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Hey, Washington: Call Warren!

Americans aren't buying Paulson & Co's proposed $700 billion bailout. It's time to bring in the master salesman.

By Andy Serwer, managing editor
Last Updated: September 30, 2008: 12:03 PM ET

The crisis: A timeline The crisis: A timeline The crisis: A timeline
A shocking series of events that forever changed the financial markets.

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- HELL-OOO!!! Washington, can you hear me?!?!!! Listen, you need to call this guy in Omaha. That's right Nebraska, just west of Iowa. His name is Buffett.

Warren Buffett. You may have heard of him. He's rich. Really rich. And not only that, and more importantly, he's smart. Really smart. In fact you could make the case that he's the smartest guy on the planet when it comes to financial markets.

That's right, as in he understands this crisis and how to fix it better than anyone alive. I know some of you from inside the Beltway have already called him up and picked his brain. And yes, after Warren invested in Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500) he talked on CNBC and Fox extensively not only about why he made that move but also about our dire financial situation.

But that's not the point, Mr. and Mrs. Washington and all the ships on the Potomac: The point is you need help. As in immediately. You have Bernanke and Paulson and Cox up there testifyin' about the rescue plan, but sentiment is turning against you. Americans are souring on the bailout, a bailout we need soon. (Yes, of course, with caveats and caps on executive pay and transparency and equity upside and all that.) Because if we don't do something quickly, confidence will erode and we will be back in the deep chowder like we were last Wednesday the 17th and Thursday the 18th. And believe me, it was very ugly and getting worse before CNBC broke the story that the Feds had a plan.

So, here's where Buffett comes in. He believes in the plan and wants it to happen. Fast. Believes if we don't get it going, things could get very scary, very quickly. And as such, he is sitting by the phone. Waiting for you to call him to come to Washington. That's right, he wants to testify before Congress. He wants to help. So call him already! Get him up there in front of the committee. Ask him to explain it to Congress. To the people. (Believe me he would be the smartest guy in the room.)

I promise you Warren would get this baby off the dime. He has credibility that Bernanke, Cox, and Paulson don't have. Buffett isn't some kind of doctrinaire Republican or knee-jerk liberal. He is a pragmatist. Sure he cares about Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) and how it does, but what he really cares about is this country.

So call him, Washington. Pick up the phone. I bet he'll even fly in on his own jet, on his own nickel. Warren is just a phone call away.  To top of page

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