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Obama's First 50 Days: Dow Minus 18 Percent

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Correction: This post originally said the Dow was down 32 percent since President Obama's inauguration on Jan. 20. The Dow is down 32 percent since his election on Nov. 4, 2008 and 18 percent since his inauguration.

Not even the legendary investor and Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett, can give U.S. investors confidence in the market. In fact, according to Buffett, only Barack Obama can handle that chore, and so far neither of them has been able to move the needle.

Speaking on CNBC today, Buffett said, "What is required is a commander in chief that is looked at as being the commander in chief in a time of war and the support that generally he needs and other things that have to be given up. When we get all this solved and go back to yelling at each other, you know, and putting in pet projects and doing all that sort of thing.

"But for the time being we should put that, as much as we can, aside and then frankly, nobody but the president now will be believable to the American people. I mean, you can't--people have heard--they don't--names like Paulson, Geithner, Bernanke, those--that's just a muddle to them.

"The only authoritative voice in the United States who says, 'This is what we're going to do, this is what we're not going to do,' and very specifically, is the president of the United States."

President Obama has dispatched his best and brightest, unleashed hundreds of billion of stimulus money, used his political clout and soaring but pragmatic speeches without getting the economic engine restarted. When he was elected on Nov. 4, 2008, the Dow was at 9625, and it closed today at 6546, down 32 percent. Since his inauguration on Jan. 20, the Dow is down 18 percent.

The president recently gave advice to Americans about dealing with the gyrations of the stock market. On March 3 he said, "It bobs up and down from day to day. And if you spend all your time worrying about that, you're probably going to get the long-term strategy wrong."

He added, "What you're now seeing is, profit and earning ratios are starting to get to the point where buying stocks is a potentially good deal if you've got a long term perspective on it."

Unfortunately, all the remedies percolating out of the Oval Office have yet to make an impact. The Obama administration explains that the restoration of the U.S. economy will take time. The question is how much time, and until there is some good economic news, it will be difficult for the Oracle of the Oval Office to get traumatized citizens into a spending mood.

Daniel Farber is editor-in-chief of

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