Bloomberg TV anchor Betty Liu interviewed three generations of Buffetts this morning: Berkshire Hathaway Chairman & CEO Warren Buffett, his son Howard G. Buffett and grandson, Howard W. Buffett.
Warren Buffett spoke about JPMorgan CEO (JPM) Jamie Dimon and the bank’s mortgage settlement, saying, “If you’re a financial institution and you’re threatened with criminal prosecution, you have no ability to negotiate…Basically, you’ve got to be like a wolf that bares its throat, you know, when it gets to the end. You cannot win…This country is a lot better off because Jamie Dimon has been running JPMorgan.”
Buffett also spoke why he likes AMC’s “Breaking Bad and what character he identifies most with, saying, “People would probably think I’m probably Saul, the lawyer, twelve cell phones and everything.”
BETTY LIU, BLOOMBERG: He’s one of the most famous investors of all time. And now Warren Buffett is turning his focus to a new book written by his son and grandson. I’m joined now by three generations of the Buffetts, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO, Warren Buffett, his son, Howard G. Buffett, and grandson, Howard W. Buffett. Welcome to all of you. This is a historic moment here having the three of you sit here in our Bloomberg studio.
HOWARD W. BUFFETT, AMERICAN PHILANTHROPIST: First time we’ve done it.
LIU: First time you’ve done it, okay. Howard, let’s start with you because you are the driver of this book, “40 Chances, Hope in a Hungry World,” that you’ve just published. And part of that came from – well first of all how did you rope everybody into helping you with this, especially your dad?
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: And it was easy for him. I just promised him more Dairy Queen. And I can’t tell you what I have on him.
LIU: All right so the idea of the book for those who haven’t read it is that everybody has about 40 years in their lifetime, right, to do, to make a difference in this world. And you kind of learned this from farming. You said you went to an event and you heard another farmer talk about the 40 chances that you have to really make the most out of your land. And this is where you got the idea for this.
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: Yes. And I thought about that. It actually changed a few things I did in farming, but more importantly it really kind of made me think about how – now the problem with bringing Warren along is my dad is that he has about 80 chances than most of us more, but
LIU: And counting.
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: – he’s telling me that. But most people really have about 40 good years. You get through school. You get a little experience and you think about the goals you want to accomplish, and the legacy you want to build or whatever it is you want to do. And really 40 years is probably the prime that you have to do that.
LIU: And why did you choose hunger, fighting hunger?
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: Well hunger is kind of a natural for me from the sense that I really understand agriculture. And that’s where it begins. And if you go around the world there’s billions of farmers literally that can’t feed their families, which is something that really is we would never think of that here, but there’s a lot of farmers that are hungry and their families are hungry. And it’s a production issue. And it’s a complicated production issue because of infrastructure and government.
LIU: It’s more than just providing them skills. It’s more than providing them seeds.
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: It’s way than, yes, way more than that.
LIU: It’s more than education.
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: Yes. It’s way more than that, but it’s all those pieces you have to put together. And on a continent like Africa it’s a challenge because you have limited infrastructure and you have – you do have a lot of governance issues. And so but it’s something a core part of it is really basic production.
LIU: Warren, I read the foreword that you wrote, which was say half, say very typical Warren Buffett style. You could really relate to it. And I want to just read one excerpt of the foreword that you wrote in this book. You wrote, “In this ovarian lottery my children received some lucky tickets. Many people who experience such good fortune react by simply enjoying their position in life. This approach is understandable though it can become distasteful.” Have you been happy with Howard and your family, your children have done with their money?
WARREN BUFFETT, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY: It’s one of the things that has made me the happiest in life. My kids could do nothing. And instead they’ve – he – all three of them have elected to spend every day, and in Howie’s case enormous effort in helping other people. And I just think that’s terrific. It makes me feel very good.
LIU: Ovarian lottery, where’d you come up with that?
