Guests: Maria Bartiromo, Erin Burnett, Jim Cramer
TIM RUSSERT, HOST: We have three very special guests. America turns to them every day for authoritative reports on what’s happening in the economy, on Wall Street, and more. You see then on CNBC, on “The Today Show,” “NBC Nightly News”.
Maria Bartiromo, welcome.
MARIA BARTIROMO, ANCHOR, “CLOSING BELL WITH MARIA BARTIROMO”: Hi.
RUSSERT: Jim Cramer, welcome.
JIM CRAMER, HOST, “MAD MONEY”: Good to be with you.
RUSSERT: Erin Burnett—welcome all.
The three amigos.
RUSSERT: Who’s watching the store? This is dangerous.
Every time I see the three of you together, I’m thinking, hear no evil, see no evil, and evil.
CRAMER: Thank you very much.
RUSSERT: Maria Bartiromo, tell me, what do you do all day?
BARTIROMO: Oh my goodness. What do I do all day? I’m looking for information, calling around different sources.
RUSSERT: Like how do you start?
BARTIROMO: Everybody’s different, Tim. So sometimes I’ll start at 5:00 a.m. to get ready for “The Today Show,” and then do, you know, what’s happening right now. A report at 7:00 a.m., and then again at 10:00 a.m. for the West Coast.
Sometimes I’ll have, you know, breakfast with various people to try to set up interviews. Sometimes I’m just on the phones with producers for the closing bell program, trying to figure out who we’re going to book. Mostly, I’m preparing for interviews. That’s what I spend much of my time doing.
RUSSERT: How about you, Erin?
ERIN BURNETT, CO-HOST, “STREET SIGNS”: I start pretty early. I’ll come in—usually I get to the New York Stock Exchange somewhere between 6:00 and 6:30 and get ready either to do “The Today Show,” or I’ll also go on MSNBC in the morning with Joe Scarborough, and we have a fun time. It’s sort of my breakfast show, as I like to say.
RUSSERT: Where you’re billed as the international superstar (ph).
BURNETT: Right. Joe is prone to hyperbole. I do that, and that’s actually fun. You know, a little bit of business, a little bit of politics, a little bit of everything.
And then get ready for “Squawk on the Street,” which starts at 9:00. Do that with Mark Haines for two hours. We have a lot of fun. We get to mix it up on the floor, which I know, you know, Maria’s down on the floor a lot, too. And you kind of get that energy from the traders.
I do that. Then I commute to New Jersey, and I host “Street Signs” from there. So a lot of phone calls in the car. That would be the way I would describe it—talking to producers, trying to get it done.
RUSSERT: And Mr. “Mad Money”?
CRAMER: Insomniac, so get up very, very early, begin to write my show from the moment that I get up. It is a one-man show. And someone has to write, and I like to write it so that I can have it in my head so that it will be more spontaneous.
It requires three segments a night that I have to write. So it requires a tremendous amount of homework for me—write it all day, edit it six or seven times, with my nephew at times who writes with me, Cliff Mason (ph). And then 4:00, the light goes on, we’re ready.
RUSSERT: Where do you get your information? What do you read?
CRAMER: I read mostly conference calls from corporations, I read about a half-dozen newspapers. Speak to a lot of CEOs, principally on background, to be able to be sure I’m on the right course. And then every analyst report about every stock that I talk about before I talk about it.
RUSSERT: You were the first reporter to ever be allowed to broadcast live from the floor of the stock exchange. How did that come about?
BARTIROMO: It was so exciting. We were starting a new program called “Squawk Box,” and that was in 1995. And we wanted to, yes, do something different.
So I had been the reporter for CNBC at the New York Stock Exchange. I was doing hourly updates.
I took over for a gentleman named Roy Blumberg, who was with CNBC for years before I took over. And then—so I started at the exchange in 1994. And then we approached Dick Grasso and we said, you know, Dick, we really want to do...
RUSSERT: He was then heading the stock exchange.
BARTIROMO: He was heading the New York Stock Exchange. You know, he was sort of really also trying to demystify what was going on down there. And that’s what we said.
We said, “Look, we want to do something different. We want to demystify it. Can we bring a camera down?”
He said, “You know, I like this idea. Let me think about it. Let’s try it.”
So I—you know, every day we’d go down there and, you know, see how people would feel about it. There was a lot of resistance, Tim.
RUSSERT: Really? Institutionally?
BARTIROMO: There was a lot of resistance. I mean, I could tell you stories when I first started that were just—I mean, Dick was a big supporter. He was a big, very loyal supporter of me and of CNBC. So he really helped us.
RUSSERT: But the traders didn’t want a reporter around?
BARTIROMO: The traders didn’t want a reporter, they didn’t want a woman. I mean, all of the above. And it was new all around. It was new to me, you know, being on the floor. It was new to them.
I remember one story when I—Jack Welch, who at that point was the chairman and CEO of GE, my boss, he was coming down to the exchange. And I thought, this is great. I’m going to be able to show my boss the New York Stock Exchange and take him over to the post where GE is traded.
So, it was quiet. I approached the post. And I had met George who was the specialist, the guy who actually brought buyers and sellers together in GE. So I knew George.
