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."

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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. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    The Real Tom Paine - Truth, sounds like you've accepted the inevitable and are admitting Obama will win.
    hahaha.... The more Obama and his lackeys attack Romney, the more I know Obama is history. And then there are all the Democrat resignations. Rats from a sinking ship. Obama is a four year nightmare that we'll all wake up from come November thanks to Romney.

    January 27, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. Lhc

    Ron Paul is the only candidate that can beat Obama so nominating Romney or Gingrich is futile. I for one, will write Ron Paul's name in if I have to, and I know plenty others who will do the same .

    January 27, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |

    Who cares about Ron and his Paulbots? The GOBP wingnuts certainly don't. They ignore them each election. They are actually chasing Newt now.

    January 27, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  4. Sha

    Ron Paul supporters like myself support him based on his policies and principles, not his personality. We support the ideals, not the persona and those ideals don't just transfer over to another candidate. I will never vote for anyone but Paul, it's Paul or not at all. Because if it isn't Paul, it just doesn't matter, the candidates are interchangeable fluff.

    January 27, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  5. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    YouCantHandleTheTruth - Welch, whose former company received a $139 Billion bailout from the government?
    Please direct your anger to Jeffrey Immelt, current GE CEO, member of Obama's Job Council. He's exported tens of thousands of jobs to China and GE has paid no income taxes. So Obama is learning from the best about how to NOT create USA jobs and how NOT to get companies to pay taxes. But Obama sure does talk, talk, talk, a good game, if only he had some.

    January 27, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. Olaf Big

    Ron Paul is a nice guy and it's good to see him shoot down the nonsense other candidates utter during the debates with common sense remarks. Of course, you can't govern the country based on his views, but the republicans do need him to fend off Gingrich among other things.

    January 27, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  7. Vibegirl

    Sorry Mr. Welch, this "wonderful voter" is only a Republican because of Ron Paul and his message. I think I speak for the majority of his supporters when I say this, just like Dr. Paul, we cannot be bought. Our loyalty is with him, not the Republican party. Ron Paul 2012!

    January 27, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  8. mojo jojo

    @rob. How are you making your case? You're just name calling like a little child.

    January 27, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  9. Steve Irwin

    "All four of our children are huge Ron Paul supporters. So we're living with this." -Mrs. Welch.

    I hope those kids are giving mom and dad hell over this.

    January 27, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. Griffin

    As a non-partisan regular American guy, I see it this way: Paul > Obama > Romney > Gingrich > Santorum. Obviously, I take civil rights and a strong national defense (as opposed to offense) to be very important issues. I am one of Paul's supporters. If Paul is out, so is the GOP in my mind. There's nothing the GOP can do to keep people like me; they are worse and more corrupt than the Democrats. Paul was the only exception.

    January 27, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  11. Mythic Mystic

    A few questions asked of Ron Paul and his supporters I would like to ask those who support Romney, Newt, and Santorum:

    1) Do you plan on dropping out and when you do will you run 3rd Party if you do not get the nomination? (To the Rom/Newt/Santa)
    2) Newt and Santorum cannot win the nomination due to the fact they are not on the ballot in every state like Romney and Paul. With their aversion to Mitt Romney when they drop out will they throw their support to Ron Paul or flip-flop like always and support Romney?
    3) (To supporters) If your candidate does not get the nomination will you support Ron Paul or allow Obama to win?

    I could have about a dozen more, but when Paul is asked an insulting question, ask it about your guy and yourself too. God bless America and God bless you all regardless if you hate Paul or love him.

    January 27, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  12. Paul Ron

    Ron Paul or Obama. It's the GOP's call. Im guessing they will make the wrong choice...

    Wakey wakey time America. This r3volution will not be televised...

    January 27, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  13. General Davis

    Welch doesn't get it. People support Paul because they like his ideas, so their support isn't transferable to any of these cookie-cutter Republican lunatics. And if Paul runs as a third party candidate, the Republicans will lose everything.

