Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE, has tripled down on a controversial remark he made on Twitter last Friday. Welch tweeted that the Obama Administration manipulated the highly-watched monthly jobs report after President Obama's poor debate performance in Denver.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the unemployment rate in September fell to 7.8% in September from 8.1% in August. Five minutes after the BLS release, Welch tweeted: "Unbelievable jobs numbers…these Chicago guys will do anything.. can't debate so change numbers."
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis indirectly responded to Welch's accusation on CNN. "This is a methodology that's been used for decades. And it is insulting when you hear people just cavalierly say that somehow we're manipulating numbers," she said.
Welch has responded to the criticism and backlash in various interviews, and says he is not backing down from his assertion.
On Wednesday, Mr. "Straight from the Gut" wrote an op/ed in the Wall Street Journal entitled "I Was Right About That Strange Jobs Report." He writes:
"Unfortunately for those who would like me to pipe down, the 7.8% unemployment figure released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) last week is downright implausible. And that's why I made a stink about it."
He compares the U.S. to a "Soviet Russia" or a "Communist China" because of the attacks he received for questioning the validity of government data. Welch does say he would change one part of the Tweet:
"As I said that same evening in an interview on CNN, if I could write that tweet again, I would have added a few question marks at the end, as with my earlier tweet, to make it clear I was raising a question."
In the accompanying video, The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task and Henry Blodget discuss Welch's charge against the Obama Administration. Since the incident, Welch has terminated his contract with Fortune and Reuters after receiving criticism from those media outlets.
Tell us what you think! Do you think Welch really meant to raise this as just a question?
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