So, I wanted to walk over to George. I said, “George, would it be OK if I brought Jack Welch over tomorrow and you could, you know, show him around and show him the way GE is traded.” And as I approached, there must have been about 25 guys in earshot, and I approached.
It was a quiet day, and this one guy was maybe twice my age, maybe three times my age, actually, and he screamed at the top of his lungs, “Get out of here! Don’t come over here! You’re not wanted here! This will not go on television! This is not your business. Run along!”
You know the feeling when you have knots in your stomach? That was me at this moment. I was mortified because all these people overheard.
So I said very calmly, “Don’t speak to me that way.” And I turned around and I left. And then later I, you know, approached George after trading.
Of course, I’m thinking to myself, don’t flatter yourself. I don’t care about your business, I just want to bring my boss over.
Unfortunately, later I found out he was on the board of the New York Stock Exchange. So I called up Dick and we had to sit down in his office, the three of us, and he proceeded to belittle me and what I do even further. But I kept coming back, Tim.
RUSSERT: Has the situation changed, Erin? You’re there every day.
BURNETT: It has changed. I mean, you certainly paved the way down there, because they are—I would say they’re welcoming.
We get down there in the morning, they’re having their coffee. They—I would say it’s very collegial. They almost hang out with us.
We have nicknames for some of them. You know, Mark will steal their seats every morning and they’re like, “Hey, buddy. Get out of our chair. We’ve got to trade here.”
You know, but it’s very collegial and very friendly, I would say. So...
RUSSERT: Is it still a...
BURNETT: ... we benefit from what you had to go through.
BARTIROMO: It changed very quickly. I mean, soon into it. I mean, they did get used to me being around their quarters (ph).
RUSSERT: Sure. Are there more and more women?
BURNETT: There are more and more women down there, yes. And many more specialists. Although overall, obviously, the story down there, Tim, it used to be—you were down there more—I mean, you know, you’d see pictures with Maria and you could barely even stand because there were so many people around you. And now with the growth of electronic trading, the floor has gotten, frankly...
RUSSERT: When Maria first went down on that floor, you were probably trading.
CRAMER: I have to tell you that Maria—very quickly, I was one of the people—you had tremendous canvas of anyone who traded. She bumped into me once, “I hear you’re in the business. Can I come by?”
I had to have been one of a thousand people that you spoke to.
She was clearly the star. And everyone talked to Maria because Maria hustled more. People I think—to your great credit—it wasn’t just that you broke in on the floor. You hustled more than everyone else. So maybe that’s what you had to do to be a woman and succeed at that point.
RUSSERT: We’re going to take a quick break.
We’re going to come back and talk to our CNBC all stars a lot more after this.
RUSSERT: And we’re back talking to the CNBC business team—or business reporting team.
Erin Burnett, when you go on CNBC, who are you talking to? What’s your mission? What are you trying to explain to people?
BURNETT: I think it’s this—especially right now when people talk about the validity of television, when you’ve got the Internet and you’ve got video online, what I’m trying to do and I think what we’re all trying to do is bring the reporting you’re sourcing to viewers in real time. It’s something that you can’t replicate anywhere else.
You’re bringing, you know, your brain power, your sources straight to people. And during the credit crisis this summer, there was so much uncertainty. Nobody—even the most sophisticated people on Wall Street weren’t really sure what was happening minute to minute, day by day. And I think it was an amazing moment for us to be able to bring voices, whether it was bank CEOs or people who were managing some of these large pools of money, to viewers live, real time.
And I think it’s one of those moments where it was people sitting at home, CEOs watching. We were able to provide value in a way that I don’t think any other medium could. And I think we try to do that every single day. But that moment, that credit crisis, was an amazing moment for us to be able to show our value.
RUSSERT: And what kind of response did you get?
BURNETT: It was amazing. Actually, talking to some CEO, he said, “Talk off the record”—and I know you all were as well, right? You talk to a bank CEO and then you’re trying to make sure that you’re coloring your coverage and presenting things accurately because words matter so much.
And, you know, I guess I’ve been talking to people. People have been saying, “Look, thanks a lot.” I mean, I think people thought we did a—we did a good job. I know we don’t want to pat ourselves on the back, but I think we did a good job.
RUSSERT: Maria, when you’re out there every day and you’re talking to an audience, it’s an interesting audience. There’s some CEOs, but there’s also some investors on Main Street, or investors in their country houses, all watching, saying, market’s up, market’s down.
What’s in the back of your mind?
BARTIROMO: Well, I’m thinking people have a thirst for this information. And they want to make how to make money and how to save and invest wisely, frankly.
I think, you know, economic issues, business, the markets have never been as important as they are today to the American people. And I’m thinking people want to figure out how they can get ahead in this game.
Yes, they definitely want access to the people that Erin’s talking about. I completely agree with that. They want to hear and get access to the big players. But I think there’s a core of people who watch us who are CEOs and who are the sophisticated investors. That’s one target audience.
But then there’s an enormous audience that is an aspirational audience. They want to get ahead. They want to get ahead in their job. They want to make more money.
They want to become really good investors. And they want to save and invest wisely.
What I’m trying to do is help them do that with the right information, the right tools. Maybe it’s a first time CNBC exclusive interview, maybe it’s a great idea. Maybe it’s a trade. Maybe it’s a long-term investment.
