LIVE BLOG ARCHIVE: Three Hours with Warren Buffett Live from Omaha
6:53 AM: Buffett talks about the trip he made this week with Bill Gates and some others to see the oil sands in northeastern Alberta, Canada. Buffett says he and Bill wanted to see what it looks like rather than just read about it. He confirms the trip was arranged by Omaha-based Kiewit Corp, which is doing some construction work connected with oil sands development. Asked if he's interested in investing in oil sands, he said no, but that the information he learned about the industry has been filed away and could become useful at some point in the future.
6:56 AM: Buffett says he does not have a "buy order" right now for any oil sand companies.
7:03 AM: Becky asks again about the economy and he repeats his view that the negative ripples will continue to spread for awhile. He sees no "early end" to the problems although they will end eventually.
7:05 AM: Buffett confirms that he sold 60 percent of his Anheuser-Busch shares at prices around $61-$62 before the company agreed to a friendly merger with InBev at a sweetened price of $70. Buffett says at the time he wasn't sure the deal would go through given Anheuser's strong resistance to InBev's original bid. "In retrospect, I was wrong," but he says that often happens.
7:07 AM: Becky notes that in Berkshire's latest SEC filing, the company keeps information about its holdings of Conoco-Phillips secret. She can't get Buffett to say anything about whether he's been buying or selling the stock recently.
7:10 AM: Asked about the oil market, Buffett says demand and supply for crude has changed significantly in the past five years. He thinks Boone Picken's energy plan is "on the right track" and warns that the world can not keep increasing its demand for oil.
7:15 AM: Dave Walker returns and is joined by Pete Peterson, whose foundation provided financial backing for the I.O.U.S.A film and AARP CEO Bill Novelli. They all participated in last night's live panel discussion after the premiere of I.O.U.S.A. Walker says the cost of health care is the biggest problem contributing to the nation's bleak financial future. Buffett says he believes the economy will continue to grow and "unleash human potential" so he isn't as worried about the future as Walker and Peterson are. "The pie will grow." Still, he says, you always need to be thinking about the future. He fears large current account deficits could be dangerous politically years down the road, even if they don't stop the economy from growing.
7:22 AM: Peterson says his foundation is looking at new media, including websites like Facebook, to try to get young people energized about doing something about continued deficits.
7:38 AM: After an interview from Beijing with a GE executive, Squawk returns to Becky and Buffett in Omaha. She asks what grade he would give to the Federal Reserve. He says he admires anyone who takes on a very difficult job. He might not always agree with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke but he admires that Bernanke is taking tough problems with no obvious answers.
7:40 AM: Buffett says there's a "reasonable chance" that Fannie and Freddie's equity will be wiped out. They keep existing because they're backed by the government, and the government should continue to support them, expect for the equity portion. He notes that Berkshire had been a big holder of the GSEs before selling the entire stake around 2000 and 2001.
7:42 AM: Buffett says he has no bets against the U.S. dollar right now and no direct currency plays. he also notes that stocks are generally more attractive now than they were a year ago.
7:45 AM: Real test for a politician is whether they will support something their constituents oppose. He says both sides in the campaign are not addressing some issues because it would cost them votes.
7:53 AM: Buffett: The Fed "has real problems on inflation." Some Berkshire businesses are being squeezed on prices. For example, carpet manufacturing involves a lot of oil. The price of making carpets keeps going up, but it's hard to pass those costs on to consumers due to weak spending. Wholesale prices will "have to" show up in consumer prices. Once inflation is "ignited" it gets difficult to bring it under control.
7:55 AM: Buffett reveals that on September 9 at Boston's Fenway Park, he will be throwing out the first pitch with former General Electric CEO Jack Welch as his catcher. He jokes that whatever pitch Welch calls for, even if it is the pitch that bounces several times before it reaches the plate, he "will throw that pitch."
BARGAINS IN THE STOCK MARKET?
8:01 AM: Are there bargains in the stock market? Buffett says yes, there are companies that are better today than they were a year ago selling for lower prices. When he gets calls from someone who has just lost billion of dollars and wants to be replenished, he doesn't get that excited. He points out that when someone tries to sell something to you, like an investment, it probably isn't worth buying. The best ideas come from your own ideas and digging.