Transcript courtesy of CNBC:

CNBC’s Becky Quick: MR. BUFFETT, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

Warren Buffett: I'M IN AN AIRPLANE AND I HOPE TO SEE — HOPE IT'S BEING POWERED BY GE ENGINES.

Quick: WHY INVEST IN GE NOW?

Buffett: I'VE FOLLOWED THE COMPANY FOR A VERY LONG TIME. I KNOW MANAGEMENT. WE BUY LOTS OF WIND TURBINES FROM THEM. FRANKLY, THESE MARKETS ARE OFFERING THESE OPPORTUNITIES THAT WERE NOT AVAILABLE SIX MONTHS AGO.

Quick: THE TERMS OF THIS DEAL VERY DIFFERENT FROM SOMEONE WHO WOULD BE BUYING COMMON STOCK.

Buffett: THIS DEAL IS PATTERNED VERY MUCH AFTER THE GOLDMAN SACHS DEAL.THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS THAT THE PREFERRED IS NONCALLABLE FOR THREE YEARS.

Quick: DID YOU GO TO GE OR DID THEY COME TO YOU?

Buffett: THROUGH GOLDMAN SACHS, I WAS APPROACHED ON IT VERY RECENTLY AND SO GOLDMAN SACHS APPROACHED ME.

Quick: WHEN WE TALKED LAST WEEK ABOUT GOLDMAN SACHS, YOU SAID THE REASON YOU WERE DOING THAT DEAL IS BECAUSE YOU ASSUMED SOMETHING WOULD GET THROUGH CONGRESS. THAT PLAN RAN INTO A WALL THIS WEEK. ARE YOU STILL EXPECTING SOME SORT OF DEAL WILL BE MADE?

Buffett: THE CONGRESS WILL DO THE RIGHT THING WHEN THEY UNDERSTAND. THEY MAY GET SIDETRACKED AS THEY DID EARLIER THIS WEEK. THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT THE PATRIOTISM AND WILLINGNESS TO ACT IN THE INTEREST OF THE COUNTRY. IT WON'T BE 435 TO NOTHING, BUT I'M BETTING THEY'LL ACT RESPONSIBLY ON THIS. I HAVE EVERY EXPECTATION THEY WILL, BUT I'LL STILL FEEL BETTER AFTER THE VOTES HAVE BEEN COUNTED.

Quick: THE DEAL WITH GE TODAY AND GOLDMAN LAST WEEK, ARE THESE STILL GOOD DEALS IF NOTHING GETS THROUGH CONGRESS?

Buffett: NO. I THINK WE HAVE TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE PROBLEMS. I SAID TWO WEEKS AGO THAT IT WAS AN ECONOMIC PEARL HARBOR. TWO WEEKS LATER, WE'RE IN WORSE SHAPE BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT TO DELAY WHEN THERE IS A NATIONAL EMERGENCY. I THINK THAT'S PROBABLY OBVIOUS TO A MAJORITY OF CONGRESS. I THINK WE'LL GET ACTION. IF WE DON'T, I WILL HAVE DONE SOME DUMB THINGS.

Quick: THE HOLDUPS OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS, HOW DAMAGING IS THAT TO THE UNITED STATES ECONOMY?

Buffett: IT HURTS. YOU'VE HAD AN ECONOMY THAT'S LIKE A GREAT ATHLETE THAT'S HAD A HEART ATTACK, CARDIAC ARREST, AND THE PARAMEDICS THAT HAVE COME, INSTEAD OF ARGUING WHO WAS AT FAULT, THE ATHLETES SHOULD HAVE BEEN CHECKING HIS BLOOD PRESSURE MORE CAREFULLY. THE IMPORTANT THING IS TO APPLY THE RESUSCITATOR. IT DOESN'T HELP SPENDING TIME WORRYING ABOUT WHO IS TO BLAME FOR THE PATIENT HAVING THE HEART ATTACK.

Quick: YOU KNOW, WE'VE HAD PEOPLE CALL IN BRINGING UP THIS QUESTION, IF THIS IS SUCH A GREAT DEAL FOR THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER, WHY ISN'T WARREN BUFFETT INVOLVED IN THAT AS WELL.WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THAT?

Buffett: I DON'T HAVE 700 BILLION. WE WOULD BUY AT MARKET PRICES, WE WOULD BUY THE MORTGAGE DEBT IOF WE HAD THE BORROWING CAPACITY OF THE GOVERNMENT. IF WE COULD DO THE DEAL THAT IS AVAILABLE TO THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT AND HAVE STAYING POWER, WE WOULD MAKE SIGNIFICANT MONEY. IF THEY BUY THE ASSETS AT MARKET PRICE, I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE 1% OF THE PROFIT OR LOSS THAT RESULTS FROM BUYING THESE ASSETS FROM TROUBLED FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS.THEY'RE COMPETITION IN BUYING THESE IS A BUNCH OF HEDGE FUNDS AND THE GOVERNMENT WITH ITS BORROWING COSTS, IF THEY BUY THEM AT MARKET, THEY WILL REALIZE A SIGNIFICANT PROFIT OVER TIME. I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE ONE PERCENT OF THE ACTION. I CAN'T AFFORD ANY MORE THAN THAT. THE KEY IS BUYING AT MARKET PRICES.