I try not to do things in sort of a trading, you know, approach to things. I think that that’s one way to do things. And obviously Jim does that amazingly well. That, as well as long term. But I’m really looking at the long term.
RUSSERT: Jim Cramer, when I watch “Mad Money,” I see you as a magician. But what you do is pull the curtain back and show people how it works, what the tricks are. You’ve always been—you show us the card game.
CRAMER: Well, I’ve been 20 years in the business, four years at Goldman Sachs, then 16 years running money myself. And also the fact that I somehow connect.
As you know from your son Luke, I have an average age of 28 in my audience. I’ve got people who are beginning and they’re mystified. My goal is to make it less mystified.
Also, I have a nighttime show. You guys have got to do daytime.
And to make it so that people recognize that they shouldn’t be scared, that there really isn’t that much to it. That they can be better clients, better investors, better traders, but start young.
And we’ve got that young audience. People always say young people don’t watch TV. Totally wrong. We go to colleges and we’re mobbed.
I think that people want accessibility and they want to know what really is going on. And they know that I did it for a long time.
RUSSERT: When you use the gimmicks, the shtick, is that a way to hold people’s attention?
CRAMER: I think you have to. I think you have to break out.
We are on cable. I am in a nighttime situation. We’re up against a lot of entertainment. I feel compelled to, as I say at the beginning of my show, to educate, but to also entertain.
Do I do—other competitors have said, am I in the Jack Benny-Bob Hope tradition? I’m thrilled if that’s the case. Those are great Americans who brought people in.
My mission is to have regular people come in and watch me. If they laugh, good.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has to say—you know, Jim is Jim. You can’t pretend to be Jim Cramer. You said, “Is it a shtick?” I mean, we see (ph) him every day.
You can’t come out and pretend to be Jim Cramer. I mean...
RUSSERT: He’s like this all day?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the genuine Jim.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can’t pretend to be him.
But the other thing is, you know, as Mark Hoffman, the president of CNBC will say, he’ll say, “Look, we’re not curing cancer. There is room for celebrity. There’s room to have fun with this stuff.”
And by the way, you know, in some cases it’s not brain surgery. You can get a financial life. And it is fun.
CRAMER: The greatest game on Earth.
RUSSERT: Rather than sit there and watch that (INAUDIBLE), you bring some energy. Everybody here at this table brings energy to the reporting. And trying to say to people, and this can matter to you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it’s because we love it.
CRAMER: We don’t know what else to do. This is our ESPN.
Right? This is a better game than sports, because sports, you can bet on it, but the line’s pretty tough. Our lines are more money can be made.
RUSSERT: And the check clears every two weeks.
We’ll take another quick break. We’ll be right back.
RUSSERT: And we are back.
Jim Cramer, talk on Wall Street, talk all across the country, even at the White House, the president, saying the housing market, we have a problem. We have a lot of surplus extra houses.
CRAMER: The largest—this week, the largest homebuilder in the country, Horton, 48 percent cancellations. That means a phenomenal number of people are willing to walk away from 10 percent down because they don’t have the down payment and can’t get a loan.
This is a huge problem. This is 15 percent of America that’s being hurt. It’s about time that people woke up in the government about how bad this can all be.
RUSSERT: How do you report that?
BARTIROMO: You’ve got to report it straight. You know, you’ve got to report the facts, which is I think what we’re doing. And let people know that, you know, there really isn’t an urgency right now to get into the market.
But there are silver linings here. I mean, there are positives.
Look, I am of the belief that you don’t want to time the housing market. Yes, things will get worse.
I’ve heard you on the air, Jim, and you tell people, don’t do it, don’t do it. My feeling is a little different.
Yes, we acknowledge that things are going to get worse, prices will continue to come down. This is a weak spot in the market, but there are a lot of positives going on in the economy.
The global economy is on fire. American companies are benefiting from that because they’ve got operations all around the world. Unemployment’s at 4.7 percent. That’s virtually full employment. Never mind low interest rates, low inflation, all positives.
As far as the housing market is concerned, I believe you don’t want to time it. This is not an investment, you’re going to get in and get out quickly. This is a long-term investment that you’re going to put your money, your time, your energy, your love into.
If you find a home, I would say you want to buy it. But of course knowing that maybe you leave a few dollars on the table, because prices will come down.
RUSSERT: But you may have a hard time getting a mortgage.
BARTIROMO: Yes. It’s getting tougher. And by the way, it should, because people got in over their heads and they should not have, because you had all of these non-banks come in on the scene, say, look, don’t worry, no documentation? You don’t have to prove that you have a job. Low interest down, no money for several months.
I mean, that’s ridiculous. And that should not have gone on. And lending practices should get tighter. That’s all good.
This is all good, because we’ve come back to reality. But sure, it is getting tougher. So if you can’t afford it, the payments, you should not be there.
RUSSERT: Whose fault was the crisis, the lending practices? Is there any one entity?
BURNETT: Well, there’s a lot of finger-pointing going on at the (INAUDIBLE) right now. I mean, I would say it’s a little bit of everybody’s fault.
It was certainly—you mentioned some of the new sorts of lenders out there who were willing to get people to buy homes, pretty much making all sorts of promises. Oh, don’t worry about a down payment. Don’t worry—and then go ahead and just sell that mortgage off to somebody else. So, it’s not my problem, I’ll go ahead and keep lending. Certainly, they were a little bit to blame.
