July 14th, 2010
12:33 PM ET
8 years ago

Obama quietly huddles with Warren Buffett

President Obama met Wednesday with billionaire Warren Buffett at the White House.

President Obama met Wednesday with billionaire Warren Buffett at the White House.

Washington (CNN) - As the recession continues to play a monumental role in the midterm election battle, CNN has learned that President Barack Obama quietly met with billionaire Warren Buffett for an hourlong meeting at the White House Wednesday, according to senior officials familiar with the chat.

The 11:15 a.m. meeting was not listed on Obama's public schedule, the officials said, but the White House released a photograph of the encounter after it had ended.

In addition to the economic crisis, the two men discussed energy reform and other issues, according to the officials.

As the president continues to push for more private-sector jobs, one senior administration official said additional big guns could be expected to pay visits to the White House.

"This effort will continue," the official said.

Beyond the optics of a Buffett visit, business giants can offer something Obama's highly credentialed economics team can't, the official said - "Outside perspective from people who are working in business every single day."

Buffett formally endorsed Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign, giving him critical credibility in the heated battle with Republican presidential candidate John McCain over which man would better handle the financial crisis.

But the so-called "Sage of Capitalism" has sometimes been critical of Obama's handling of the economy as president. In March 2009, Buffett suggested that the new commander-in-chief had too much on his plate.

"And I think we've had, and it's the nature of the political process somewhat, but we've had muddled messages and the American public does not know," Buffett said on CNBC. "They feel they don't know what's going on, and their reaction then is to absolutely pull back."

At the time, White House aides said Buffett was focusing his criticism more on the process in Washington than on Obama himself.

At the meeting's end, Obama presented Buffett, one of the world's richest men, with a tie. A senior White House said the gift was "not pre-planned" but a gesture from the president "at the end of the meeting because his [Buffett's] tie was frayed."

The aide said Buffett was offered a choice between a red and blue tie and chose the red.

Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama • Warren Buffet
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Steph

    A man who will seek out and listen to experts in a specific area...now that is change we can believe in!

    July 14, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  2. Malty

    Democrats can spin Obama's incompetence all they want, but the truth is that the 'stimulus' hasn't worked (and ironically is only half spent... mostly in democratic voting areas) and his energy policies will kill jobs and economic growth.

    Obamacare is already increasing the costs of medical care... and we haven't even come to the meat of the legislation. Obama has turned out to be the new Carter.... a joke.

    July 14, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Danny Boy

    He does have a lot on his plate....no reason to let up though. Keep pushing forward!! Next!!!!

    July 14, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. T'SAH from Virginia

    This meeting would not be enough for those who feel that President Obama is not concerned about unemployment and the economy!! The haters will still HATE and find something WRONG with it!!!

    July 14, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. REG in AZ

    It simply is ‘impossible to get blood out of a turnip’ just like it is totally impossible to get quality where dishonesty is the rule, as what you are looking for just isn’t there. The trick of course is in recognizing the turnip as a turnip and the dishonesty as dishonesty and in not seeing things as being other than they are or as we may like them to be for our own preferences (biases/prejudices/emotions). In other words, we need to be disciplined at being objective, rational and honest with ourselves first.

    To condemn Democrats for being Socialistic and spending too much neglects to acknowledge the truth that Republicans, even while being Conservative, can literally cost more in placating Special Interests and the extremely wealthy, powerful and influential few who strongly support them – Bush-Cheney clearly proved that and all we have to do is look at the problems we have to see the results. The ‘trickle down’ theory has obviously been proven to be a fraud as giving more to those who already spend all they want really doesn’t help the overall economy. Also, successful social programs which can bring the poor up to being independent and productive in society really do benefit the overall economy. Today’s problems are not because the Democrats are spending but rather the Democrats are spending because of the problems they inherited and to do nothing would be a continuing disaster. All of that is common sense yet people can literally be conned, often easily, with emotional appeals to their biases and self-interests and they then can accept and support positions that are not in their best interests.

    We each need to individually determine what the truth is and we need to do that objectively and rationally, uninfluenced by the propaganda and the emotional appeals aimed to manipulate us. I clearly see that none are perfect but I have really been alienated (from being a registered Republican to now being an Independent) by the gross, arrogant and self-serving, dishonesty of the Republican Party. After Bush, Cheney, Rove,, and now with Boehner, McConnell, Kyl and several others, supported by Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, Steele and more, including the overt and covert support of those who they serve, all seriously presenting an obnoxious and flagrant irresponsibility that boldly attacks but offers nothing positive and really demonstrates a total focus only on their political ambitions at any cost and without conscience, I now see the dishonesty pendulum as having swung far to the right. John Dean, in his book ‘Broken Government’, describes how the current Republican mindset prevents them from responsibly governing. Again, without honesty I can’t see how to expect any quality but then that is really something we each need to discern with private discipline for ourselves; the key simply is in having the discipline to reject being conned.

