April 5th, 2009
11:45 AM ET
13 years ago

Welch gives high marks to Obama

(CNN) - He was a supporter of former Republican presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and John McCain, but former GE CEO Jack Welch said Sunday President Obama deserves high marks for his initial months as commander-in-chief.

In an interview with CNN's John King on State of The Union, Welch said he continues to disagree with many of Obama's policies, but said the new president deserves "an 'A' in terms of leadership.”

"[I] like the way he's expressing a vision, the way he's brought a team together," Welch said. "He's done the vision thing, he's a great communicator and he's got a team-building skill that is really working."

Welch also had high praise for Obama's performance during his trip abroad, calling the president's recent town-hall meeting in Strasbourg, France "masterful."

"He didn't make one misstep - I thought his press conference in Strasbourg was an incredible job. The idea of explaining American exceptionalism in the context of Europe was as masterful a speech as I've ever heard."

Filed under: State of the Union
soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. IndependentfromTexas.

    Welcome back hater Welch!!! We know what integrity means after reading your book "Straight from my Gut" and your extra-marital affairs with HBR editor. Good preaching and getting back senses.

    April 5, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. Steve Smith

    At last, an accurate and thoughtful observation from a former "captain of industry" without the partisan rhetoric spewed by the vast majority of the party he supports. The world must be changing for the postiive. Continue to keep your eye on the prize President Obama.

    April 5, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. tina

    great job CNN for complete coverage of the presidents trip,i love my president.

    April 5, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  4. Ann

    "He didn't make one misstep "

    hello, he did some speeches, he didn't change the world.

    April 5, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. sngeorgia

    Proud of my President, pride in myself!

    April 5, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. Jack--the trip to Europe.....

    accomplished nothing-Obama got "0" fighting troops from NATO for use in Afghanistan and got no support on the stimulus program.
    Barack and Michelle won a beauty contest but nothing substantive.
    Obama wins-we lose. What else is new?

    April 5, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  7. Richard L

    President Obama said that America had been arrogant. That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who lived through the presidency of the arrogant Bush administration. He told it like it is.

    April 5, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  8. Richard Schladen

    When Neutron Jack praises Obama, that's a matter of great concern for those who worked at GE during his reign. Jack Welch is the epitome of arrogance and pure greed.

    April 5, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  9. sngeorgia

    Now.....the haters hate, Jack.

    April 5, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  10. Texas Teacher

    Obama was both gracious and insightful. He is perfectly aware that we can no longer cowboy our way through the rest of the world.

    Bush and Cheney destroyed our standing all over the world. Obama has to and must take a different tack! One that reflects the direction the whole world should be traveling. Finally, we must realize that "no man is an island!" Nor can any nation be one unto themselves. If we want to make it in the 21st century... if we want to be relative then we have to try to undo the Bush/Cheney fiasco and blaze a new trail! And Obama is just the man to do it.

    April 5, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. Joan , Ontario

    The statements from those who are so outraged that Pres. Obama acknowledged that at times some Americans have been arrogant are so "arrogant". They just don't get it. Now "Freedom Fries" and "Freedom Toast" are correctly called French fries and French toast. Now Europe should not be called "old" Europe or "new" Europe in critical terms. Pres. Obama also called on Europe to rethink their anti-Americanism and it sure looks from the outpouring of support and respect that he has received there that they are doing just that. To those who say he didn't get what he wanted from the talks, think again. He said he set the bar high and so he probably got exactly what he secretly hoped for. You never get everything you ask for. Had he set the bar low, he would have gotten even less. This administration knows exactly what it is doing. First class job!

    April 5, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  12. Mike in NYC

    @Camille – Atlanta:

    Most politicians are easy people to like on a personal level. Apparently Bush could make people warm up to him after 30 seconds of casual conversation. Social intelligence is pretty much a job requirement.

    "Trust" the US? "Good standing" with the rest of the world? Ain't gonna happen, once the honeymoon is over. I agree that Bush left a sour taste in people's mouths, but the same crowd that ran the show before is still in the driver's seat. BO is a mouthpiece, plain and simple. Sorry to disappoint you. Reality can sure bite.

