Management guru and former General Electric CEO Jack Welch responded to the firestorm of controversy created by his tweet in response to the latest employment figures released Friday.
Welch, who suggested President Barack Obama’s campaign, or “Chicago guys” as he referred to them in the tweet, had somehow manipulated the numbers to favor its re-election efforts, drew sharp criticism from economic observers on both the left and the right.
While Welch (left) conceded his tweet was controversial and, given the chance, he might have worded it differently, he nonetheless defended its substance in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Wednesday.
Comparing the intensity of his critics to those found in Soviet Russia and Communist China, Welch began by downplaying his original comments, writing that he simply suggested “that a certain government datum (like the September unemployment rate of 7.8%) doesn’t make sense” and is “downright implausible.”
He countered that reports of his affiliation with the Romney campaign are wrong, and while his wife did work for Bain in the late 1980s, it was Bain Consulting and not Bain Capital, and she “had no contact with Mr. Romney.”
“The Obama campaign and its supporters, including bigwigs like David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs, along with several cable TV anchors, would like you to believe that BLS data are handled like the gold in Fort Knox, with gun-carrying guards watching their every move, and highly trained, white-gloved super-agents counting and recounting hourly. Let’s get real.”
The unemployment data reported each month are gathered over a one-week period by census workers, he explained. Some questions allow for “unambiguous answers, but others less so.”