Jack Welch: This is what I meant by my inflammatory tweet

The former GE chief executive created a firestorm when he tweeted about a jobs conspiracy. In the fallout, he’s quit his two writing gigs and offered an explanation.

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But the outspoken former CEO of General Electric has not earned the right to make controversial statements and not get taken to task for them. Ever since his tweet on Friday blaming strong unemployment numbers on “these Chicago guys” cooking the numbers for political gain, he has been the target of attacks.

Finally on Tuesday, Welch cried uncle, but instead of backing down from this claim he stepped down from his soapbox column hosted by Fortune and Reuters. He said that the column that he co-wrote with his wife Suzy Welch would get better “traction” elsewhere.

He didn’t waste any time getting back on track and Welch late Tuesday offered a 1,000-word rebuttal in The Wall Street Journal explaining his Friday tweet. He teased it from his Twitter account: “Here, in the Wall Street Journal, is what I couldn’t say in 140 characters.”

A couple of hours after its posting, the story drew more than 175 comments, mostly political in nature. The issue exploded on Twitter, with strong comments running the party lines.

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