GE’s Immelt: still a Republican?

March 13, 2008

Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric, listens to a question during a news conference in Kuala Lumpur September 27, 2007. REUTERS/Zainal Abd Halim (MALAYSIA)General Electric’s chief executive may be reconsidering his political loyalties.

At the Wall Street Journal’s ECO:nomics conference on business and the environment on Wednesday, Jeffrey Immelt fielded some sharp questions about GE’s bullish green strategy and support for government tax credits for sources of renewable energy. Finally, he shot back.

“I came here tonight because I was invited, but really I don’t need to be lectured by anyone in this room on how to compete,” Immelt said.

He added: “I always thought I was a Republican until tonight.”

Regardless of his party affiliation, Immelt derided the presidential candidates for suggesting that the United States should work toward “energy independence” — a concept he said was “naive.”

“People shouldn’t even be able to say those words because we are so far away from that.”

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