Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch admitted to Hardball host Chris Matthews Friday that he had no evidence to support his accusation that President Barack Obama’s administration had falsified new employment statistics, yet refused to take it back.
The report, released Friday morning, placed the national unemployment rate at 7.8 percent, a lower rate than when Obama took office in January 2009. The data comes a week after Labor Department figures suggest an increase of 125,000 jobs during the same time period. Welch said he knew the numbers were “gathered by a series of wild assumptions.”
“Maybe they weren’t right at 8.5 [percent], maybe they weren’t right at 8.4,” Welch said. “But it seems coincidental that, one month before the election, they would end up at 7.8. The president today is on the stump. The president, all he’s talked about is 7.8. He didn’t mention 600,000 jobs added in the government sector.”
Welch also said he was merely “raising a question,” an argument Matthews took issue with, saying Welch had accused the president on Twitter of tampering with the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) findings.
“Unbelievable jobs numbers..,” Welch posted Friday morning. “These Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers.”
Matthews pointed out that Keith Hall, who served as BLS commissioner during George W. Bush’s administration, told The Wall Street Journal that kind of interference was impossible.
“There’s nothing wrong with the numbers,” said Mr. Hall. “The only issue is the interpretation of the numbers. The numbers are what they are.”
Watch Matthews’ interview with Welch, aired Friday on MSNBC, below.