But a lot of the people borrowing money to buy homes were also to blame. They knew they were biting off more than they could chew.
Americans are smart. People know what they can afford. And a lot of people were buying homes that they simply couldn’t afford.
I think there’s blame to go around everywhere. But I also think, Tim, that what this country is trying to do right now is to pull something off we’ve never pulled off before, and that is not have a full recession when the housing market is in a recession.
We’ve never done it before. Every time the housing market’s gone in recession, we’ve had a full-blown recession.
And Maria’s pointing out all of the amazingly positive things about the global economy and the U.S. economy. That is, we don’t have a recession. It may be the first time we’ve ever gotten through something like this without it.
CRAMER: Bernanke sees it now. He didn’t see it before.
RUSSERT: This is the chairman of the Federal Reserve.
RUSSERT: What didn’t he see and what does he see now?
CRAMER: Well, I think they were—they didn’t understand we were in a deflationary spiral now. Sure, oil is high, but housing coming down means that people will have less money.
They wanted to tighten as late as August. That was so wrong, Tim. Now they’ve gotten the message, they’re cutting rates. They will avert a recession if they continue to cut interest rates.
RUSSERT: How often?
CRAMER: They have to cut 100 basis points, a full point. And I think they have to...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By the end of the year.
RUSSERT: By the end of the year?
CRAMER: By the end of the year. If they want to avoid a recession, they need to do it, boom, boom, boom.
RUSSERT: And you think he knows that?
CRAMER: You bet he does. I think he’s totally on the case now. He wasn’t. They wanted to tighten, that was wrong. They’ve gotten the message.
When he did 50 -- when he did a half a point, that was the signal. He’s not going to let a recession happen.
I think he will do a good job on this.
RUSSERT: What’s your sense?
BARTIROMO: Well, I don’t know, but it will be 100 basis points by year end. And I’m not sure that they will cut again in October. But by the end of the year, we will see another cut. So if it’s in December, that time, we will definitely see rates come down.
I agree that the Fed gets it. I mean, look, you’ve got everyone from Bernanke, to Paulson, to Greenspan out there saying this is worse than we thought, and it is sapping economic growth in this country.
But I’ve got to repeat, there are a lot of positives. And I don’t think it’s all gloom and doom out there.
RUSSERT: Does the Federal Reserve have the same amount of power, influence it used to have in this global economy?
BURNETT: I bet, Jim, you have strong opinions on that. I would say though no. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
It’s the flip side of the coin. All right, less influence for the U.S. Federal Reserve, less influence for the U.S. economy. But as a result, we’re able to rely on the rest of the world to carry us through this period of weakness.
What was it, 20 years ago the United States was more than 40 percent of the global economy. Now it’s only about 20-something percent of the global economy. So we’re not as influential, but we’re able to benefit by the strength around the world. And that’s what may save us from having a recession.
CRAMER: And never fight the Fed. Even now, never fight the Fed.
CRAMER: They’re on your side. They’re on your side right now.
BARTIROMO: Yes. And I think, Erin, what you’re saying are two different things.
Number one, yes, we are a smaller portion of the global economy because the world is getting richer. And that’s a good thing.
You know, we’re seeing, you know, people in China, in India emerging and making money and becoming increasingly educated. And the U.S. is sharing the wealth, frankly, with other nations.
That’s why you see business going to London. You see business going to Asia.
I think the Fed is as powerful. I mean, you see—you know, they’re injecting liquidity into the system. They did do a good job in this most recent crisis in cutting rates, as well injecting money into the city.
And the central banks around the world, by the way. It was a concerted effort. They also were very influential.
RUSSERT: So the Fed can still have a profound influence on behavior?
CRAMER: If they cut fast enough. But politically, you cannot have seven million people thrown out of their homes. And that is the number that we are looking at right now.
When you see the number of defaults we have, that’s too many. And politically it’s going to be a huge issue next year.
RUSSERT: In the 2008 election?
CRAMER: Oh, yes, if they don’t cut fast enough and if President Bush and Paulson don’t do enough. The Democrats can ride this housing crisis into the White House.
RUSSERT: We’re going to take another quick break.
Jim Cramer, Maria Bartiromo, Erin Burnett, a lot more from our CNBC dream team right after this.
RUSSERT: And we are back, talking to those folks that you watch every single day on CNBC, on “Nightly News,” on “The Today Show”. They report the economic news and a whole lot more.
I am joined by Maria Bartiromo of CNBC, Jim Cramer of CNBC, Erin Burnett of CNBC. They have been kind enough to join us for an interesting hour.
Maria, the economy, people keep saying it’s strong, the internals are strong. You were talking about that in the last segment.
Why? Why is the American economy so strong, particularly when you think, six years ago, we took a hit in New York City to the World Trade Center, a hit to the Pentagon.
BARTIROMO: And things have come roaring back, Tim, from 9/11.
It’s strong because of globalization, number one. The rest of the world is doing very well.
China is growing 12 percent a year. India is growing 8 percent. Latin America is growing 4 percent.
Europe is breaking out. You’ve got new political leadership throughout Europe. And they are embracing business and capitalism. Europe is growing.
American businesses are benefiting from that growth. They have operations all around the world.
