BECKY: The market seems to agree with that. The Dow right now down by about 50 points. How much trouble, how much troubled times do you think are ahead for the nation?
BUFFETT: Well, I think frankly there's a lot -- it'll be quite awhile before unemployment bottoms out and the recession bottoms out. I don't know whether -- I don't know how long that period will be, but it's not going to turn around next week or next month. Without this, it would have plunged into something, I think, far, far worse than what we're going to see.
BECKY: Where do you think things will -- Will this loosen up the credit markets? That's what people have been watching so closely.
BUFFETT: Well, that's the key. It will certainly loosen them up. You can't believe how tight the credit markets have been. I mean the credit markets have been frozen here and it was getting worse by the day. And frankly, even waiting these two weeks to pass this bill was -- you know, it all hurts. But this will be a big help. Whether it gets the job entirely done remains to be seen.
BECKY: You know, we were all caught off guard this morning by the Wells Fargo bid to take over Wachovia. How did that come about?
BUFFETT: Well, as I understand it, there was something in the tax bill, actually, that may have been passed Monday, which, in effect, made the deal more attractive. And the Wachovia shareholders are going to get the benefit of the fact that that tax situation changed. They're going to get a lot more money than they would have gotten if that tax bill hadn't passed.
BECKY: Obviously though, Citigroup a little unhappy with how this all came out. Charlie Gasparino has been reporting today that Citigroup officials just found out about this last night at about two o'clock in the morning. They are claiming that they had the FDIC backing on some of this. Where do you see this coming down?
BUFFETT: Well, I don't know the answer to that. I don't know all the technicalities. I know it's a better deal, obviously, for the Wachovia shareholders. And I know that there is no company, there's no banking institution, during the last six months, that has done a better job for its holders, for its depositors, and for its borrowers, than Wells. Wells has been lending more and more money. They've been pumping money into the economy during the last six months while other institutions have been contracting. So I think Wells is a wonderful home for Wachovia.
BECKY: How dire of a situation do you think this was, though, for Wachovia shareholders last weekend when everyone seemed to be considering this deal at one time, Wells Fargo walked away. Did the idea that Citigroup came in that night keep the bank in operation the next day when the markets opened?