January 27th, 2012
11:28 AM ET
2 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. tumbleweed

    Truth, I fell off my chair reading something you've written that was actually True. Oh wait, I just saw a pig fly by my window..

    January 27, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. Mike

    Ron Paul or bust! Man I love liberty and freedom.

    January 27, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  3. facepalm

    Paul supporters are intelligent and will not support any other candidate.

    January 27, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  4. Woody

    How well we should be treated going forward? How about the way we've been treated so far? Welch and others can go to hell.

    January 27, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  5. Rob

    BTW – why would I listening to Welch and his daughter. Seriously, I have been a republican my whole life, but this time will not vote for the alternative to Paul.

    January 27, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  6. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    So all of Ron Paul's supporters are Obama supporters wearing Ron Paul masks??!! This does makes sense since most of the left are loons so I can now see the attraction between the two.

    I just wish that one of the Ron Paul supporters can explain why Ron Paul is in the Republican Party and not the Democrat Party??? Are you just trying to create havoc???

    January 27, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    Truth and yada yada: "Legalize it, regulate it, tax it."

    I thought you didn't believe in regulation and taxes? Like Ron Paul, who believes in freedom for everyone except woman to make decisions about their own bodies, you are a hypocrite.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    January 27, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. L.C.

    Yes, I plan on writing-in Ron Paul, but hopefully I'll just need to check a box.

    January 27, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. LCE

    To be honest does anyone really care about Jack Welch's opinion is. He is a disgraced business executive caught cheating on his second wife. In addition he spent millions of shareholders dollars for personal reasons. He is a narrow minded and
    insincere guy symbolic of what is wrong with corporate America!

    January 27, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. ThinkAgain

    Jerick, you say you're part of the 99% and list Middle Class workers, and yet, you can't see how Ron Paul's ideas favor the wealthy 1%. In Ron Paul's world, only those with money get access to education and health care; go live in Latin America like I have if you want to see first hand the results of Ron Paul's ideas.

    President Obama, in word and action, supports the Middle Class, reasonable regulation of capitalism and the obligation of ALL of us to contribute fairly in terms of taxes. He also has shown his commitment to making our country safer and better able to compete in the future in the global marketplace. Ron Paul is a naive isolationist who's policies would send us to third-world status in the blink of an eye.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    January 27, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  11. xRedfoxx

    It's hard to keep voters that won't support big government or continued involvement in wars. Give us a candidate that believes in fiscal responsibility and will stay out of our personal lives, and you'll have a winner!!

    January 27, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. GonzoinHouston

    Talk about a need for a big tent! I feel for the RNC. How on earth do you get the Ron Paul supporters and the Tea Partiers to not just vote for the GOP candidate, but to donate, volunteer, and campaign for him? It's going to take a lot more than just hatred for Obama and a bunch of super-PAC money. Let me know how that works out for you.

    January 27, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. rufus

    Don't write Ron Paul's obit just yet. At aminimum, he will play a role at the convention. Who knows, maybe someone other that Mitt or Newt will emerge as a brokered candidate? Stranger things have happened. If it is Mitt or Newt, though, I will wirte in Dr. Paul or vote for Gary Johnson. I want some change I can believe in. Obama, Mitt and Newt are more of the same.

    January 27, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. Michael Hicks

    Keep it up Cnn you joke of a news network. Ron Paul isn't dropping out. Trending is a joke of a subject.

    January 27, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. Livininsd

    See Obama or Ron Paul. The neocons are trying to manipulate the masses with their amazing psychology of manipulation. Sanatorum and Newt are on the way out. I hope they support Ron Paul.

    January 27, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. Pete/Ark

    Courtesy is a two-way street...WHEN Paul goes he goes, he (and his supporters...particularly his acid mouthed son) needs to do so with grace and dignity. Only those who give respect get respect...not always a hallmark of that crowd.

    January 27, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. Livininsd

    @steve "Ron Paul needs to drop out and take his supporters with him"

    Unfortunately Steve, no one would be left. Wake up.

    January 27, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  18. Paul

    Ron Paul's supporters will either stay home or split their vote between Obama and whoever the clown the Republicans nominate is.

    January 27, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  19. Matt

    vote for the PRESIDENT, not the PARTY! For all the Ron Paul doubters out there, remember that if he was elected, our great country wouldn't just turn libertarian. Washington will balance out any extreme changes any potential president will make. However, Ron Paul is the ONLY candidate who hasn't been lying to the American people. He doesn't cheat, he doesn't lobby. He sees a bigger picture of how this country was founded and to get back on track to our roots. A TRUE LEADER NEEDS TO SEE THE BIG PICTURE.

    Ron Paul isn't going anywhere, but media sure wants him to leave (CNN)

    Time for real change, and not just the idea of it

    January 27, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. Jason

    The only way GOP might get my vote after the Bush diarrhea is RON PAUL else obama is 100x better than firing mitten of cheater newt

    January 27, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  21. Mr Howdy 2 u

    I dont thing the GOP is going to get much support from Paul's supporters! Here's why....the GOP has moslty espoused nonsense and special interest over the past thirty years....RON PAUL IS A DIRECT PROTEST AGAINST THAT SPECIAL INTEREST!!! Those people supporting Paul are sick and tired and sick some more with what has happened to this nation. I think more than anything else Ron Paul is a PROTEST AGAINST THE UNDERLYING CORRUPTION THAT HAS CRIPPLED THIS NATION AND TURNED US ALL INTO VERY ANGRY SOMETIMES VERY VIOLENT PEOPLE.....the GOP has been a huge part of that guile and betrayal of the first principles upon which any democracy MUST STAND!!! If you cant be honest about your own situation what can you be honest about? For this reason I doubt that we are going to see a big support base unless the GOP STARTS TO SHOW SOME REAL UNDERSTANDING AND CARE...being nice is a lot OF BS and the supporters of Ron Paul do not appreciate being patronized....including me.

    January 27, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  22. Michael Hicks

    Just a big business person I never heard of trying to put ides in the sheep's head. CNN you really are showing what is wrong with this country. Nothing put pure propaganda that will go down in history as what killed this country.

    January 27, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. DFinCA

    It's amazing the top headline driven story CNN has to post right now about Ron Paul is Jack Welch talking about his exit "sometime down the road in August ,or in August." CNN why in the world on the day before a vote you would post media that focuses on a candidate's theoretical exit is beyond me, regardless of candidate.

    January 27, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  24. dd

    If Ron Paul isn't the nominee then why vote for another sellout? Write Paul in. This has already been said multiple times, but Obama is back in if Romney or Gingrich get the nod. Everybody knows it.

    January 27, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    The Real Tom Paine - Truth, its customary for people to leave an administration, so please check your history on cabinet resignations. Also, given the unwillingness of the GOP to do things that they origianlly proposed because Obama is in the White House, its not surprising some would leave.
    ===========================================================================================
    I was actually referring the Democrats in Congress, not the Whitehouse. But even there, people are coming and going WITHIN A YEAR. That is not usually the case. It is clearly a sign that there are problems in the Whitehouse, besides the big one called Obama.

    January 27, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
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