WARREN BUFFETT: Well I came up with that a long, long time ago to describe the situation that – I was lucky. I was born in the United States. The odds were 30 or 40-to-1 against that. I had some lucky genes. I was born at the right time. If I’d been born thousands of years ago I’d be some animal’s lunch because I can’t run very fast or climb trees. So there’s so much chance in how we enter the world. And –
LIU: And you were always aware to make sure your children and their grandchildren, and your grandchildren would be grounded.
WARREN BUFFETT: Yes. And we’re not – how you came out of the womb has really nothing to do with what kind of person you are. You decide what kind of person you’re going to be. It does decide whether maybe you never have to do an item of work in your life and maybe determine whether you’re fighting uphill all of the time, but where in my life, in my eyes is we’re all created equal, and but we don’t all have an equal opportunity by a longshot. And my kids really work every day in trying to even up the scorecard.
LIU: Howie, I know that – we had you on earlier when you were first starting to just about to a lecture at Columbia University, which is of course where your grandfather graduated from. Is the Buffett name, do you feel that that had an aura around it when you were there? Or do people treat you the same? Or tell me how that affected you.
HOWARD W. BUFFETT: Well it actually I haven’t noticed anything too unique or out of the ordinary. What’s been wonderful is that the students that I’m speaking with every lecture just they love hearing stories and they love hearing about “40 Chances,” and what we’ve done in the book and what we’ve done around the world. And I assign “40 Chances” as the reading. I didn’t make them go out and buy copies. I gave them a copy, but they’ve really loved the book. And getting feedback from them on what their favorite stories are and the people that are inspiring them through those stories as well has just been so fulfilling.
LIU: And it definitely sounds that way. Now, Howard, you are going to eventually become the non-executive chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. How has your work at the foundation, how do you think that that’s going to help you when you eventually join as the non-executive chairman?
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: Well probably specific to that question would just be the fact that I have a pretty good global understanding. I travel a lot, and been to a lot of countries and see a lot of different circumstances. So I think from a global standpoint it certainly helps me have a better understanding.
WARREN BUFFETT: He understands people and their motivations very well, and so –
LIU: Warren, why did you pick Howard for that role?
WARREN BUFFETT: Well my other two children were both on the what was originally designed to be the big foundation. And then so it was sort of a specialization of labor. Those two were going to be on the foundation and Howie was going to be the non-executive chairman that it was just a natural way to keep them all and occupied in what was important to me really, the company and giving the money away.
LIU: Was that to rein in Howard at all, or you thought he was a pretty precocious child.
WARREN BUFFETT: Yes, well hey yes –
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: I never earned that right and then actually.
LIU: Howard, look, you do have a global view. You’ve traveled around the world. Tell me what are the mistakes people are making policy wise here when it comes to fighting hunger, because this is really the big passion. This is what drove you for your book.
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: Well we’ve probably made as many mistakes as anybody. So it’s kind of easy to understand why it’s a challenge. I think one of the things that’s been missing in philanthropy for a long time and we talk about it in “40 Chances” is that businesses a lot of times for years have been seen kind of as the evil empire. And NGOs, non-governmental organizations, didn’t want to really partner with them.
It’s changing today and that’s a good thing because the truth is if you want to bring people out of poverty permanently, and Carlos Slim has said this really well, put them to work. Give them a job and let them have some economic independence. So business has to be part of the solution. I think for a long time we failed to recognize that.
LIU: Well how do you make sure it’s real for business and not just lip service?
WARREN BUFFETT: Well one important difference is that there’s a marketing system gives you playback on whether you’re doing the right thing to in business. A marketing system does not function that way in philanthropy. Who – people who are receiving the money will keep telling you you are doing a wonderful job whether you are or not. So there’s no real market test for your activities. And –
LIU: So how do you gauge that then?
