January 27th, 2012
11:28 AM ET
10 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."

Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @politicalticker

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."

Also see:

Analysis: When disclosure is so simple it's complicated

Romney campaign will amend disclosure forms

Jeb bush offers no endorsement, but a warning

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

    gg asked:

    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
    They will get free care, as required by law.

    We all pay for it in the form of higher costs and fees charged by the hospitals, the doctors, all of the actual care providers. Mitt Romney referred to them last night as "free riderrs." This in turn raises the cost of health care for the rest of us who do pay for our health care costs, which in turn raises costs to health insurance providers who in turn raises premiums charged to those with health care coverage. People getting free care sends costs into a tight upward spiral.

    January 27, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. FM

    I do think GOP is going to regret very much for what they tried to do in Iowa and let it go. They really hit Ron Paul hard and stopped. He went to show up in N. Hampshire and S. Carolina and now it will be in Florida. GOP could had hit him harder and harder in Iowa without allowing him to have an inch to breath!

    January 27, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    "Oil did not fly planes into buildings in New York and Washington."
    Neither did Iraqi's.

    January 27, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. Jkv372

    Media is getting scared that Ron Paul will win the nomination and that is the reason they are trying so hard. CNN needs to drop out and actually provide news. They should stop telling people how to think.

    January 27, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. Henry Miller

    "If you alienate them…either they'll stay home or they'll work against you."


    January 27, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. Ron Supporter

    Another 1% who is scared to death of Ron Paul. Why? Because they can't buy him like they have every other republican. He is not for sale.

    This is the end of the Republican party they have lost all credibility.

    January 27, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. ronpaulisafriendofmine

    welch, you are nothing but a pathetic has been who needs to go away. your opinion matters to no one! You should probably no better messing with ron paul supporters, go ask hannity 😉

    January 27, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. Jilli

    Right...be nice to the bigot, and don't worry about all those Hispanics, Blacks etc. that his newsletter has offended. Oh, that's right, republicans have – through their actions – written off those demographics long ago. What a pathetic response from Mr. Welch.

    January 27, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. Miss Such-and-Such

    This article assumes up-front that Paul is not going to be the next President. Typical egotistical power-brokering. Paul is the best qualified applicant for the job.

    January 27, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  10. sterling

    the republican party will not get a majoritiy of the paul supporters. so welcome to another 4 years of obama.

    January 27, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    OK, so he wants to lure the Paul supporters in, using the analogy of people you are about to lay off: is he completely tone-deaf with regards to the analogy? Does he really want the Paul supporters to feel like people who have been laid off?

    January 27, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  12. devinesara

    It's Ron Paul or Gary Johnson for me. There will be no mainstream candidate.

    January 27, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  13. mqira

    Its Paul or no one.....be nice, be mean, ... i dont care....It is Paul or it is NOT REPUBLICAN....i will not stay repuib with all your negativity.

    January 27, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  14. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    It doesn't matter what Ron Paul's supporters want or will do. The election process determines the candidate. Ron Paul doesn't look like he'll be the Republican nominee based on the results. Go vote for Obama if you so desire. Just don't complain when Obama strips you of what few rights and freedoms you have left and leaves the country in financial ruin. Just know that YOU help him do it.

    January 27, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  15. Dan

    I and other Ron Paul supporters will not vote for the gop candidate unless its Ron Paul. Bottom line. I will not vote for big government war mongerers, wall street insiders, and NWO puppets. Ron Paul will go libertarian, Gary Johnson will let him be the Nominee and Johnson as the VP, and they will do well

    January 27, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  16. Joanne

    No matter the outcome of this particular election, "those wonderful voters" will still be here long after dinosaurs like you are extinct. Ron Paul may be a bit ahead of his time, but it is surely coming. The GOP will evolve or perish.

    January 27, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  17. TheMendicantTruth

    I'm a Ron Paul supporter, and if he's not nominated, my vote goes to Obama. If Romney has been endorsed by Welch, then I'm sure the hell not voting for him.

    Gingrich = crooked, corrupt, lying politician.
    Romney = crooked capitalist, benefited off of many frauds including the MA. Medicare fraud.
    Santorum = fundamentalist religious nutjob who should never be allowed near the office of the Presidency.

    January 27, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  18. John Magness

    I love how these one percenters think because we registered as Republicans for Ron Paul they own our vote, as if to think we would vote for any GOP republican. I would think most Ron Paul supporters are for the cause of liberty and not any GOP Nominee. I am not here to vote Obama out of office, I'm here to vote FOR Ron Paul. I don't like the way the system is run right now and I don't see it changing under Newt, Mitt, Rick or Obama. So me to me it doesn't matter unless Ron Paul is the president. If Ron Paul is not nominated, it is almost certain people will re register under another party in the millions. All this money the one percenters poured into Super PACS will be wasted. tough $#!+

    January 27, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. Joshua Matlock


    The GOP cannot possibly defeat KingBama without our 25%
    Paul does better with independents and young voters than any other candidate and that is how Obama won the 2008 election.
    If the GOP were smart they would nominate Dr. Paul.

    January 27, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. James

    I'm voting for Paul or not at all. I will never vote for the msm choice again.

    January 27, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. Cam

    That's why Gingrich is acting the way he is. Gingrich has been very nice to Paul; he must have been taking the establishment's advise. "Wonderful voters" – Welch is kissing up too.

    Why I will not pull the lever for Romney; Romney is Obama with a R.

    January 27, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. don kirk

    as long as the other ones, are so determined to get us involved in another war they can forget my vote.

    January 27, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. Mike Brooks

    I am a Paul supporter. If it's between Romney/Gingrich or Obama - I'll write in Paul's name. *Unless* one of them guarantees they will name Ron Paul to replace Geithner. Then, any of the three (which I view with the same disdain) will get my vote!

    January 27, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. Joanne

    Over 12,000 people have signed the pledge to vote for Ron Paul as a candidate or as a write -in. We have 10 more months to gather pledges. Nobody can win without us go to voteronpaul.us and join us.

    January 27, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. GibbyG

    They're right about one thing. Dr. Paul's supporters (like the 3 votes in my household) will not just vote for the establishment candidate anymore. I will not ever pull the Republican ticket again just to beat the Democrats. If it's not Ron Paul, Obama can have it. Romney, Gingrich, Santorum are just more of the same, and the same hasn't been working out. Obama, Gingrich, Romney and Santorum aren't going to actually cut ANY spending. Ron Paul is the only one who will cut spending, stop the illegal wars, and worry more about rebuilding this country than some country overseas! More of the same means economic collapse, so I say let the Dems have it if Ron Paul isn't the nominee.

    January 27, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8