Quick: ARE YOU SAYING THAT IF YOU COULD GET 1% OF THIS DEAL, YOU WOULD PUT UP YOUR MONEY?

Buffett: YES. IF THE U.S. TREASURY OFFERED ME THE CHANCE TO HAVE A 1% PARTICPATION IN THE PROFIT OR LOSS IN THE 700 BILLION THEY'LL SPEND AND IF THEY BUY THE ASSETS AT MARKET PRICES, I'D FEEL I HAVE A SWEET DEAL. I WOULD TAKE 1% OF THE DEAL.

Quick: THIS DEAL YOU DID TODAY —

Buffett: THE ASSETS ARE PRICED ATTRACTIVELY NOW, BECKY. THAT IS THE THEME THEY'RE CINCHED, BUT IF YOU BUY AT MARKET PRICES, IF YOU BUY WHAT MERRILL LYNCH SOLD AT 22 CENTS ON THE DOLLAR, YOU'RE VERY LIKELY TO MAKE MONEY.

Quick: HAVE YOU SPOKEN TO ANYONE ON CAPITOL HILL ABOUT JUST THAT?

Buffett: I'VE SPOKEN TO SOME PEOPLE, SURE.

Quick: AND YOU'VE TOLD THEM YOU'D BE INTERESTED IN TAKING 1%?

Buffett: I DON'T THINK IT'S VERY FEASIBLE, BUT IF IT WERE OFFERED TO ME AND THEY WOULD BUY THE ASSETS AT MARKET PRICE AND I HAD TREASURY FUNDING COSTS WHICH ARE VERYLOW, AND THE STAYING POWER OF THE TREASURY, WHICH IS INDEFINATE, YOU'RE GOING TO MAKE MONEY ON THEM.

Quick: WHAT DRAWS YOU TO GENERAL ELECTRIC AND WHAT GOT YOU INTO THIS DEAL?

Buffett: GENERAL ELECTRIC IS THE BACKBONE OF AMERICAN INDUSTRY. I KNOW JACK WELCH WELL FOR DECADES. THEY'VE GOT SOME MARVELLOUS BUSINESSES. I'M SURE THEY HAVE SOME TROUBLES IN FINANCE, BUT THEY'VE BECOME TAINTED AS EVERY COMPANY THAT HAS TO BORROW MONEY ALL THE TIME. THEY'RE GOING TO BE AROUND FIVE OR TEN OR 100 YEARS FROM NOW. IF YOU BUY AT THE RIGHT TIME, YOU'LL PROBABLY MAKE SOME MONEY. THAT DOESN'T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT WHERE STOCKS WILL BE IN SIX MONTHS. I THINK I KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN FIVE OR TEN YEARS. I JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN FIVE OR TEN MONTHS.

Quick: YOU TALKED FOR A LONG TIME ABOUT HOW YOU LIKED TO BUY THINGS YOU UNDERSTAND VERY WELL, THAT YOU SEE WELL, THINGS LIKE KRAFT, BUDWEISER, COCA-COLA, HOW DOES THIS FIT IN WITH THE REST OF YOUR PORTFOLIO?

Buffett: WE BOUGHT A LOT OF WIND TURBINES FROM GE. WE DO A LOT OF BUSINESS WITH GE. THEY TOUCH ALMOST ALL CORNERS OF THE AMERICAN ECONOMY. ALL CORNERS OF THE INTERNATIONALECONOMY. IT IS A BIG, POWERFUL COMPANY THAT WILL TAKE SOME LOSSES IN THEIR FINANCE OPERATION AND THAT'S PART OF THE GAME, BUT THEY'VE GOT STAYING POWER AND A LOT OF THE BUSINESSES WILL BE WORTH MORE MONEY FIVE OR TEN YEARS FROM NOW.

Quick: YOU'VE BEEN ON A SPENDING SPREE THIS YEAR. ANOTHER $3 BILLION ON THIS. IS THERE A POINT WHERE YOU SAY I'M NOT SPENDING ANYMORE OF MY CASH?

Buffett: WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE PLENTY OF CASH AROUND BERKSHIRE. I REGARD 10 BILLION AS AMINIMUM. I DO NOT WANT TO BE DEPENDENT ON THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS IN THIS WORLD. I WILL CONSIDER THE SURPLUS CASH AT BERKSHIRE , BUT I WON'T GO BELOW A CERTAIN MINIMUM.I DON'T WANT TO COUNT ON BANKS LENDING ME MONEY. WE'LL ALWAYS KEEP 10 BILLION OF CONSOLIDATED CASH AROUND.I LIKE SPENDING.I LIKE INVESTING AND THE CHEAPER THINGS GET, THE BETTER I LIKE IT. THIS IS A GOOD PERIOD FOR US, ANYBODY — GO AHEAD.

Quick: GO AHEAD.

Buffett: WELL, AS LONG AS YOU DON'T BUY THINGS WITH BORROWED MONEY, span style=”font-size: 10pt; f

Posted by email from ivanandersson’s posterous

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