GE backs away from CEO's reported Obama slam

By staff

NEW YORK ( -- General Electric Co. backed away Thursday from comments reportedly made by its CEO critical of President Obama and China.

The company said Jeffrey Immelt's remarks to Italian executives in Rome were taken out of context and didn't reflect GE policy.

The company responded to an article in the Financial Times in which Immelt is said to have told the audience that Obama doesn't like business and business doesn't like Obama.

"People are in a really bad mood (in the U.S.)," the paper quoted Immelt as saying. "We (the U.S.) are a pathetic exporter ... we have to become an industrial powerhouse again but you don't do this when government and entrepreneurs are not in synch."

Immelt also said China is becoming increasingly protectionist and doesn't want any non-Chinese businesses "to win," according to the newspaper.

"The comments attributed to GE CEO Jeff Immelt by the FT were taken out of context and, in some instances, inaccurately reported," GE spokeswoman Anne Eisele said in a statement. "Mr. Immelt's comments at a private dinner focused on the relationship between business and government in general and did not single out President Obama."

Eisele also said the "reporting of Jeff's comments don't reflect GE policy."

A Financial Times spokeswoman said "we stand by the accuracy of the report." To top of page

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