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Warren Buffett Tells Obama Still 'Long Way to Go' After 'Wrenching Recession'

Friday, 16 Jul 2010 | 2:11 PM ET
Warren Buffett discusses the economy with President Barack Obama during an Oval Office meeting on July 14, 2010.
White House Photo by Pete Souza
Warren Buffett discusses the economy with President Barack Obama during an Oval Office meeting on July 14, 2010.

Warren Buffett got a new tieout of his White House meeting Wednesday with President Barack Obama.

We now know what Obama got out of it.

After a visit Thursday to an LG battery plant in Michigan, President Obama sat down with NBC News Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd for an exclusive interview.

Todd asked if business leaders, including Buffett, are telling him they're not putting private capital to work creating jobs because they're uncertain about what the government is going to do on taxes and regulations:

Buffett's Words to Obama
In an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd on July 15, 2010, President Obama reveals what Warren Buffett told him about the economy during an Oval Office meeting the day before.

"I'll tell you exactly what Warren Buffett said. He said, we went through a wrenching recession, and so we have not fully recovered. We're about 40, 50 percent back. But we've still got a long way to go. And the reason people haven't fully invested yet, and started creating as many jobs as we would like, is because it takes some time to come back.

He used a good example in the housing market, where about 1.2 million households are formed to buy a house each year. That's been the historic trend. But we went through a span of time, four or five years, because of the bubble and sub-prime lending and all the shenanigans that were going on with the mortgage market, when we were building two million homes a year. Now we're building 500-thousand, and what Warren pointed out was, look, we're going to get back to 1.2, but right now we're soaking up a whole bunch of inventory.

So, a lot of the challenge is to work our way through this recession, try to accelerate, not only profits, because companies now are making money primarily because they've cut costs, but also to see the opportunities out there. And that's what we're trying to show with this plant. There are enormous opportunities for the future. We just have to seize them."

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