Hardball | October 05, 2012
>>> 7.8% jobless number. let's play "hardball."
>>> good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start with the good news on the unemployment front, getting the jobless number down to 7.8% a month before the election could be the upbeat news to give this president the kind of big-time bounce he needs. since the campaign began we've known the power of the unemployment figure. now we have the number itself. plus, the good news about the last two months, it's clear that the economy created more jobs than previously estimated. there are some people out there who don't like this number, don't like it at all, and leading the band is the legender ceo of general electric , jack welch , who joins us right now. jack, you made a lot of news today. here is the tweet you put out this morning. unbelievable jobs numbers. these chicago guys will do anything. can't debate so change numbers. and i'm just wondering, i understand the way it works is the president gets a heads-up on the unemployment number 4 :00 the day before and has to keep it to himself. you're saying in your tweet this morning that the news went the other way, that the people working for the president somehow got the bls, the bureau of labor statistics , and played with the numbers so it would come down below 8% today. how does it work from your perspective? what happened here?
>> well, chris , all i can talk about are some of the numbers. we had 600,000 government jobs added in the last two months. we had 873,000 jobs by a household survey, which is a total estimate from 50,000 phone calls. of those 600,000 were temporary workers. chris , these numbers are all a series of assumptions, tons of assumptions, and it just seems somewhat coincidental that the month before the election, the numbers go one tenth of a point below where they were when the president started, although i don't see anything in the economy that says these surges are true. the 873,000 jobs in the household survey is the strongest economy since 1983 . i don't think you can find an economist, there were 25 of them this morning that predicted 8.1% to 8.2%, but they did predict 114,000 jobs. we got 114,000 jobs, and somehow the assumptions ended up at 7.8%.
>> well, let me get back to your tweet this morning. it must be embarrassing for to you do a tweet now after the power you used to have. i mean, tweeting, doesn't seem like something i'd hear from jack welch and i mean it. here you put out the word, unbelievable jobs number, fair enough. these chicago guys will do anything so they changed the numbers. what evidence do you have that they got to the bls?
>> i have no --
>> that the chicago guys got to the bureau of labor statistics and jimmied these numbers by 0.3%.
>> i have no evidence to prove that. i just raise the question.
>> you didn't raise the question. you said these chicago guys will do anything so they changed the number. you were asserting here in your tweet that you put out at 8:35 this morning, five minutes after the report came out,. did you talk to any economists or anybody in the accounting world that understood how the numbers were put together before you accused the chicago guys of changing the numbers.
>> chris , i know these numbers gathered by a series of wild assumptions, maybe they weren't right at 8.5%, maybe they weren't right at 8.4%, 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 always talked about his 7.8%. he didn't mention 600,000 jobs added in the government --
>> let's -- see, it's not your attitude about obama people care about. it's your analysis and you came out this morning and asserted not a question mark or a question or concern about a coincidence, you say these chicago guys will do anything so they change the numbers. do you want to take that back?
>> no i don't think so to take anything back.
>> this is serious, there was jimmying with the numbers, corruption, infiltration or getting to -- it's not funny, jack. you're talking about the president of the united states playing with the bureau of labor statistics number. this is nixon stuff. this is what nixon did back in the old days.
>> chris , don't lose it now.
>> i'm not losing it. look at my face. i'm not losing it.
>> i can't see your face.
>> do you want to take back the charge --
>> no, i don't want to take back one word in that tweet .
>> so you assert as of now, 5:00 this afternoon, these chicago guys will do anything, they can't debate so they change thms.
>> i didn't say what they did. i said they'd do anything.
>> and what did they do here?
>> they've been calling mitt romney a liar, a falsehood for the last 48 hours after the debate.
>> okay. but you don't have any independent evidence. you didn't get any evidence between the time the numbers came out this morning at 8:30 and 8. 356789 when you tweeted. you didn't use that five minutes to gather any actual information or evidence --
>> no, but i tweeted last night. chris , twited last night that i predicted it would be at 7.9%.
>> okay. and why did you make that prediction?
>> because i guessed that's what would happen a month before the election.
>> so you guessed that the chicago guys would do this.
>> well, i don't want to put words in the mouth of what i said last night, but that's what i did.
>> well, this morning -- i just want -- let's not go over the tweet one more time. the question -- what started this today and people with a lot less iq than you and certainly a lot less business sense like allen west and some of the real screwballs out there are following the band you're leading and the band you put together today was that there's corruption here, that the chicago people, meaning the guys around president obama , got to the bls.
>> chris .
>> and manipulated the numbers.
>> chris , stop it now. i have reviewed 14 businesses this week from restaurants to rental cars to widgets. i have seen everybody with a third quarter equal to or weaker than first quarter. in order to get 873,000 new jobs, you would have to have a gdp going at 4% to 5%. the second quarter was downgraded from 1.7 to 1.3. the third quarter is the no going to be very strong. it just defies the imagination to have a surge larger than any surge since 1983 a month before the election. i leave it to you to do all the analys analysis.
>> i'm just going back because it seemed like you were doing that. let me go to keith hall. he was bush's guy, commissioner of the bls. he said to "the wall street journal " today following what you said, there's no way someone at the bureau of labor statistics could change neb data from its surveys. these numbers are good. so why do you know more than him? do you really think it gets back to the question of integrity. do you believe that the bls lacks integrity? that a president of the united states -- nixon said he could never get to them. he used to say there's an ethnic problem, they were jauish people. he thought they were out to get him. now you say the president controls the bls. previous presidents say they couldn't get their hands into that place.
>> you don't think it's coincidental we have the biggest surge since 1983 in the job surge? come on, chris .
>> it's 0.3 of 1% shift this month.
>> no, chris --
>> 0.3. it went from 8.1%.
>> it was 8.1 to 7.8. it's a 6% improvement in employment in two months. chris , 6% improvement would require a gdp --
>> jack, all i want to know is when we write this down three weeks from now or four weeks from now when the election is over, i want to know what you meant. do you mean it's a coincidence or do you mean you have evidence that there was corruption --
>> i have no evidence of corruption, none whatsoever.
>> so these chicago guys had nothing to do with the number coming out today.
>> i don't know that.
>> why did you say it? these chicago guys will do anything, change the numbers. you just said it in your fwet. i'm careful when i tweet . i usually have somebody like my producer say read my fwet. did you really want to stand behind this tweet ?
>> i want to raise the question of these --
>> you did raise the question.
>> chris , these numbers defy logic. they defy logic. we do not have a 4% to 5% booming economy with 873,000 people added. i mean, stop it, chris . on the face of it we don't have this gdp . i love you, but you can't get there.
>> i think you're a great, brilliant businessman. i wish you were in charge of my stock options these days because you made a lot of money for us here, but let me ask you this one more time. so that all the people out there of lesser intellect will stop marching in your band, jack welch thinks this is a coincidence. jack welch does not believe the boys in chicago changed the numbers?
>> no, jack welch is raising the question for some good analyst to go look at.
>> okay. good. you're raising the question. you certainly did that. jack welch , thank you for joining us at the very top of "hardball" tonight.