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. DSBsky

    What a disgustingly ridiculous article, you should be fired. Ron Paul will NOT exit.. Your a fool. he will Win. Just because old horses like you are stuck with blinders on doesn't mean the rest of the wolrd is. That's CNN for you. Lying through their teeth to try to get Ron Paul to bow out.. t^^t CNN

    January 27, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. Duckman

    GOP's only hope to win 2012 is Ron Paul. Suggesting he should leave is shooting yourself in the foot.

    January 27, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. DSBsky

    PS gladly give way? are you out of your dam mind? I'd rather shoot myself in the face than elect any of the other GOP phony, corrupt politicans. Ron Paul is the only REAL candidate. The rest of them are just puppets on strings, looking to keep everything just the way it is. Your a fool if you think Rons supports will support anyone else. We know what the words Honor and candor and loyalty mean. To bad CNN only knows what lying means..

    January 27, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. DSBsky

    Yep, if Ron is out I will vote Obama, God help me. There is no way I'd vote for anyone else. They are frauds in the most disgusting ways possible..

    January 27, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. dom youngross

    Ron Paul supporters will write in Paul's name. Not vote for anyone else.

    No amount of horse trading will change this: Paul will be the next president or Bushobama gets a 4th term.

    This isn't about the next four years. It's about the next 50. A Romney, Gingrich, or Santorum nominee will be the beginning of the end of BOTH the republican and democrat parties as known today.

    Ron Paul, 2012.

    January 27, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Jack Welch talking about being nice to people you are about to lay off is about as appropriate as Al Capone being nice to the folks he had killed.

    January 27, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. Ian

    What a bunch of losers we have in this country.

    Here is a man, Ron Paul who is against war and preaches Personal Responsiblity and the idiot liberals still hate him?

    Wow......what is so bad about taking care of yourself and not depending on the government?

    The man lives very modestly in a 300k home and should be praised for his ideas.

    January 27, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. Smevans

    Ron Paul supporter here. I have voted for Bush both times he ran. I am not going to make that mistake again voting for a big business puppet. If Ron Paul drops out I will be writing his name in. Hate to say it but I would rather have Obama then the clowns Romney or Gingrich.

    January 27, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. Will

    I'm a major Ron Paul supporter and won't consider voting for any of the other Republicans because I feel they represent the status quo. I'm assuming Paul will not secure the nomination. I will support him until he drops out, and then vote for Gary Johnson on the Libertarian ticket, who is an incredible candidate.

    January 27, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. Mark

    I'm a registered Democrat–but I will vote for Dr. Paul if he is the Republican nominee. Otherwise Obama. None of the other candidates are acceptable.

    January 27, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. yorma

    I'm voting Paul!!! The only one trying to save us from the government who brought us the patriot act and the ndaa.

    January 27, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    Truth, its because of redistricting, and you know it. Right now, the redistricting favors the GOP because of the state legislatures are dominated by them, even with all the court challenges.

    January 27, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. AM

    Among his other strengths, Ron Paul has integrity. I don't see any integrity in those other GOP clowns, the others won't get my vote.

    January 27, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. mary

    Hmmm, rachel maddow has also been wondering what Ron Paul supporters will do when he is not the nominee. . . . Gee, what is he polling at nationally? whatever the number, it could be decisive in the Nov election.

    January 27, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. Me2

    If Paul drops out, we can all kiss goodbye the single best chance this country has ever had for genuine change. The status quo would win yet again. I'd vote for Obama purely out of spite if Gingrich or Santorum became the nominee. Republicans made us suffer through 8 years of Bush (bang-up job guys!), Republicans should have to suffer through 8 years of Obama. He's only continuing what Bush was doing anyway. Choice my ass.

    January 27, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  16. No name

    "He needs to drop out and take his cult with him."
    His "cult" is unfortunately a very active and very vocal group of young voters, moderates, independents, and disillusioned democrats, who are more likely to vote for Obama than Romney or Gingrich. Welch has a point. Alienating this group will prove very costly for Republicans.

    January 27, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  17. Jesse Penick

    Why won't these people wake up? It's Ron Paul or nothing! It doesn't matter how you treat us!

    January 27, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    If you think Ron Paul supporters will actually vote for any of the other GOP contenders you are out of your mind and just goes further to show just how out of touch elitists like Welch are. Basically he is trying to bribe Ron Paul into a spot so that he "feels good about himself". This guy is so disillusioned and so used to being able to buy people's dignity that his corruption shows right through. No better than Palin telling the other GOP's to "act more like Paul because his issues are important to people". Again, condoning just telling people what they want to hear without the passion and principle that Ron Paul displays time and time again.

    January 27, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  19. Phil

    Dr. Paul is not going anywhere! RP 2012

    January 27, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  20. Kelsy

    The GOP is seriously mistaken to think that if they get Paul out of the race we will just hand our vote over to their nominee. The election isn't until November, why are they trying to get down to one person so quickly??

    January 27, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  21. Mindie from Indie

    Those "Wonderful Voters" are teh most vile hateful racist people in the nation. Paul voters will vote Obama – no one in their sane mind would vote for newter or mittens.

    January 27, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  22. ExLonghorn

    I intend to vote for Ron Paul...as a third party candidate or write-in if necessary. The Republicans seem to think that Paul's supporters will simply gravitate to whomever gets the nomination. That belief is incorrect.

    January 27, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. Norman Autrey

    I'm a Democrat, but have two sons in their early 20s both Paul supporters as are many of their friends. I have had some long talks with them to understand their backing of Ron Paul. After watching last nights debate, I sort of understand why they back him. He has a real sense of humor and his one-liners are priceless. These youngsters are not going to vote for Romney and Romney will be the GOP candidate. Paul is a spoiler this time around. Most of his supporters will vote for Obama. I wish I could support Paul but have been following him since '88. He's a likable old nut, but a nut is a nut. Peace

    January 27, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. LM

    I can't get past the black humor of Welch talking about elections in terms of layoffs. Layoffs is exactly what would come from Romney or Gingrich's supporters putting their man in the Oval Office.

    January 27, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  25. LouAz

    And Jack Welsh knows A LOT ABOUT LAYING PEOPLE OFF !!! He has probably shipped offshore 10 times the number of jobs that his Picked Piper Romney has. A pox on both of them.

    January 27, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
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