TRANSCRIPT/VIDEO PART FIVE: Three Hours With Warren Buffett - Live From Omaha
BUFFETT: No, I didn't--I didn't give money to John Edwards. And, in fact, I think if I'd given money to him, I'd probably be asking for it back now. It's an interesting situation because John Edwards essentially was soliciting money from people to further his ambitions for the presidency, and, you know, people sent him 50, $100, $200, and I would say that they sent it in while they were being misled by the person who was soliciting the money from them. And, you know, I think if I were Edwards, I might give up a haircut or two and refund at least, you know, the people that gave the 50 or $100, $200 items, because they-- if they had known the facts, they wouldn't have sent him the money, and he is the guy that didn't give them the facts. I mean, he knew that, in effect, he wouldn't be elected president. I mean, the story was out there during the campaign. He denied it, but it was out there. And, in fact, I've never heard of it, but it might be kind of interesting if somebody, some contributor, would bring a class-action suit on behalf of all these people who essentially were led to send money to a man under totally false circumstances, false pretenses, and where he knew it and didn't tell them the truth.
QUICK: Hm, that'd be ironic for a trial lawyer...
QUICK: ...to have a class-action lawsuit brought against him.
BUFFETT: I've seen a lot of class-action suits with less to it than this particular case. The facts are clear. I mean, he solicited money and he wasn't telling the truth to the people he was soliciting it from.
QUICK: How--have you had any discussions? I mean, obviously, you talked to a lot of people who are high ranked in the Democratic Party. Is that something that's been thrown around out there, or did you cook this up yourself?
BUFFETT: No, I don't think--I don't think I've heard of that. The--I don't talk to a lot of class-action lawyers, but I really think--I think those people were defrauded. They sent money under--with the person who was soliciting the money from them misinforming them even when the National Enquirer came out with it during his campaign, he kept soliciting money and saying it isn't true. I would think that they--it might be a pretty good class-action suit.
QUICK: Even to this day, he says that he--they had 99 percent of it wrong, even in the most recent interview John Edwards came up with, although he admits that he did have an affair with a woman.
BUFFETT: Well, he would have a chance at a class-action suit to respond to that.
QUICK: All right. Again, you've been supporting Obama, though.
QUICK: Are you going to the convention next week?
BUFFETT: No, I'm going to be in Denver one night, but I won't actually be at the convention at all, no.
QUICK: OK, but Obama has been somebody you've been supporting. Obama has some policies that don't necessarily jive with your views, specifically windfall profits tax.
QUICK: What do you think about the windfall profit...
BUFFETT: Well, the only way you get somebody that jives with all your views is to run yourself, and I have no interest in that. The test is between two people.
BUFFETT: But I think--I think a windfall profits tax on oil does not make any sense. I mean, I--soybeans have gone up. Wheat's gone up. Iron ore's gone up, and those are commodities that are going up because the commodity markets have driven the prices up, and nobody's suggesting a tax, a special tax on some farmer because his corn has gone up in price or on a wheat farmer in Kansas because his wheat has gone up in price or an iron ore producer. And the oil companies are easy to pick on, but it's a world price. It isn't--is not set by ExxonMobil or anybody else. And I'm sure they're happy to have it, but the idea of taxing somebody just because their services of what they sell have gone up in price a lot, taxing them in some special way doesn't make sense to me.
QUICK: It's been an idea that's been thrown out there. Do you believe that Obama's campaign and Obama himself actually will push that through, or is this something that gets thrown to the wayside?
BUFFETT: Well, a lot of things get thrown to the wayside, and that'll be true of things put out by both candidates. I mean, I do not expect perfection in candidates. I mean, it--you know, every saint has a past, every sinner has a future, you know, so--it's a terrible mistake to expect perfection. What you do--what you do hope to get is very high-grade, very intelligent people who have the public interest at heart, who have to make various compromises in terms of getting into office, and you hope to--you hope to attract those kind of people. I think we've got two of those in this campaign, but I much prefer Obama.
QUICK: OK. We'll have more on this topic a little later. Warren Buffett, again, is going to be with us for the rest of the hour, so we do have much more to talk about. We are live from his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.
BUFFETT ON THE OLYMPICS
CARL QUINTANILLA, co-anchor (Beijing):
Warren, I know you've been a fan of the games. You've probably been watching somewhat. Is there an event that appeals to you the most? I mean, are you--do you want baseball to come back in a big way as an Olympic sport?
BUFFETT: I love it all, but it's hard to beat a race that's decided by 1/100th of a second, and...
BUFFETT: ...and actually, the 100 meter, even though it's over so fast, I mean, it--to watch a guy sort of breeze across there in a time like Bolt did it, it's an unbelievable event.
QUICK: Hey, Darren, we were watching the clips, Darren, we were watching the clips here, and Warren had something to say when we watched you in your Speedo diving into the pool. Warren, what did you give him?
BUFFETT: I gave him a 4.3.
QUICK: A 4.3.
BUFFETT: But I'm an easy grader.
DARREN ROVELL: Well, I didn't try too hard. I didn't try too hard there.
ROVELL: It was for effect.
BUFFETT: The degree of difficulty was minus one.
QUINTANILLA: There you go. That's right. And that--touche. Give me one second, Bec, just to say one thing.
(Quintanilla thanks CNBC and NBC people on Olympics coverage, Becky and Warren thank Quintanilla and Rovell)
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