WARREN BUFFETT: Well that’s why I love have Howie work on it. I think he is empathetic. He understands the problem. He sees the farming problems of the world through the eyes of the people that are farming, whether in Africa or someplace rather than through the eyes of an American farmer for example, or an American farm company.
LIU: But is the answer that business has to be a part of it also partly because governments are not, well as we were talking about last week in Des Moines, governments, meaning these countries, can’t govern properly. They don’t have the right infrastructure in place.
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: They have challenges, yes. But Coke’s a great example. Coca-Cola is a great example. You look at the continent of Africa, 54 countries. It’s a huge continent, second largest continent in the world. They are if you put the Coke system together they’re the largest single employer on the continent. And they’ve done that through creating jobs. They’ve done it with identifying entrepreneurs. They’ve been – they’ve done it through innovation, building a great distribution system.
So I don’t – there’s a huge kind of bottom segment in poverty that aren’t going to just wake up one day and have a job. So that’s not – I don’t want to sound like I think that that’s the end game for everybody immediately. It’s not. But as you pull people up you have to move them into a segment that will work for them and keep them occupied in terms of economic activity. Farmers are particularly difficult because they are very dependent on the government. And you have to have good infrastructure.
If you look at the successful countries in agriculture, and the United States as a powerhouse and Brazil is becoming one, they’ve done that through investment in infrastructure, rural electrification, roads, transportation systems. One of the key things in this country and something is Brazil is working on is their water transportation systems. So all those things they get easy to get inputs in and product out. And you’ve got to have that. And that and government has to do the big things.
LIU: Howie, what’s been the biggest thing you’ve learned out in the field?
HOWARD W. BUFFETT: Well for me I think I have been inspired really actually by both my grandfather and my father. And Howard is, my dad has taken around the world with him over the last 15 years and showing me exactly –
LIU: In some dangerous places I know.
HOWARD W. BUFFETT: Yes. We’ve had a couple of close calls, yes that we don’t want to talk about.
WARREN BUFFETT: Places I won’t go.
LIU: I hear a lot of don’t tell dad.
HOWARD W. BUFFETT: Yes and without [again without it]. But grandpa has really been a role model for what one person can accomplish in a lifetime, and the same with dad. He has shown us what change can be made by even a single individual given the opportunity to change the world. And that to me is inspiration. That’s what “40 Chances” is all about.
LIU: Warren, do you wish that there were more people who share this? Do you feel like that there are so not enough people who have joined for instance your giving pledge?
WARREN BUFFETT: Well actually, Betty, I’ve been surprised really at how many have. We’ve had a really good response. It’s around 115 now. And I would not have bet that we would have come as far as we have that when we have when we started. So I – no I’m encouraged. There are lots and lots of people that have accumulated great wealth that really want to figure out the best way to share it with others. Now they have different interests that they’ve been hit by a particular disease in their family. They’re very likely to focus on that. Some of them are likely to focus on where they were educated and all that. It’s all fine. But –
LIU: Did you ever get involved with what Howard was going to work on? Did you know that he was going to work on food insecurity?
WARREN BUFFETT: Well it would be almost impossible to imagine him not working on it because he loves it. He loves farming and he loves the people that are working with the soil. And it hurts him when he sees people that are not getting the maximum out of there. They’re working like crazy. And to not get output commensurate with the input they’re putting in is and just he wants to change it.
LIU: Well and, Howard, you do want to change the world through agriculture. You do want – you have, as I mentioned, met with many leaders around the world. What is your ultimate goal? What would be the ultimate return for you at the foundation?
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: Well we also select a lot of tough places to work, Burundi, Congo, South Sudan, a lot of tough countries. And so we have to kind of gauge our level of expectation in terms of where we’re working. But I think to look at it on a macro scale the way I’ve kind of phrased it is I think Africa needs, first of all they need a higher level of commitment from their leadership. And that’s very complicated. And then we work with Tony Blair. And he’s in the book, “40 Chances,” and talks about what he’s doing in governance, which is a huge thing and has to be successful.
