Execs' Obama bashing may backfire

Public hatred of big business may outweigh the complaints of Jack Welch and others.

By Jason Notte Oct 10, 2012 4:14PM

Jack Welch trashes President Barack Obama's jobs numbers, a sitting CEO threatens layoffs if Obama is re-elected and a poll of bankers and private equity execs shows little love for the Commander in Chief.


None of that is necessarily bad for the president's campaign.


Given the American public's distrust and outright disdain for Wall Street and the financial establishment, the Obama campaign may be somewhat pleased with being disparaged by some of the sector's fatter cats.


Back in May, Gallup discovered that fewer than one in five Americans trusted big business. In August, a poll of high school students by the University of Arizona found that 75% agreed with the following statement: "The stock market is rigged mostly to benefit greedy Wall Street bankers."


During the Occupy Wall Street protests at this time last year, a CBS poll found that 43% of Americans agreed with the protestors, while 30% weren't sure. Wall Street is just as hard on itself; the Makovsky Wall Street Reputation Study of financial industry marketing execs stated that 96% believed their industry invites negative public perception through its actions or inaction and 74% believe that increased industry regulation would help restore trust.


That wasn't the audience former General Electric (GE) chief Welch was addressing on Twitter last Friday when he suggested that "these Chicago guys" had manipulated jobs numbers that dropped the unemployment rate from 8.1% to 7.8% and added 873,000 jobs to the rolls -- the highest tally in nine years. It also wasn't the audience Welch was seeking on Wednesday when, after terminating his writing contract with Fortune in the wake of public criticism, he wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal bolstering his position and said that "to suggest that the input to the BLS data-collection system is precise and bias-free is -- well, let's just say, overstated."


Welch was clearly aiming for the 58% of bankers and private equity executives said they'd vote for challenger Mitt Romney, according to a poll by Fortune's Term Sheet newsletter. Of the Fortune poll's 1,800 respondents, 80% said the economy was the election's key issue. Only 28% of them contributed to a candidate's campaign, however, which puts some financial gravity behind Welch's words.


Unfortunately for Welch, there are plenty of folks critical of big business and folks like himself in his own industry -- and even at his own publication. Fortune's senior editor Stephen Gandel pointed out Tuesday that GE shed nearly 100,000 jobs with Welch at the helm, compared to the 800,000 jobs the BLS' survey of individuals says the economy added since Obama entered office. Even compared to the BLS' narrower survey of employers that leaves out groups including the self-employed, the 60,000 jobs lost in that survey still bests Welch's GM record.


Meanwhile, Westgate Resorts CEO David Siegel sent out an e-mail Monday to his 7,000 employees of privately-held Westgate Resorts, many of them in the battleground state of Florida, warning them their jobs are at risk if the president is re-elected.


"The economy doesn't currently pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is another 4 years of the same Presidential administration," he said in the e-mail.


There's a chance that Siegel's still a bit irate that he had to stop work on his 90,000-square foot home four years ago to pour money into his company during the recession. The home, which is the subject of the pointed documentary, "The Queen of Versailles," merited a mention in the e-mail when Siegel hinted that he'd start working on it again if Obama loses.


Siegel said he was forced to stop work on the home four years ago because he had to pour all his money back into the company during the lean years. The only partially finished home is on the market for $65 million, but Siegel he's ready to start work on it again -- assuming Obama is defeated. Maybe he missed the portion of the Makovsky Wall Street study in which 81% of marketing execs believe Wall Street pay will continue to batter the industry reputation.U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference from the White House /Larry Downing/Reuters


So if that's who's against Obama, who in the business community is for him? Small business owners, if reluctantly. Though 47% of owners who responded to a survey released Tuesday by small business site Manta say they're leaning toward Romney, 57% say they believe Obama will win. Those completely supporting the president seem to like the Affordable Care Act and increased taxes on high income earners, as long as those taxes pay for better infrastructure. Even respondents who aren't leaning Obama's way say he's more in touch with average Americans.


If Obama can get his campaign literature into more mom-and-pop shops and boutiques and out of executive washrooms and homes fit for guillotine-bound French royalty, it may be his soundest campaign strategy yet.


Tags: GE
854Comments
Oct 11, 2012 1:51PM
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Sounds like he's getting desperate trying to blackmail his employees into voting for Romney.  
Oct 11, 2012 1:50PM
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As an independent, this article just helped galvanized my vote for Obama.   We are all making sacrifices and that should include people the likes of Mr. Welch. 
Oct 11, 2012 1:50PM
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Sure some business practices in Banking and Investments are certainly subject.  But who controls them?   Obama and his followers are stupid to hit on any business as our only hope to save America is to make business grow in the U. S.          Obama has already shown his ignorance of business in Solindra and others. You want  to grow the economy?  Grow business and manufacturing in the U.S. by reducing burden and regulation.
Oct 11, 2012 1:46PM
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anyone who owns any stock is not in disdain of wall sreet. so mr. obama is wrong with that statement.
Oct 11, 2012 1:45PM
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Obama does not have a clue and Biden is senile great pair to have running a country
Oct 11, 2012 1:43PM
Oct 11, 2012 1:38PM
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You have to help yourself, the Government cannot and will not fix your life.  If you don't look out for your own best interest who will?   Obama needs to learn the lesson that most americans learned when the bottom fell out. you have to cut spending and live within your means, you cannot borrow your way out of debt.  Romney may not be the answer, But he sure as heck cannot be any worse!
Oct 11, 2012 1:38PM
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This guy says that being demonized by the only people that hold hope of resurrecting our economy may be a good thing for Barack Hussein. This country is so screwed!!!
Oct 11, 2012 1:38PM
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"who started this war against big business,"

