Tags: Barry Sternlicht | Jeb Bush | dollar | economy

Starwood's Sternlicht Sings Jeb Bush's Praises

By    |   Thursday, 08 January 2015 05:31 PM

Star real estate investor Barry Sternlicht, CEO of Starwood Capital Group, is impressed with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has indicated he will probably run for the Republican presidential nomination.

As for the economy, with inflation running at only 1.4 percent, the dollar soaring (it hit a nine-year high against the euro Thursday) and foreign economies slowing, there's no need for a hasty interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve, Sternlicht said.

Meanwhile, Sternlicht, a Democratic voter in the past who calls himself a social liberal and fiscal conservative, told CNBC that he especially likes Bush's views on education and his success with education reform in Florida.

"Bush's biggest problem is his name," the property titan said.

He appreciates how Bush is handling the issue. The likely candidate is essentially saying, "'Look at me for who I am,'" Sternlicht said. "'I am what I am. I'm not my brother. I'm not my dad.' It's the right message. He says, 'look at my track record.'"

Bush's strategy to pursue an aggressive early campaign may provide dividends, experts say.

"What it [his strategy] is designed to do is provide first­mover advantage to a strong player with the objective of sucking as much oxygen out of the room as you possibly can," Dirk Van Dongen, president of the National Association of Wholesaler­Distributors, who is supporting Bush, told The New York Times.

As for another likely GOP presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sternlicht said he approves of Christie's blunt strategy, but sees an obstacle for the governor. "Christie's biggest problem is his state. His state has not done very well."

Turning to the economy, if the Fed does raise rates in 2015 — most economists expect it to begin doing so around mid-year — it will be only a "token" hike, he maintained.

"We raise rates, the dollar gets stronger, the economy gets weaker, exports get more expensive," Sternlicht said. "We would put a big halt on the U.S. economy if the dollar continues to strengthen against global [currencies]."

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Star real estate investor Barry Sternlicht, CEO of Starwood Capital Group, is impressed with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has indicated he will probably run for the Republican presidential nomination.
Barry Sternlicht, Jeb Bush, dollar, economy
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2015-31-08
Thursday, 08 January 2015 05:31 PM
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