Buffett Watch

Warren Buffett Isn't Giving Up: 'If I Have Views I Will Talk About Them'

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 has been getting a lot of criticism from Republicans, and some GOP presidential candidates,  for calling on Congress to stop "coddling the super-rich" so that they shoulder more of the nation's shared sacrifice to reduce the federal budget deficit.

Buffett isn't deterred.

He tells the New York Times:

"I have always had people disagree with me on politics.  You can go through life and just basically opt out of that field.  I don’t blame anyone particularly, but I don’t want to do that.  If I have views I will talk about them."

Buffett's comments are in a story on the front page of today's business section in the Times, headlined "Others Go, but Buffett Stays on President's Side."

Susanne Craig and Ben Protess write Buffett is finding himself in a "lonely role as the president's ambassador among the moneyed set."

They report Friday's Obama fund-raiser, hosted by Buffett at Manhattan's Four Seasons restaurant, had "trouble drawing the biggest guns of finance" with 116 guests attending out of the 130 expected by the president's campaign.

Hedge fund executive James Chanos was one of the "few marquee names on the guest list" for the event.  The event did "easily" raise more than $1.5 million, despite the "strong but less than overwhelming" turnout.

Buffett says he isn't surprised Obama is losing popularity on Wall Street, saying with a laugh,  "People need to face up to the country’s problems. Once what you start pointing and explaining what your part is in it, you start losing a few people."

He remains confident President Obama will get a second term, with help from an improving economy.  In a quote echoing what he said in a live interview on CNBC last week, Buffett tells the Times:

"We are coming out of this one, I am virtually certain.  I see figures on 70-some companies daily.  I have a lot of information coming in and basically everything to do with home construction is as bad as it has ever been, and everything else is getting better."

Even though the Obama administration is using his name for its 'Buffett Rule' proposal to counteract low tax rates enjoyed by some the wealthiest Americans, Buffett points out that he's "not at all close" to the president on a personal basis.  He's never initiated a phone call to Obama and estimates he's talked with him one-on-one just a few times, with no call going more than eight minutes.

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