Jack Welch, former charman and chief executive of General Electric, gave CNBC his outlook on the economy, U.S. innovation and current GE leadership.
"I'm optimistic about the [Obama] presidency," said Welch.
"What you saw in the House is not what the [stimulus] bill will look like" when it's finally passed — as he believes it will be. "There will be compromise" among Obama, Congressional Republicans and Democrats.
The author of several books, including "Straight from the Gut," foresees a "tough first half," then the inklings of recovery. He says the rebound will be fueled in part by stimulus and tax cuts -- and, especially, the Yankee knack for creativity.
"We [Americans] still have the most innovative culture in the world. ...Computer technology, information systems, the university system" are the most vital in the world, said Welch.
"And innovation is the answer," he added.
Welch praised current GE CEO Jeff Immelt for making smart decisions that'll buoy the company during hard times. He says GE's exposure to the global financial downturn should be excluded when one calculates the overall company's value and outlook.
Despite weak numbers at the firm's GE Capital arm, "Jeff [Immelt] had a great fourth quarter," Welch maintained. And the CEO has positioned GE strongly for "the turnaround."
General Electric is the corporate parent of CNBC.
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