When you consider the fact that in this country only 4.7 percent of the country’s unemployed, that’s virtually full employment. That’s why things are going well.
There’s a lot of anxiety, no doubt about it. You did a poll. Two-thirds of the American people said we’re either in a recession or headed toward a recession.
Of course they’re anxious. They’re worried about benefits. They’re worried about their health care.
They’re worried about losing their home. They’re worried about housing. They’re worried about $85, $88-a-barrel oil. And we’re at war.
But things are going well. And people ought to recognize the positives, because there are a lot of them.
RUSSERT: I come from Buffalo, New York, where my dad and others in his generation came back from the war, they—they were kids and won the war at 18 and 19 years old. Everyone went to work for GM, Ford, Bethlehem Steel, republished (ph) steel. Buffalo was a blue collar, lunch bucket city. They’re all gone.
And now they sit there and think, this trade is not good for me. This trade is taking all our jobs and shipping them to China and shipping them to India. Our kids used to have worry about competing with next door, Pennsylvania, or across the Peace Bridge, Canada. Now all the jobs are going away from our country.
What do you say.
CRAMER: Well, first, my dad worked for great American companies, International Paper, Champion Paper. He works for the Chinese now. He sells Chinese bags. There’s nothing you can do about it.
You can’t beat the Chinese. We are not allowing our people to beat the Chinese. We accept the fact that they are a world power that can sell whatever they want here.
I am not a protectionist, but I’ve got to tell you, we have to crack down. I think that we have to come up with fair trade.
The Chinese should not be allowed to destroy all these American businesses. Buffalo shouldn’t be allowed to be destroyed. Pittsburgh shouldn’t be destroyed.
We’re letting it happen. And no one is offering any resistance. It’s almost as if we’ve decided, you know what? We’ve ceded great American jobs to the Chinese.
It’s wrong, Tim. We should be—we should be stopping them and building up our industries again. And I am not against most free trade, but this is not free trade.
BARTIROMO: I’ve got to say something. This is a technology-based situation. That’s why the workforce has changed and the industry in this country has changed. It has become so much more technology-based.
I did a piece recently on the future of work. I interviewed an auto technician.
How much do you think the average auto technician makes? There is a trade group, by the way, and there is an average here.
How much do you think they make?
BARTIROMO: Auto technicians. Works on the car.
CRAMER: At GM they’re making $65 an hour.
BARTIROMO: Eighty thousand dollars a year, an auto technician. Why? She said, “Maria, I’m in my auto shop right now and you can eat off of the floor.”
Everything in our cars is technology-based, whether it’s the breaks—I mean, everything is technology-based. This is all moving toward technology.
So manufacturing has lessened and really come down in this country. But things have evolved differently.
I agree that...
CRAMER: They’re cheating. They’re cheating. We don’t like cheaters in this country. And they are—we are allowing them to steal intellectual property, we’re allowing them to be able to flood our country with any cheap import. And we’re not doing anything for the people losing the jobs.
BURNETT: But I think it’s also you have to focus on what it is that we can do as a nation to try to combat that. Now, when you look at some of the numbers, to your point about technology, the jobs that are being created around the world are engineering-based, they’re technology-based. They require specialized knowledge.
This country is turning out 60,000 engineers a year in terms of graduating from engineering school. China, 600,000 a year. India, a similar number.
That numbers game is not a numbers game that we’re going to win. So if this country wants to remain competitive, there is—you know, to your point about fair trade, some sort of reinvestment. How do you train people? How do you enable people...
BURNETT: That’s the way to do it, to be sort of forward-thinking about it. And I think no one’s come out with that exact solution.
But like you said, it’s a numbers game. We’re not going to win that game.
RUSSERT: Tom Friedman’s book “The World Is Flat,” exactly his point. Unless we train kids in math and science, the notion that we’re going to continue as the world’s global economic, military and (INAUDIBLE) force in the world will truly be challenged.
CRAMER: But why just kids? Our country has left and abandoned a whole generation, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60-year-old people who need that training. But I don’t see any government action about that.
I understand that this administration believes that government should be hands off, but that’s not enough anymore. We’re having a disenfranchised group of people in this country that need help from the government.
BURNETT: Well, you don’t want your doctor to stop learning just because he finished school. You want your doctors to keep up with the innovations going on, absolutely.
Education has to go on throughout a person’s career. And in order to get to the next level of things and keep competitive, that education needs to continue.
RUSSERT: Are we preparing our kids for that? And our people who have been laid off?
BARTIROMO: We need to focus more on education. I do think that is the crux of the problem, because the reality as Jim is talking about, they’re happening. And the realities of the world getting richer and smarter, that’s happening.
We need to prepare our children and adults much better for competing with the rest of the world.
CRAMER: You can’t just have two countries, either. We can’t have rich—the large, rich population do well, but the much larger poor population be left out. But again, that’s political. It’s not economic. It’s political.
BURNETT: And three-quarters of the manufacturing jobs that are lost in this country, when those people get new jobs, they’re making less money than they were before. So, for the average American, that’s why they see free trade as a bad thing, because they’re seeing it—in my own family, people that I know are losing money, are making less money (INAUDIBLE) trade. That’s what we have to fix, that wage gap.
BARTIROMO: But trade is a good thing. There’s no...
