The U.S. is at war with the failing economy, according to Warren Buffett, who told CNBC viewers that it had "fallen off a cliff."
In September 2008, Buffett compared the market turmoil to "an economic Pearl Harbor," and on March 9 he returned to that metaphor in a "Squawk Box" interview that began at 6 a.m. and continued through the 7 and 8 a.m. program hours. Buffett also criticized the Democratic majority for losing focus and trying to move on "pet projects."
"If you're in a war, and we really are in an economic war, there's a obligation to the majority to behave in ways to not go around inflaming the minority. If on Dec. 8, or maybe it was Dec. 7, when Roosevelt convened Congress to vote on the war. He didn't say, ‘I'm throwing in about ten of my pet projects,'" Buffett said.
Taking aim at one such issue, interviewer Joe Kernen replied: "You might not have fixed global warming the day after - the day after D-Day, Warren."
"Absolutely," Buffett declared. He also told Kernen that the Republicans should provide general support for the administration, but that the Democrats should not be pushing "contentious" policies that are not related to solving the nation's economic woes.
"Job one is to win the economic war. Job two is to win the economic war and Job 3," Buffett said. "And you can't expect people to unite behind you if you're trying to jam a whole bunch of things down their throats. So I would absolutely say, for the interim until we get this one solved, I would not be pushing a lot of things that, that you know are contentious."
Buffett's remarks came as prominent global warming "skeptics" gathered in New York for the International Conference on Climate Change, and just a week and a half after President Obama asked Congress to send him a cap-and-trade bill and released a budget counting on revenue from cap-and-trade to pay for a tax credit.
Buffett, a liberal populist, has curiously become the darling of the media - particularly the NBC family of networks - in a time when businessmen are often attacked in the press. In October 2008, he was interviewed by former "NBC Nightly News" anchor Tom Brokaw and made the outrageous claim the rich don't pay enough in taxes. The much-adored Buffett was scheduled to make an unprecedented three appearances on CNBC on Dec. 11, 2007.