But the truth is that farmers are people who depend on a lot of things that are out of their control. And so we have to bring as many thing into control as we can. And what I was going to say is on a macro level I’ve also said if you could just take and replicate our land grant system that made us so successful and so productive, and replicate that in Africa, that’s a beginning point. You can’t cheat on agriculture. You have three bad years for every great year you have and so –
WARREN BUFFETT: You’re talking like a farmer here.
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: But it’s a tough business. It’s a very tough – he always says it’s one of the toughest businesses there is.
LIU: Are you going to have to stop some of this though? Are you going to have to ease back when you get involved further into Berkshire Hathaway?
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: It’s impossible to predict what happens. The truth is you’re going to have a great CEO running a great company. And so I’m just around there to pitch in when somebody needs help or to make sure that the culture remains pretty similar to what it is today. So I don’t think it’s a big disruption coming on.
WARREN BUFFETT: He won’t ease back. And there won’t be any need to be. If for some reason he would have to spend more time it means we’ve got a problem there, but we’re not going to have a problem. And then so I don’t see –
LIU: How is it exactly going to work, Warren? How do you envision it working?
WARREN BUFFETT: Well let’s say – okay we’ll start with me dying tomorrow morning.
HOWARD W. BUFFETT: Let’s not.
WARREN BUFFETT: And the board of directors, the board of directors would meet probably by telephone initially. And they know exactly who they would put into CEO. And that CEO will be terrific, and in many, many respects much better than I am. And they would make Howie the non-executive chairman, but that will take no more time really than being a director takes now.
LIU: I want to talk a little bit about other foundations, and in particular the Gates Foundation, which I know you work very closely with. And you do as well. They operate a little bit different than the Howard Buffett Foundation. So tell me the differences between the two and why do both work.
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: Well there’s – I would say first of all that the Gates Foundation has built a great agricultural team. And we’re good friends with some of the people there and they’re great at what they do. We operate a little bit more – one thing that makes a difference is I’m in the field a lot myself. And so that drives some different processes and some different decision making, but we’re pretty quick. We’re small. We give a lot of money with [Gates] per person.
LIU: The Gates Foundation is huge.
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: They’re large. They’re large.
WARREN BUFFETT: They’ll give away over $3 billion a year and Howie will probably give $120 million.
WARREN BUFFETT: So that’s 25 for one.
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: Yes. And so I think that we’ve learned from them and hopefully they’ve learned from us. When we have a partnership with somebody like that that we both have very similar goals, they have a much more involved process and we don’t. And sometimes that’s better and sometimes it’s not better. So every circumstance is a little bit different.
LIU: Would you have wanted an endowment as big as what your father gave to the Gates Foundation?
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: Well the first thing is we don’t want an endowment. Our goal it’s a bit of a challenge. We set out to put ourselves out of business in 40 years. And that’s one of the messages in “40 Chances” is everybody ought to think about being out of business. If you think about being out of business then you have more urgency to it. You focus better. You’ll select things that you’re best at and not try to be everything to everybody. So I don’t think – an endowment to me is really in a way a waste of money because you ought to be spending it, and using and changing things. And in our case we –
LIU: You want to go out of business.
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: Yes. And we are going to spend everything we get each year what comes in from Berkshire stock, and the value fluctuates every year. So we can’t plan it perfectly, but this year we’ll give away about $130 million and we took in something a little bit more than that.
LIU: Is that what you hope, Warren, for foundations to –
WARREN BUFFETT: Well no it is the deal. And they give away everything I give them every year. And 99 plus percent of what I have will be given to five foundations. And it all has to be spent within ten years after my estate is closed. And it can’t be used directly or indirectly to fund endowments. So the money is going to get spent. I know who I’m giving the money to. I don’t want somebody 40 years down the line that who knows who they would be –
WARREN BUFFETT: – spending the money. So there’s plenty of things to do with the money now, get it spent, find other people that made a lot of money after I die and they can attack the problems of their day.