    July 14, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. JP

    Good thing Buffet doesn't pick stocks like he picks politicians or he would be bankrupt now.

    July 14, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. The Real Me

    What he needs to do is start listening to Warren Buffet.

    July 14, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. Sniffit stinks

    Any meeting Obama is having with Buffet is just for show. He's done everything to erode the economy since he's been in office. He's already ignored the brightest and best business minds in his previous 'summits'.

    July 14, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    Who does our Government represent? The People? Or the wealthy, the lobbyist, unions, PACs, The national party, Wall Street, banking, IOnsurance and big oil?

    July 14, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. dave

    warren buffet is a personal hero of mine. Genius Human Being.

    July 14, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  11. Independant Vet

    Obama , more and likely , say's " We have to give more jobs to China , for the last 200 jobs we gave china to build turbines , That is not coming fast eneough. Other wise we must put up a plant here for those 120,000,000 Illegals , an put them to work ..
    Tax free . An free m,edical , This will work , for with there votes, We will over come the heat . belive me , for I am political correct , ask Pelosi.,

    July 14, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  12. TomInRochNY

    Listening to Buffet, a very good thing! He's a billionaire in touch with reality.

    July 14, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  13. Meeting of the Minds

    Republicans Neo/cons will never have a discussion like Mr Buffet has dad with President Obama. Individuals like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Palin would prefer that this US President fail because President Obama is a Democrat.

    July 14, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. geminitwo

    Guess Buffet had it wrong.

    July 14, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. harold

    Do you think most people will turn to the republicans in the next election?..The Republicans in power for 8 years and left with a stinking mess in the economy?..And they oppose exerything.... un-employment insurance..,And they vote NO on everything from Medicare to Social Security to the new Health Insurance Law which they pledge to repeal...So what does the republican party get you?.. The last time they balanced the budget for the USA was in 1930 during their Great depression....which sure helped a lot of people selling apples on the street during those years...And now you want them to do it again while we are trying to pull out of our Greatest Re cession?

    July 14, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  16. Dale

    It's got to be political cover for whatever financial/business regulation Obama is going to propose next. Same crap that he pulled with the oil drilling experts before issuing a moratorium on deep well drilling that they really didn't support.

    July 14, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  17. Really

    Now we know who was pulling the strings on the election and who continues to run the show from the puppeteers position.

    July 14, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  18. Ann

    Warren Buffet would certainly know what the business community is thinking and why they are not hiring when it is obvious that they must be running their businesses with skelton staff. I personally think that some in big business are right leaning in their politics. They want to support a possible Republican take back of the House and are hoping to do this if high unemployment numbers are maintained leading up to November.

    Barack Obama has managed to get alot done in the short time that he has been in office but some are thinking that low unemployment numbers would be too much of a feather in his cap. How sad that people are willing to destroy the Country just for political gain.

    July 14, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. What

    The great socialist is asking a capitalist for advice? I can't believe it.

    July 14, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Talking to "people that know" is what our President should be doing.
    Making sure the press knows about it only takes time away from doing the job this administration was elected to do.
    Unlike some of his predacessors, he is working ot help the country, not mamking deals that will benefit friend and financial holdings- no names but do the initials Haliburton mean anything?

    July 14, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. Eric

    Look at the photo... the caption could read, "And you see here Barry, this pictograph illustrates basic supply and demand."

    It's beyond sad that anyone is allowed to rise up to the high office of the presidency before getting his first Economics 101 course.

    "What's that? The economy is in free fall and Americans are rejecting every hair-brained 'economic' idea I have offered?"

    "Hmm, sounds like America needs another speech. 'Make no mistake... I will not rest... the last eight years... Bush... Bush... Bush...'"

    Tremendous SOTUS (socialist of the united states) FAIL

    July 14, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. Barack.Hussein.Obama-America's-Incompetent-DICTATOR

    What is Obozo doing talking with an avowed capitalist??!! Obozo must ATTACK and DEMONIZE Buffet until he succumbs to Obozo's socialism and agree to surrender all his money into Obozo's new slush fund to cure capitalists!

    Or MAYBE Obozo is FINALLY getting lessons on how the free market works??? Nahhh.... he knows it all, after all he went to Haaarrrrvard!

    July 14, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. Keith in Austin

    Obozo to Buffet: "hey Warren, please explain to me why Socialism isn't working?

    July 14, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. Ron

    (in a whisper) "Pssst. Warren, I have no idea what I am doing. All the Socialist ideas I have been taught over the years just don't work. Can you give me a crash course on Economics as well as tell me what I should put on the telemprompter? The people are quickly figuring out that I am incompetent and have no idea what I am doing. How can I continue to fool the people? What should I be saying?"

    July 14, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Good we need Energy Reform immediately. Invest in public works projects that will implement rail systems and R & D in green energy tech.
    America is way behind other industrialized nations thanks to the crooks in the Republican Party that are sell-outs to Big Oil...along with a handful of traitor Dem's.

    July 14, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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