BARTIROMO: And you can’t be a protectionist. I mean, that will be a negative and slow down all economies. And by the way, you see protectionism seep in around the world.
Italy doesn’t want anybody requiring their banks. France comes out and says Danone yogurt is a prized national asset, can’t be acquired.
You know, the same thing going on all around the world. And it is a negative. Free trade is only good.
RUSSERT: It’s interesting to watch these issues on the campaign trail. You go to a state like Iowa, a state that is hugely reliant on trade, and so many people there, particularly farmers, say, trade? Bring it on. I love markets.
You go to other places, South Carolina, New Hampshire, where they’ve been adversely affected, a little bit different. But that’s what the politicians are going to have to confront.
CRAMER: When you’re selling food, when you’re selling equipment, you’re doing great. When you’re building—when you’re building typical old-fashioned American industries, you’re just saying, what happened? How did we let the Chinese take over?
And I really want to emphasize, I agree with Maria. Fair trade is with China free trade with everybody else. It’s just one outlying country that I believe has just decided to take over most of industry in the world and doesn’t play fair.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you going to do? You going to close our markets to China?
CRAMER: No, you be tough with them. Much tougher than—Paulson’s been over there so many times, the Treasury secretary. What has that accomplished? I don’t see anything that he’s accomplished.
BURNETT: Trying to have a powerful hand. I mean, we can’t live without China. That’s the reality.
But why were mortgages so cheap? Thanks to China. Who’s buying all of our agricultural products? Thanks to China.
I mean, China has a voracious appetite for everything that this country makes. You can’t live without them.
RUSSERT: We’re going to take a quick break and come back and talk about energy. So get your thinking caps on.
We’ll be right back.
RUSSERT: And we are back.
Erin Burnett, all of the candidates running for president are out there saying, we need to become energy independent. Too reliant, particularly on Mideast oil. Every day we watch the price of oil tick up, up, up, up.
What does the market say? Do they expect that a new president is going to have a Manhattan Project to try and wean us off of Mideast oil, or is this all campaign talk?
BURNETT: I have to say, I think it’s mostly campaign talk. I don’t think that anybody in the market would seriously say that this country is going to be energy independent at any time in the remote future.
We are going to need oil, and we’re going to need Mideast oil. But the big push right now politically is this whole question over ethanol.
The Midwest of this nation is dependent on ethanol, and there is no way that these ethanol subsidies, this ethanol system that we have been building is going to go away. It’s here to stay, and I think you all (INAUDIBLE) views on this. There are some big question marks as to whether the corn-based ethanol system in this country is a smart thing at all.
RUSSERT: Brazil runs its entire car fleet on sugarcane. So it can be done.
There’s also a lot of discussion even in the Democratic Party about nuclear power. Are the people on the street are starting to take a new and different look at nuclear, saying there may be an investment future in this?
BARTIROMO: No doubt about it. I think a lot of people think that nuclear is the best option, actually, as far as alternatives. But people are afraid. They’re afraid of that. And who wants—you know, not in my back yard, obviously.
RUSSERT: Chernobyl, Three Mile Island.
You know, there are other options, but I agree with Erin. It’s going to be very difficult to be energy oil independent in this country. It’s just not going to happen.
And you asked what the market says. Look, we know what the market’s saying. We’re already at $90 a barrel. So the market is saying that we’ve got a serious supply-demand gap.
You don’t have the ability to drill and find oil in this country where you want. And by the way, the same senators and congressmen who say we need an energy plan are saying you can’t drill in ANWR, you can’t go to the Everglades, you can’t go off the coast of Florida. So you do have that issue going on as well.
RUSSERT: But when you look at what’s going on in Iran, you look what could happen in Saudi Arabia, you look what’s going on in Venezuela—Mr. Chavez has not been particularly friendly lately—one of the items buried in Alan Greenspan’s book, “The Age of Turbulence,” was his call for a three-dollar-a-gallon gasoline tax phased in, but necessary, he believes, to wean us off of oil.
CRAMER: Well, Friedman called for a lull. And we know that that never—Tom Friedman from The Times. That never got anywhere.
If we did that, here’s what we would do. We’re a coal-based nation for energy for heating. If we had CO2 legislation, if we had legislation for the bad coal, we could take that money and very quickly become a 50, 60 percent coal nation. We just need to be able to get the poisons out of coal.
It is a political triumph to be able to do that. All we have to do is cut the Brazil subsidy to bring in the ethanol—Sam Bodman has been fighting that, the energy secretary. And we get rules for coal. And we will be energy self-sufficient in 10 years. But we keep neglecting the asset that we have the most of, which is coal.
BURNETT: Yes, everyone thinks of Saudi Arabia, that’s where the oil is, that’s where all the energy is. Well, we’ve got just as much energy equivalent in terms of coal.
RUSSERT: But it has an image of being dirty.
CRAMER: But they won’t give us rules. Our utility companies all want to build new coal plants, but they don’t know what the rules are going to be. If Congress would come up with rules, we would build maybe 100 coal plants in the time that it would take to build five nuke plants.
BARTIROMO: But the numbers are the demand side, right? I mean, I think we need more incentives to buy hybrids and more incentives to concern.
