For all intents and purposes, Jim Cramer has left the Obama “Hope and Change” express. In an interview with Meredith Viera on the March 10 “Today” show, Cramer, along with Erin Burnett of CNBC, sounded off on the Obama administration’s plan to rescue the economy. He was also given an opportunity to respond to Jon Stewart.
While the discussion involved musings on CitiGroup, AIG, GM and others, Cramer used his time not only to respond to the White House but also Stewart’s mockery of him the night before. Viera prompted Cramer when she said “Meanwhile, Warren Buffett is saying the economy has fallen off a cliff and the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Dow could fall to 5,000, a new low. Do you think this will happen?”
“I think the administration should attack Warren Buffett instead of the little guys who come on TV and say the averages are down a lot,” Cramer said, alluding to the pounding he’s taken from the administration for questioning its economic policies. “Why don't they go after him?”
“The White House is not the only one who has come down on you, Jim, Viera said. “Jon Stewart and you are having a little war of words.”
Cramer exclaimed, “Oh! A comedian! A comedian’s attacking me. Wow. He runs a variety show.”
Viera played a clip of Stewart from the night before on “The Daily Show” mocking Cramer’s suggesting in January of 2008 to buy Bear Stearns.
“Any time you recommend a stock and it goes down, you’ve made a mistak,” Cramer responded. “Here’s the shocker: almost every stock is down. Any stock you recommended is bad. You know, Warren Buffett, I could run tapes of him and he’d look like a complete fool.”
Cramer noted in his defense domething else he’d said. “On October 6 of 2008, I came on this show and did something you never supposed to do if you have a stock show. I said people should sell everything. That was 35 percent ago. I mean, whatever he says, ‘Bear Stearns this or that,’ [the call to sell everything] should have wrecked my career and it would have if the market had gone up. But I stuck my neck out and did it and it saved a lot of people money.”
Asked if he regretted the Bear Stearns pick, he said simply, “Of course I regret recommending any stock.”
The discussion also touched on the Obama administration’s change in communications strategy, beginning to talk directly to Wall Street. Cramer sarcastically said, “Maybe they recognize we’ve got a bit of a problem, Wall Street. That would be terrific. It’s not just the rich people that are getting hurt, so I applaud this.”
Viera, after asking if the President was taking on too much, reminded Cramer and Burnett about how all of these things are connected, to which Cramer jokingly said, “Stem Cells?” and a half-hearted “Sure. Ya’ know. Terrific.”
Burnett tried to defend the administration’s desire to take on everything, while conceding the economy was the biggest threat, saying “Some ways they are. The longest issue facing our economy long-term is Medicare and Medicaid. That's what we said would bankrupt us, but with that smoldering fire in the back of the house, you have to deal with the flames in the front, deal with the market.”