27, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Why do you think Obama and Obama's lackeys attack Romney on a daily basis????
    =========================

    Keep dreaming. At this point in the election, Romney has more baggage than Newt. And, BTW. All the Paul supporters who say they are registered Republicans more than likely ARE Republicans. This is what happens when a political party divides itself into fractions. All the nay saying in the world won't change just how toxic the Tea Party has become to Republicans.

    January 27, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. carlos

    Santorum and Gingrich won't be in many primary states. It means that we have to pick between Ron Paul and Romney. Giving those names I will pick Ron Paul. I mean, Romney is a nice guy but I dont like his stand for Israel. I dont care what's happen with Israel because they can take care very well of them. Santorum, Gingrich and Romney build up this circus about Iran just to favor the military complex. THEY NEED WARS TO KEEP SELLING WEAPONS AND THAT NEEDS TO STOP because we the tax payers are paying for those weapons.

    January 27, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. Todd C

    The "Ron Paul or bust" mentality is illogical. Assume for a minute he does not win the nomination (otherwise this discussion is moot), would you rather Dr. Paul and his ideas have influence in the next administration, or would you rather throw your vote away on a third party and have no influence whatsoever on the policies of the next president?

    January 27, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  25. Marie MD

    If the rethug lemmings were to follow welch then they should have to vote for newterman leroy as welch has also cheated and married his mistress. Not sure which marriage this last one is though.
    You did good at GE for yourself and you left with millions. Now go buy an island or landfill somewhere and STFU!! Thank you
    You are part of what is wrong with this country with your corporation background.

    January 27, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
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