Obama supporters, naturally, are excited about word today that one of the world's richest men, Warren Buffett -- the sage of Omaha -- has thrown his support to the Democratic frontrunner, although it's not likely to put Nebraska in the win column for Obama this November.
But why does Buffett like Barack? And why now? The wire service reports only reveal that Buffett announced an endorsement of Obama because he looks like the nominee: "I will be very happy if he is elected president. He is my choice." Not exactly food for thought.
But to find out more, I discovered a May 5, 2008, on-the-fly interview with Buffett carried by CNBC.
The interviewer, Becky Quick, asked Buffett to pretend for a moment that she was John McCain. She then asked, "Is there anything I can do, any economic issue I can get behind, that would actually make you think twice about potentially supporting me?"
Buffett replied: "I would say that if you felt the tax burden should be shifted in a significant way to the super-rich and away from the middle class, I would say that would make me re-evaluate you."
Quick/McCain: "So I could eventually gain your support come November?"
Buffett: "Well, in the end I vote on issues now. I think it's pretty clear in many major areas what all three candidates would do."
Then he said, chuckling, that it was "unlikely" he would back McCain "unless he has a serious change, a lobotomy or something like that."
Buffett explained: "I don't think McCain is going to change his views to be in accord with mine. I admire him a lot. I think he's an absolutely first-class human being, and if the Republicans are going to elect somebody I hope it's John McCain.
"But he has too many ideas that are different than I do, particular in terms of what I would call social justice."
Greg Mitchell's new book is So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits -- and the President -- Fails on Iraq. It has been hailed by Bill Moyers, Glenn Greenwald and others, and features a preface by Bruce Springsteen. Mitchell is editor of Editor & Publisher.
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