    April 5, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. Proud American

    He's still a very smart man.

    April 5, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. Fed Up

    What kind of grades will you give Obama when the next terrorist attack happens? You won't be able to blame it on Bush – he is no longer president. You won't be able to blame it on Bush's "failed policies" since Obama has reversed them all.

    April 5, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. Simmy

    That is an honest man. A real man. I know John King probably wanted to zap his interview the way he did Axelrod's. Love it.

    April 5, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. Patty in Texas

    I think that it was shameful for Obama to call America "arrogant". This country had unselfishly given a great deal to the rest of the world. There are many other ways to achieve diplomacy goals than to bash America in other countries. I think that Obama made us as Americans look weak in the eyes of the world.

    April 5, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Wow a Republican who sounds reasonable and fair..... quite a surprise!

    April 5, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. Chenna Benna

    I'm glad Mr. Welch has changed his tone a bit. A few weeks ago, he was on another show crying that Obama should focus on the economy and the economy only. He also made it sound like he thought that the two months Obama has been in office was enough time to fix our ailing economy. Other Republicans need to come to the same conscientious that Obama is doing a good job in trying to put this country back on the right path. Yes his ideas are big and bold, but big problems call for big solutions.

    April 5, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. Mark, TX

    The truth must be told and the truth shall set you free. Yes, America has had years of Cowboy arrogancy. Let's admit our faults so we can see the light. America has an arrogant attitude. America thinks it is the world. The truth isMaerica is just a part of the whole puzzle called "the World" Amit it or not. Iamnot here to convince those that will remain arrogant. American's dorminant of the world – the dynasty is coming to an end. The rest of the world powers are spuning up and America has to change – whether it likes it or not.

    April 5, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  20. A Proud Arrogant American

    President Obama is leading this great soveriegn nation into the abyss of mediocrity. America was founded by men and women with
    revolutionary ideas based on freedom and self governance. I for one do not want to be part of a "World Union" in which other countries laws
    govern us.

    April 5, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  21. yuri

    BHO's commandin' and charismatic communicatin' cuisine was characteristically captivatin' even for the youthful audience in Strasbourg, France. There ain't no gainsayin' the fact that he captured their hearts with his cheerful chuckles.

    April 5, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  22. Cyrus

    Why is this guy still relevant? This guy is the embodiment of what is wrong with the financial and manufacturing sector. He is the same guy (and his wife), who keeps writing nonsense about the public sector and millions of Americans who are in the non-profit sector, trying to help others who are in need. And he is coming to TV to validate Obama?!

    You are retired, Jack. Go fish!

    April 5, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  23. Simmy

    That is an honest man. A real man. I know John King probably
    wanted to zap his interview the way he did Axelrod's. Love it.
    American girl,

    It's unAmerican of you to be so uninformed. Did you hear all of President Obama's remarks, or did you get it through the grapevine like you get your other information? He lifted American higher than Bush ever did. But he was balanced in his statements. He was honest. That Cult of Criticism you belong to is losing ground daily......Come out from among them and start thinking for yourself!

    April 5, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  24. Nora

    I am an Independent that has grown tired of both the left and the right wing of America. True Patriotism requires us to respect all points of view with judgment. As my mother use to say, “There are 2 sides to every story". Negativity is quite different from disagreement. I did not vote for Bush, but I felt terrible sadness when our standing in the world got so low that a shoe would be thrown at our President by a reporter from another country. Whether you agree with our current President or not, the lack of respect for him is appalling. Several individuals who speak on National TV refuse to call him President Obama. Have we become a nation that can no longer voice our discontent without disrespect? How is that Patriotic? Patriotism is defined by loving your country, which includes people you don’t agree with.

    April 5, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  25. Andrea Anderson

    Thank You God for President Obama and our First Lady!` with Mr Obama in the White House, our enemies and allies know that we are once again the best nation in the world! Thank you Mrs Obama for your grace, style, hugs and beauty that is typical of Americn women! We appreciate you and your husband for being a beacon of light and hope in such a dismal world!

    April 5, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
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