LIU: Warren, what’s been the most satisfying thing for you when you’ve given your money away? What cause has been most satisfying to you? What have you felt closest to?
WARREN BUFFETT: Well I would say the most satisfying thing actually is watching my three children each pick up on their own interests and work many more hours per week than most people that have jobs at trying to intelligently give away that money in fields that they particularly care about. With my daughter it may be early education. With Howie it’s farming. And with my son, Peter, it’s women’s, but each one has their own interests. They work hard at it and it’s been one of the most rewarding things in my life.
LIU: How about Bill Gates and what he’s done?
WARREN BUFFETT: Well they’re doing a terrific job. And only the Gates Foundation for example has the scale to take on trying to eradicate polio. I forget whether it’s a five or $6 billion project in the next few years. And Bill and Melinda have another advantage which is they have the ability to interact and engage governments. And that’s enormously important. But they have a calling card around the world basically. And on polio for example Howie mentioned Carlos. Now he’s joined in. Mayor Bloomberg has joined in. So Bill has a not only the power of his own purse and mine, but he has been able to draw on important sources of funding elsewhere.
LIU: Well he’s very busy at the foundation.
WARREN BUFFETT: Well he works for a time, sure.
LIU: And he’s busy on the Berkshire board too. And he’s busy playing bridge with you and –
WARREN BUFFETT: Well he’s mostly busy on the board. And we don’t want any of the directors to need to spend more time on Berkshire. We want things to be working well enough so they don’t have to.
LIU: Well there’s a big rumor out that he might come back as Microsoft CEO. Could you see that in Bill Gates?
WARREN BUFFETT: No. And I think the chances of that are zero.
WARREN BUFFETT: Yeah sure.
WARREN BUFFETT: Because I think that he is doing exactly what he wants to do in life and he’s doing it well. And it takes his full-time energy. It takes – he’s flying around the world a very significant percentage of the time. And he is engaging governments in his efforts on in many respects. So he has got more than a full-time job at the Gates Foundation, and obviously cares about Microsoft, but he’s not going back.
LIU: Now all three of you are here talking about the world and about helping fight global hunger, but here in the United States people are worried about their jobs. They’re worried about the economy. They’re worried about whether their home prices are going to go down again. So how do you get people to pay attention here in the U.S. to a cause that you’re trying to fight, Howard, in Africa?
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: It’s not easy. And the truth is it’s not easy. And we also have a significant problem with hunger in this country. And we have a chapter in the book about it. And there’s about 50 million food insecure people. And food insecurity just means you don’t know where your next meal is coming from.
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: That’s a huge number. That’s a sixth of the population of the wealthiest country in the world. There’s something desperately wrong with that. And that comes down to policy. And again there’s a higher number today because people are worried about their job because people when they’re out of work, or let’s say if you look at today’s statistics and kind of how our society works, you have a lot of households with both a mom and dad working.
And one of those gets their hours cut back or loses their job, you’ve got mortgage payments, you’ve got car payments, you’ve got kids getting to trying to get through school. You have all these things and the competing interests of utilities and food. And so food usually loses in the end. And so we have a lot of hungry people in this country. And it’s even difficult to get people to care about that. We did –
LIU: Well it is. Immigration reform for instance that’s taken a back seat to all of the wrangling that’s gone on in Washington. How frustrating, Warren, is that for you to see this?
WARREN BUFFETT: Well the country will always have some priorities it doesn’t get to, but there’s a terrific chapter in Howie’s book, a really terrific chapter about what was he did in Decatur. He just looked around and said, you don’t have to go to Africa to find hungry people.