I mean, for the first time ever, this is actually a tipping point over the last two years. This is a part of our conversation, conserve, taking care of the planet, making sure that we are, you know, aware of how much energy we’re using. But it’s not enough. And it’s amazing that within the last seven years, we really have not had a more coherent plan when it comes to conserving, you know, things on the demand side, as well as supply.
RUSSERT: Energy stocks have done quite well.
CRAMER: They’ve been great. And agriculture has been done the best, because that is renewable energy. That’s where the real—the real gains have been made in this market, by agricultural stocks. It’s like—it’s like an 1890 economy.
RUSSERT: This is the United States of America. We had the (INAUDIBLE) military in the world when World War II started, and we won because we knew we had to unite and galvanize.
Could the oil companies—could they pivot and be involved in other kind of energy exploration in a much bolder way than they are now?
BURNETT: They could. And they are investing in alternative energy. Although, as a percent of the size of each of those companies it’s (INAUDIBLE). And I see Cramer rolling his eyes.
BURNETT: It’s more public relations right now than it is actually bottom line. I mean, let’s just be honest. That’s the truth.
BARTIROMO: That’s their business. They’re in the oil business.
BURNETT: Right. And it’s going to be that way for a long time.
But, you know, when you were talking about nuclear, Maria, I interviewed a CEO recently in Texas who just applied to build the first nuclear power plant in this country since 1975 or 1976. And they think they’re going to get that through.
CRAMER: Yes, but he said—he said it would take 10 years.
CRAMER: What does that accomplish?
BURNETT: But what was the main thing about what he said—and that’s a great point—but you need to know what he said, was the people where he’s going to build this plant, they’re thrilled. They want the plant. They know it’s good jobs.
They’ve had nuclear facilities nearby for a long time. They believe in the safety.
So if you talk about, can this country make a transition to different types of power? It can be done.
You can win people over on nuclear. You just look at France. They get 80 percent of their power from nuclear. There’s never been a major explosion there, people are very comfortable with it.
It could happen.
RUSSERT: And Congress is in terms of indemnifying people who are building new power plants.
CRAMER: They’re doing everything on a national level correctly. On a local level, although there have been isolated cases where you already have a plant, we have not succeeded in zoned places, just like we can’t zone for refineries.
There’s a total “not in my back yard” on the local level, except for the places where we already have them. So, nationally good, locally awful.
RUSSERT: Everyone agree?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, would you want a coal plant in your back yard?
RUSSERT: So that’s your problem.
We’re going to take another quick break. We’ll be right back.
RUSSERT: And we are back.
Jim Cramer, proud graduate of Harvard University, what do you think your professors are thinking about your right now?
CRAMER: I think that some are proud and some say, how did this guy get to become a showman? He was an academic geek that we thought could be a professor.
So I think it’s a split the difference situation.
RUSSERT: Maria, NYU. What are they thinking about you?
BARTIROMO: I think they’re thinking—well, actually, I saw my math teacher from high school the other day, and I think she’s like blown away, shocked, because I was not a good math student in high school.
RUSSERT: Now you tell us.
BARTIROMO: Once I got to college I figured it out.
BURNETT: Well, I’m a Williams alum. All Williams alum tend to be that way. Everyone’s for the purple cow. And we’ve had to live with that. You end up sticking with him.
You know, I stay in touch with a few of them. And I think they’re pretty happy. I think—Williams gets a lot of air time on CNBC.
RUSSERT: What do you do when people on the street or friends call you up and say, “Hey, what should I invest in? What’s good? What’s hot? You have any tips?”
BURNETT: I hate that question. First off, if I had any—we’re not allowed to invest in individual stocks. I might say, “Oh, I have this great idea and I can’t do anything about it.”
RUSSERT: It’s a CNBC policy, which is important to point out.
BURNETT: Right, absolutely.
RUSSERT: What can you invest in?
BURNETT: Any kind of mutual fund, exchange-traded fund. Of course, Jim has this special thing called a charitable trust.
CRAMER: Right. But that doesn’t include (ph) me. And I only own cash. I don’t even want to own mutual funds, personally, just in case someone says, well, hold it, he said he liked Exxon and the fund he’s in has 10 percent Exxon.
I don’t want anything having to do with a conflict. Nothing.
BARTIROMO: We own GE, Tim. We love GE.
RUSSERT: What happens when you flip out on the air and think you go too far? What do you do?
CRAMER: I’ve never gone too far, Tim.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never?
CRAMER: No, I have not gone too far. I think that sometimes government gets it wrong and you need to—you need to speak up, even if it is the much hallowed Federal Reserve. Sometimes they need a shaking up. And you can’t just go out there and say, I think they might be wrong.
That’s not enough, as I know from my...
BURNETT: All I know is, Tim, that he almost gave me a heart attack.
CRAMER: Well, maybe I gave the Fed a heart attack.
BURNETT: I was worried about you. I was worried about you.
CRAMER: Tell me about it.
BURNETT: Jim came out—and what I love—oh, people come up to me about this moment, Tim, and they say, “So, did you and Jim plan this?” And I’m thinking, OK, let me tell you something, I don’t think Jim knew what Jim was going to do until he came out there.
And Jim was so passionate about it and he started talking. And I’m—and I’ve never seen you like this.
CRAMER: Well, it was an impact because it was crisis. And...
BURNETT: He had tears coming down his face. He had tears coming down his face.
I mean, you meant every word you said. You were incredibly...
