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2007: The Year in Warren (The Countdown Begins)

Investor Warren Buffet participates in the Treasury Conference on U.S. Capital Markets Competitiveness, Tuesday, March 13, 2007, at Georgetown University in Washington.  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert
Investor Warren Buffet participates in the Treasury Conference on U.S. Capital Markets Competitiveness, Tuesday, March 13, 2007, at Georgetown University in Washington. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Don't count out Warren Buffett. Even as he enters his 78th year, the Buffett style of investing remains as relevant and successful as ever. His words still attract the investment world's attention, and he is "beloved" as a plain-talking, unpretentious, generous American icon who happens to have a net worth of over $50 billion. Instead of quietly fading into a semi-retirement as one might expect for someone of his age, Buffett continues to be as energetic as ever (with help from a steady diet of Cherry Cokes) and even more visible than he's been in past years.

Warren Buffett Watch has already provided its 8 Predictions for '08 as part of CNBC.com's Outlook '08 Special Report. (They're mostly sure bets, by the way, in keeping with the Warren Buffett style of looking at the future.)

Now, in keeping with the year-end tradition of journalists everywhere, it's time to look back at 2007: The Year in Warren.

Here, in reverse order, are #10 through #6 of the top 10 trends and events of the year, as reported here on Warren Buffett Watch.

#10. MOHNISH PABRAI'S $650,000 LUNCH WITH WARREN

In early July, Pabrai, one of the country's best-known value investors paid nearly three-quarters of a million dollars, a record, to one of Warren's favorite charities, for the privilege of sharing lunch with the man to whom he owes "a large tuition bill" for lessons about investing and life.

#9 - ON THE STUMP

#9. RAISING MILLIONS FOR CLINTON AND OBAMA

One resason Buffett was especially visible this year: his willingness to give his money, and more importantly, his ability to attract news coverage, to support the presidential ambitions of the Democrats' two leading candidates for the White House: Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Buffett has hosted two million-dollar plus fund-raisers for Clinton this year, one in New Yorklast June and the other in San Franciscoearlier this month. Obama's turn came in Omaha in August.

Buffett hasn't endorsed one over the other, laughingly telling our Becky Quick in December that, "Before, way before, either one of them declared, I told Hillary if she ran for president, I would support her. I told Barack the same thing, and then they both ran. So, there I am."

#8 - BREAK-IN ATTEMPT AT BUFFETT'S HOUSE

#8. BUFFETT "FINE" AFTER BREAK-IN ATTEMPT AT HIS OMAHA HOME

Omaha Police released this photo in September of a "possible suspect" in the attempted break-in at Warren Buffett's home earlier in the month.

A security guard scared off a man wearing "dark clothing and camouflage paint" and holding what "appeared" to be a gun who rang the doorbell around 10p on September 5. Both Buffett and his wife Astrid were home at the time.

The next day Buffett was joking about the incident, telling us he and Astrid came through the incident feeling "fine." He feels very safe in the unpretentious home he's lived in for almost four decades. Unpretentious, but not unprotected.


#7 - BUFFETT AND THE BASEBALL STAR

#7. BUFFETT GETS AN ASSIST FOR BRING A-ROD AND YANKEES BACK TOGETHER

Warren Buffett is a big baseball fan, who especially admires how Ted Williams was able to boost his batting average by waiting for the "right pitch." He tries to do the same thing with his investments.

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez hits a three-run home off Kansas City Royals pitcher Kyle Davies during the first inning as Royals catcher Jason LaRue and umpire Jerry Meals, left, look on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2007 at Yankee Stadium in New York.  Rodriguez became the youngest player in major league history to hit 500 home runs, sending the first pitch he saw Saturday just past the foul pole in left field.   (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Bill Kostroun
New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez hits a three-run home off Kansas City Royals pitcher Kyle Davies during the first inning as Royals catcher Jason LaRue and umpire Jerry Meals, left, look on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2007 at Yankee Stadium in New York. Rodriguez became the youngest player in major league history to hit 500 home runs, sending the first pitch he saw Saturday just past the foul pole in left field. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Buffett probably wouldn't pay so much if he owned the Yankees, but last month he still played a part in Alex Rodriguez's $275 million dealto stay with the Bronx Bombers for another 10 years. A-Rod went to Buffett for advice after getting slammed for exercising an option to get out of his previous 10-year contract. The words of wisdom: reestablish contact with the Yankees without high-powered agent Scott Boras, who had reportedly orchestrated A-Rod's hard-to-get strategy.

Later, in a CNBC Exclusive interview, Rodriguez described his friend Warren as "the smartest man in the world."

#6 - BUFFETT GOES GLOBAL

#6. BUFFETT GOES GLOBAL WITH HIGH-PROFILE TRIP TO ASIA

A big theme for 2007 has been how Warren Buffett has found profitable investment oppportunities outside of the United States. That international perspective was illuminated by his whirlwind tour of China and South Korea in October, accompanied by CNBC's Becky Quick, who used her "all-access" pass to report extensively on the voyage, and to tell us in an exclusive CNBC.com video clip what she learned after spending so much time with Buffett.

Among the highlights:

Check out Becky Quick's one-hour special Warren Buffett: The Billionaire Next Door - Going Global. It's scheduled to air again on CNBC tomorrow (Christmas Day) at 1p ET and on New Year's Day at 4a ET.

HAVE A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY. THE "YEAR IN WARREN" WILL CONTINUE WITH THE COUNTDOWN FROM #5 TO #1 IN THE NEXT POST .. SOMETIME BEFORE NEW YEAR'S DAY.

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