WARREN BUFFETT: And –
WARREN BUFFETT: And he not only did some funding of some things there, but he pitched in himself and he got other people to pitch in in town. It’s a great – it’s inspiring. A lot of people are looking to be asked to do something. The concern for their fellow man is a strong, strong impulse, and I think maybe particularly strong even in America. So –
LIU: You can imagine the average American who’s been watching what’s gone on in Washington, the government shutdown and this whole – some were not even been aware about what a debt limit is, is saying who in Washington really cares about me.
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: Well but, Betty, I’ll tell you this. When people have some of the level of frustration and suffering that have come in the last few years in this country they have a better empathy and understanding of what other people go through. So there’s always a silver lining in something. And even though we all like to be at work doing well, when you’re not you start to understand how other people may be living and what some of those challenges are. We have a great on 40chances.com, which is a lot for me because I still use my fax machine and all that –
LIU: Howie’s the one that tweets.
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: Yes. But that there is a page on there that you can go to and give you lots of ideas of the ways of getting involved, what you can do. And it doesn’t all take money. A lot of the most important things take time.
LIU: Well it does. It doesn’t take money. It doesn’t all take money. It takes time. So how do you get, how do you – have you – what was that – what has the response been so far?
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: No. It’s great. People are very responsive. I think the amazing thing about when you meet people who are struggling in a continent like Africa the resiliency to me of those people is amazing. And we work in a lot of conflict zones and post conflict. People don’t give up. It’s amazing. So if you look in the United States I think as people get a better understanding of what their own challenges are that does help them get inspired to help other people.
LIU: But there’s been a real me too attitude in Washington, right?
WARREN BUFFETT: Yes. Well and but and there are more good things going on out in the country, in the rest of the country than in Washington. And I’ll put it that way. And but what I always talk about, if you look at the GLIDE Foundation, Cecil Williams went out there in the 1960s. And my wife would go down there to the church on various days, particularly around holidays, and work distributing food and the American people have a lot of good impulses. And to some extent they wouldn’t like to be informed as to what they might do to help other people, but Washington is another story.
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: That’s partly what this book is about is to try to encourage people to do more and give them ideas on how they can do more and why it’s worth doing more. People in America are the most generous people in the world. There’s no question about it. And so you go through tough times, and just because you go through tough times it doesn’t change your character or your values. So I still believe that American people will always step up to the plate.
LIU: What about, Warren, though people who say that Americans have not seen their lives improve under the president?
WARREN BUFFETT: Well the rich have. The Forbes 400 this year came in at $2 trillion $20 billion. That’s far higher than any year in the past. It’s 20, 22 or 23 times what it was 30 years ago. So the wealthy are doing fine, more than fine. But the inequality has grown. And that is something I think that Congress ought to take very seriously.
LIU: Do you believe we’re going to get through this next budget fight? Do you believe that we won’t have another government shutdown?
WARREN BUFFETT: Well we won’t have a government shutdown, and Senator McConnell’s ruled on that.
LIU: And you believe him?
WARREN BUFFETT: Yes. Well yes I do. And no we won’t have another shutdown, but that’s a very, very minor triumph. The fact that we don’t shut down the United States government should not be looked at as a crowning achievement of this particular congress. So and the – we have the resources that – we have a country with $50,000 of GDP per capita. That’s six times what it was when I was born. If you had told my father when he was in the waiting room in 1930 that his son was going to live in a world that had six times as much stuff per person, he would have thought we would all be living in utopia.
LIU: So we have the ability to raise taxes. We have the ability to generate more revenue.
WARREN BUFFETT: Yes. And we have the ability if we made promises that are excessive to modify them. Even a rich family can make too many promises, but we should never forget we’ve got a wonderfully rich family. And the question is is how we take care of that family, and at the same time have the family continue to get richer. We want – the market system is wonderful in terms of producing more and more stuff. And the question is how do we make sure everybody that is part of the family that has this stuff at least has a very decent minimum standard of living.