CRAMER: You had to.
BURNETT: I would say the only thing—and I told you this—I was worried. I’m thinking, OK, what if he really gets upset? I just want to make sure I can get to a commercial if I need to—because I was worried about you.
RUSSERT: No problem. And the next day you felt fine about it?
CRAMER: Yes, I did, because someone had to speak up. CNBC is a powerful, powerful brand, and I know that they listen and watch CNBC. And they had to take some action.
And they were—they need to be shaken out of their lethargy. Tim, they were going to Titan (ph), for heaven’s sake. What would that have done to American consumers? What would that have done to homeowners who are strapped? It would have been devastating.
RUSSERT: Maria, you interviewed the president recently. You sat with him and said, “What did you think of the Republican debate?” And he said to you, “Were you there?” You had been the co-moderator.
He didn’t watch it.
BARTIROMO: Well, he said that he was briefed on it. I don’t know if that was a joke or not, saying that, you know, “Were you there?”
But, in any event, no he didn’t watch it. And I was surprised by that.
RUSSERT: Then you asked him about Google.
BARTIROMO: Yes. That was in an earlier interview. That was about a year ago.
I asked him about how technology has changed all of our lives. And, you know, I said, “Do you ever Google anybody?”
BARTIROMO: And he said, “I like the Google.”
RUSSERT: Now, what do you in a situation like that?
BARTIROMO: And by the way, in that interview we talked about Iran, we talked about Iraq, we talked about North Korea, we talked about health care, we talked about everything under the sun. But the one thing that every body picked up was, “I like the Google.”
RUSSERT: That’s that media for you.
I mean, look, obviously he wasn’t familiar and didn’t use Google. And was—I mean, I couldn’t believe it. As soon as he said it, I knew, gosh, this (INAUDIBLE).
RUSSERT: How did you like being the star of the Jon Stewart show?
BURNETT: Well, you know, let’s put it this way, I could have maybe said what I said a little bit better. I was talking about China and defending some production practices. And I could have said what I said better. But I still don’t change my bottom line. How about that?
RUSSERT: But people got a kick out of it.
BURNETT: Yes. And he’s funny.
I mean, what’s amazing is, he’s funny. And, you know, all these—when you talk about all this—people get more and more news from places like Jon Stewart, there’s been some studies that have shown that Jon Stewart covers political news more substantively and more in depth than many of the networks. So it’s a very, very viable and watched news source.
RUSSERT: But he brings a real edge to it sometimes. And an ideology which he openly acknowledges.
So a lot of people saw me skewered. That’s all right.
RUSSERT: You ever been skewered?
CRAMER: Skewered? Every day. Come on.
I was trying to figure out when I hadn’t been skewered. Steve Colbert makes fun of me a great deal. FOX people make some fun.
That’s OK. I think that’s part of the game. You have to have thick skin, as you know, to be in this arena.
RUSSERT: FOX has started a new business channel.
Maria, a new competitor?
BARTIROMO: Yes, a new competitor.
RUSSERT: You like that?
BARTIROMO: I think it’s great, Tim. I mean, I really—I mean, frankly, I think we all thrive on competition. So it’s been interesting to watch as they evolve.
We’re sticking to our (INAUDIBLE) and doing what we do best, and that is reporting what’s happening as it’s happening and bringing people access to the players in the business around the world.
RUSSERT: You were staying during the break that the stock exchange is becoming more and more machines and less and less men and women.
BARTIROMO: Absolutely. It has gone electronic. You’re seeing a lot of consolidation. And it’s global consolidation.
The New York Stock Exchange merged with Euronext. You’re seeing the London Stock Exchange hook up with others. And that’s sort of the prettiest girl at the party. Everybody wants the London Exchange because business is global and it’s electronic. And that’s why fewer and fewer people are actually on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. It’s changed quite a bit.
RUSSERT: What’s that going to do to you?
BURNETT: Well, as we were saying, the New York Stock Exchange will become a museum, at the very least. One of the most beautiful television sets in all of America. I mean, it is a glorious building. It’s a great piece of American history no matter how you look at it. But I think there will be people there for quite some time to come.
Slowly but surely they’ll go away. But for a while there’ll be people there.
BARTIROMO: Much of the business happens to be the machines.
CRAMER: Cheaper, better, faster.
RUSSERT: Each of you are personalities involved in reporting news.
“Money Honey,” how did that name come?
BARTIROMO: The tabloids came up with it, Tim. You know...
RUSSERT: And now it’s been patented.
BARTIROMO: That’s right.
BARTIROMO: By me, because—the reason is, is I’m actually starting a business which is (INAUDIBLE) because it’s just looking at—teaching children about money is actually why I patented the name. But the name came up because of the tabloids looking for something that rhymes and sort of a cute thing.
No one actually picks up the phone and says, “Hi, Money Honey. Are you there?”
RUSSERT: Or Street Sweetie.
RUSSERT: Or Market Madman. Huh?
BARTIROMO: It’s a lot of fun, but don’t take it too seriously. You let it roll off your back. And frankly...
RUSSERT: It is fun. And you’re all professionals. And I’m honored to talk to you.
CRAMER: See you.
RUSSERT: ... Maria, Erin, thanks very much.
BARTIROMO: Thank you.
RUSSERT: We’ll see you.
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