    January 27, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  14. Corey

    Only person I will vote for in this election is Ron Paul, and like many of his supporters, we will sit out this election if he is not on the ballot, or we will write in his name for a third party. Either way FU status quot politicians.

    January 27, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. Kymermosst

    I have a lot of respect for Jack Welch and all that he did, but these comments disgust me. They represent the selfish, short-sightedness that plagues modern politics. I agree that Republicans should be nice to Ron Paul. But not so they can put on a happy face and try to pull the wool over the eyes of his supporters. How about, instead, they drag themselves out of their scripted, pigeon-holed set of beliefs and acknowledge that he has some good ideas, and that he is a breath of fresh air. Ron Paul may never get my vote, but I certainly respect him for his willingness to be a human being, to shake things up a bit, and to campaign based on the issues rather than attacking other candidates and writing off ideas from anyone who isn't him.

    Thank you, Ron Paul!

    January 27, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. max

    i think the republicans and democrats are seen as basicly "cut from the same cloth" by most folks that support RP

    January 27, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. Ron Paul Fan

    Can't really see a Ron Paul supporter doing anything but writing in Ron Paul if he does indeed drop out.

    January 27, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. Corey

    Does everyone here or in the US realize that Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are not even on the ballots for states that equate to almost 600 delegates? Its between Paul and Romney, and to me its a no brainer. Paul all the way.

    January 27, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. 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. Your level of understanding on the basics of political history is at its usual sub-terranean level.

    January 27, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  20. Thomas

    Jack Welch ?

    Who cares what this dinosaur thinks . Where was he when Bush was driving the car ?

    January 27, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. Integrity Matters

    Too late to be walking on eggshells around Paul and us supporters. GOP should have thought about that a long time ago. I've been a Republican ever since I could vote (30 years), but now I'm an Independent. We've been ripped off by Fox News, disqualified from polls, ignored by the media and slandered by the media. We've been belittled by Hannity, O'Rielly, Beck, Limbaugh and virtually every other prominent republican (save Palin).

    I'm sick of hearing people say they like Ron Paul except for his foreign policy. What is there for a concervative to like about the other candidates? Well, we know what it is about two of them: their not Mitt Romney.

    Anyway, revolutions are won by fighting – not caving. We wont believe the neocons when they all of the sudden seem to be coming around to wanting to fix this country.

    January 27, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. Kris

    If Ron Paul isn't the nomination I will not vote for Republican or Democrat. I'll probably just write in Ron Paul because choosing the lesser of 2 evils is f'in stupid and a waste even more so than voting for someone that i know will not win.

    January 27, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. Rob

    If Ron Paul leaves, I leave.

    January 27, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. Larry

    Ha ha ha. I see some bad comments on here and it is funny. What is funny is that name calling obviously is not going to garner the Ron Paul supporter votes and the GOP knows that this represents the largest independent voters block. They know for a fact they can not win without those voters. So you idiots come here talking more sh!t and crap on other websites. Really, you must not want to win. Breaking news, Ron Paul won Iowa. He was too high in the polls for what happened to happen even if Santorum did get that surge. How come they all of a sudden under panic decided to not require photo IDs to vote. This was because there were voters in the other campaigns voting in multiple precincts in order to get their votes up. I would not be proud that my candidate could only win by cheating. Statisically, also Ron Paul tied for first in the straw poll. He is also on all the ballets. Only other person can do that which is Mitt. Ron Paul in the national poll statically can beat Obama. Anyone else is a loser. So you should just all stop kidding yourselves. All this interview shows us is where part of the corruption is coming from. Hey isn't this guy benefiting from the bailouts? Wasn't he part of the problem in the first place with GE? You Newt and Santorum folks need to realize the facts and get onboard with the real winning ticket that will stick it to these corrupted fools and help us the people get our country back.

    January 27, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  25. L.C.

    If I could re-write the author's last paragraph of: "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."

    It would be to this: "If you let them go, they're going to go into the booth and still vote for who they believe in," she said. "If you alienate them…they will just be forced to fight for freedom and for Ron Paul, even harder."

    January 27, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
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