LIU: Now a lot of reviewers though today are going to be – they’re business leaders, right? They’re in business and they’re Wall Street CEOs. They’re traders, investors. And they feel in many ways that they’ve been targeted, they’ve been attacked though through all of this. They feel – essentially with higher taxes, with more regulation. And they look upon a story like Jamie Dimon, like JP Morgan. And they say, whoa, the $13 billion settlement that is about to be announced is huge and it’s unfair towards Jamie Dimon. It’s just another example of the government going after a “fat cat” banker. Do you stand by Jamie?
WARREN BUFFETT: Well I think there’s some truth to that. No I – you have no ability if you’re a financial institution and you’re threatened with criminal prosecution, you have no ability to negotiate. Basically it’s you’ve got to be like a wolf that bares its throat when it gets to the end that you cannot win because if you get a criminal indictment as a financial institution you’re probably licensed in 50 states and you’ve got the – it just it – so you pay what’s asked. You have a gun to your head. And –
LIU: Do you feel that’s what Jamie has?
WARREN BUFFETT: Well I think $13 billion is a lot of money and I think Jamie has done a very good job of running JP Morgan. I think he helped out the economy enormously by when he took on Bear Stearns without – and he didn’t get an indemnification clause. Looking back he probably wishes he should, but there wasn’t even time for that sort of thing. He took on WAMU. This country is a lot better off.
LIU: Which you had said was the right thing to do.
WARREN BUFFETT: Yes. And this country is a lot better off because Jamie Dimon has been running JP Morgan.
LIU: Now just on a final note, and I was alluding to how active you guys now are on Twitter, and welcome to the Twitter sphere, Warren Buffett.
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: He’s four tweets ahead of me.
WARREN BUFFETT: Yes. It’s not going to be a lead that widens.
LIU: But one of the things, Warren, I noticed I was reading your Twitter and you had a really funny tweet out back in September. You’re a big “Breaking Bad” fan, aren’t you?
WARREN BUFFETT: I’m a huge fan.
LIU: This is Warren Buffett here as Walter White saying that not even the oracle knows what the finale is going to be in “Breaking Bad.” Had you even – did you even have any idea that that finale was going to be –
WARREN BUFFETT: No. I love Vince Gilligan and but I couldn’t get it out of him. It was – I thought it was a terrific ending. And Walter White’s gone on to his reward, but maybe I can be his successor. Who knows?
LIU: Well one of the things, are you guys “Breaking Bad” fans by the way?
HOWARD W. BUFFETT: Oh well when we’re not traveling around doing our work we’re trying to catch up on that.
HOWARD G. BUFFETT: I’ve never seen it because I never get to watch TV.
LIU: You’re too busy out in the field. Every time I call you you’re out on the farm.
HOWARD W. BUFFETT: There’s no TVs on the combine. That’s a real – yes that’s a challenge.
LIU: Well I wanted to – Warren, you’re always great on this. I wanted to bring up the main characters of “Breaking Bad.”
WARREN BUFFETT: Okay.
LIU: And tell me who do you identify with?
WARREN BUFFETT: Well, and incidentally you don’t have a [gun] up there who would play Skyler. I – those were sensational actors, all of them. The story is unbelievably good. Vince just did a great job, but there’s great acting. And like you say, Skyler should be up there too. I met Hank at the cemetery when they had the final party. And I’d never met him before. And he’s as mean as he looks, I got to tell you. And the first thing I said to him I said, Hank, I’m tougher than I look. Oh it was Mike. I’m sorry. I said Hank but I meant Mike.
LIU: But is there any one of the people that you identify with at all, anyone (inaudible)?
WARREN BUFFETT: I probably – people would probably think I’m probably Saul, the lawyer, twelve cell phones and everything.
LIU: And key name, Saul, all right. Warren, great to have you here in the studio, Warren Buffett.
WARREN BUFFETT: Thanks, Betty.
LIU: And of course to Howard G. Buffett and Howard W. Buffett, all promoting a new book, “40 Chances.”
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