Self-inflicted, I'm afraid. Not too long ago, some Founder passed the baton to his Board Directors. Instead of being honest ethical and having character, they voted someone's brother-in-law in and paid him plenty to nod yes when told to. Working? Go dial up your CEO and tell him/her that you have some great ideas. IF you get through, you get fired for doing so. IF you don't, you get fired for trying. The "war" is a front to destroy useless and unwarranted bureaucracy and an attempt to put a New World Order in place in the former Land of the FREE. Sorry... but you TREAD ON ME, I shove two fangs into your body and make sure you have a slow and painful way down and out. The title CEO was manufactured for only one purpose and it isn't a good purpose.
Oct 11, 2012 1:34PM
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People have to remember this isn`t 1970.Most of the media and 90% of CEO`s are

right wingers.The media gave GWB a free ride for 8 years.The dow is up over 60%

with Obama and yet our right wing media doesn`t tell that.

Oct 11, 2012 1:33PM
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someone remind jack before he wets the bed he needs to take his catheter off. please remind mitt that to change his bed pan along with his wifes. she looks 15 years older than Margaret Thatcher. the only bi-partisanship mitt has been around is his sons eyebrows coming together. send one of those future boy scout leaders to the army and have them shave that onebrow into two brows. Paul no! don't pull that plug your going to kill all of our voters.

Oct 11, 2012 1:33PM
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"Have any of you actually stayed at or visited one of Jack Welch's Westgate Resorts ?"

Jack is a geezer who got GE to pay him 1% off the top for the rest of his life.
David Seigel is the Westgate CEO... enjoy your stays while the majority of America can't afford a day off.
Oct 11, 2012 1:30PM
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Have any of you actually stayed at or visited one of Jack Welch's Westgate Resorts ? The one in the smokey mountains of North Carolina near Hendersonville is absolutely gorgeous ! Beautiful log cabin style hotel with your choice to stay in either the main building or the smaller cabins for a more private stay. This guy has created something that not only enhances the area, but provides jobs to many in that area. We need more entrepreneurs like him to create opportunities here for employment  and get Americans back to work. Again, this resort is a must see and a must for your vacation plans in that area.

 

BTW: I'll bet it's beautiful there now with the leaves changing-Go check it out! 

Oct 11, 2012 1:25PM
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"Chainsaw Jack" is ready for the home. He can ramble on to his heart"s content while trying to fire the staff.
Oct 11, 2012 1:21PM
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gee...who started this war against big business, small business and the rich.  The one who is getting bashed.  OBUMMER!  SO BASH AWAY, I SAY.
Oct 11, 2012 1:19PM
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We go Forward with Hope and Change by believing ," lies are truths and truths are lies."

That's what I'm seeing!

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Romney  vs. Obama

Like in Gladiator:

Maximus (talent and competence)

 vs.

Commodus (scheming, populism, bread and circuses)

Oct 11, 2012 1:17PM
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This is exactly what the liberal media (including MSN) would like you to think. Truth is, this is an obvious effect of Obama's failed policies and there is no incidental fall-out from such actions. There is only attempted intimidation by Obama and his spineless thugs.

Oct 11, 2012 1:13PM
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BASHING OBAMA?  TELL THAT TO YOURSELVES.  THE PREZ IS ON A PEDESTAL BECAUSE YOU AND THE REST OF THE LIBERAL MEDIA HAS MADE HIM THINK HIS TOPS.

 

OBVIOUSLY, MOST OF YOU KEPT YOUR MOUTHS SHUTT ALL THESE 4 YEARS AND NEVER QUESTION THE PREZ, REGARDLESS OF THE FAILED ECONOMIC VENTURES HE'S HAD WITH THE SOLAR COMPANIES HE SUPPORTED AND WENT BANKDRUPT.

 

THE PREZ SET THE TREND BY NAME CALLING AND ADDRESSED THE CORPORATE SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE ALL KINDS OF NAMES.  NOW THESE PEOPLE ARE ANSWERING BACK.  IT'S ABOUT TIME, PEOPLE SPEAK UP.  SINCE THE MEDIA, LIKE YOU GUYS ARE NOT GOING TO EXPOSE THE TRUTH, LET THESE PEOPLE WHO HAS THE EXPERIENCED TO CREATE JOBS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.  GOOD FOR THEM.  EXPOSE THE TRUTH!

 

AMERICANS HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW IN ORDER FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL TO MAKE A SOUND DECISION AS TO WHO THE BEST MAN TO TAKE OVER THE JOB THIS  COUNTRY NEEDS DESPERATELY.  IT'S TIME FOR A CHANGE!

Oct 11, 2012 1:12PM
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How many people out of 10 work for a Company?   9 ?     Oh yea   You like todays unemployment numbers?  They were dow?  Oh Yea   California  did not turn their  unemployment numbers.  Dim   Lib  State   can not pay their bills    Helps  odumbo     They think people are so stupid   well maybe 47%

 

That leaves  odumbo  a little short    and by the way   Ryan  will kick  joe  tonight

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