Democrats might have ripped Tim Pawlenty’s big speech on the economy this week. But one fan is former General Electric Chairman and CEO Jack Welch, who swooned over the former Minnesota governor in an appearance Wednesday night on CNN’s Piers Morgan show.
Here’s how it went, courtesy of the Pawlenty campaign, which helpfully provided a transcript today.
Morgan: Do you see anybody emerging on the Republican side who is the kind of leader that you're looking for?
Welch: You know, Piers, this is a great question. Because if you asked me that a month ago, I would have said, well, Mitt Romney might be best guy, et cetera. The most obvious guy. But everything I see Tim Pawlenty say in the last month appeals to me. He's not the jazziest guy in town. He's not the most exciting. But if you look at what he says and his vision for America and that plan he put out in the last 48 hours. Every time I see him on an interview, whether it be your show or somebody else's, the guy makes sense.
Morgan: He definitely does. My only issue with him is that he -- he's not the most dynamic of characters. Does that matter anymore? Because Obama --
Welch: It makes a lot of difference to get elected. It doesn't do a hell of a lot for you once you're in the job.
Morgan: You're a Republican, right?
Welch: Yes, absolutely.
Morgan: So you want somebody who can beat President Obama. Now, Barack Obama, whether you like him or not, is a very, very dynamic kind of character.
Morgan: He has the youthful exuberance and zest and all that kind of thing. When you look at somebody like Tim Pawlenty, I think he's a smart guy. I've enjoyed having him on the show. He makes a lot of sense, like you say. I can see the temptation. But in your heart, do you think he can beat someone like Obama?
Welch: I'm going to find out over the next 15 months. Hopefully the next 6 to 9 months because they're going to pick somebody in the primary. But, I mean, I just have found him -- you know, I was at the gym this week talking to some guys who never would have thought this. I said what I just told you. That his guy's starting to intrigue the hell out of me. And then he came out with this plan. I talked to some guy. He said, I'm going to have to throw a fundraiser for him. I almost dropped dead. This guy would never support Tim Pawlenty in his life. He's a Democrat. He's going to have a fundraiser for him.
Morgan: Why do you think he's doing that?
Welch: He likes what he says. He likes what he says. There's some buyer's remorse on the Wall Street crowd over the Obama selection, whether you want to buy that or not. There is some buyer's remorse.
Hot Dish note: According to Boston Magazine, Welch has an estimated net worth of $720 million. Now we can call him a Sam’s Club Republican.
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