The Oracle of Omaha is a regular institution at the Allen + Co conference, and always a hot commodity among the media and tech CEOs here. Buffett makes a point to say how much he loves the gathering, especially all the free hamburgers!
We got a chance to speak with him exclusively about the economy and all the goings-on at the conference. Buffett told us the data he's seeing from Berkshire Hathaway companies reveals the economy's decline has accelerated over the past six weeks, more so than the preceding few months. He noted that while the economic situation must be weighing on the minds of many of the CEOs here, they aren't talking about it much.
But of course Buffett has historically done well in weaker markets, and he says he doesn't care about his stock price, which is off some 20 percent from its highs. He says as long as Berkshire owns good businesses he doesn't care about the stock price.
Buffett also weighs in on the political campaign. The Democrat says he's confident in the party's choice, Barack Obama, who he thinks could possibly win by a wide margin. Since a number of business names have been bandied around as potential Vice Presidential candidates we asked Bufett who he's supporting. He says he has six or seven names that he's shared with a couple of key people. Unfortunately he wouldn't share them with us.
Buffett is really engaged with the presentations here, saying he was so blown away by Jeff Bezos' presentation of the Kindle, the self-professed luddite now says he may even get one. (I thought he didn't even have a cell phone, but he proudly showed off what he called his "1893 model"--given to him personally by Alexander Graham Bell, according to Buffett. )
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