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The Cutting Room: Cramer on the Hot Seat

Plus, the great bull-bear debate, a silly conspiracy and a depressed Mister Softee.
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The hot seat. I was on it. Can I tell you that I was actually nervous? I take this television stuff more seriously than people think, both substantively and stylistically. I had

Matt "Dot-Com" Jacobs

grill me about the stocks ahead of time. I had little notes put together on each of the stocks, even though I've owned them forever. I studied their most recent quarters. I made sure I knew what the revenue and earnings growth numbers were in case I was asked -- and I was. But I also called a half-dozen people about whether I should wear my jacket on the set because other guests have. And I admit to asking the hair person to get the microscope out and look at my remaining hair to see if it were in place!

Yeah, it was plenty different being on the receiving end.


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I got there early on Friday, right after the close. Friday is kind of a


day for me. I'm on "Fox and Friends," which is up against "Squawk Box" on Fridays, and I answer questions about 30 to 40 stocks. It's not like


, where the worst you're ever going to get is "I like that for the long term" or some other harmless drivel. If I don't like something, I speak my mind. If I like it, I tell you.

After the show I run back to

Cramer Berkowitz

and put in a solid day. But once the trading is over, I head on up to Fox News Studios at 4:15 p.m. and get grilled by Neil Cavuto for his intense show, for which he's always prepared and on which the time flies. This week I got to thank my bond guru, Karen Gibbs, who told me a few weeks ago when the long bond was at 6.75 that it was about to take a quick run to 6%. As she is on tape saying this I don't have to worry about other writers attacking her legitimacy. Gibbs was always the best at bonds. She is not a self-promoter, so I am promoting her.

Then it was back to the Green Room where

Herb Greenberg


Bob Olstein

awaited. There is so much garbage being written on the Net about the conspiracy between Greenberg and I, that one day we're just going to have to mike the whole thing and then start suing people left and right for libel. I never talk to Herb about the stocks in his stories. Believe me, if you think I need to make money by influencing the press, you really must not think much of my abilities. I have spent most of the last 15 years railing against the reporter-money manager relationship. I don't want to influence stories. I want the stories to be right. But I can't do anything about it. So I write my column and tell what I see. It's better than trying to influence a Greenberg, a


or anybody else. Believe me.

I find all of the conspiracy stuff about me and Herb to be humorous and somewhat psychotic and pathetic. First of all, I disagree with Herb on just about everything except family stuff. I don't want to give him any input. He'll just disagree with me anyway.

Second, Herb would rather commit real suicide, not journalistic suicide, before he'd be used by me. Ask anybody who knows us. Third, I couldn't care less. Half the time I don't even know the stocks Herb writes about. The other half I'm usually long the ones his sources slam. Them's the breaks. I'm usually a bull. His sources are usually bears. Oil and water.

But I admit to liking the guy. Big time. He is in my fox-hole to make

great and while the conspirators out there keep trying to link us in some nefarious plot, there's nothing cooking.

Tonight we talked with Bob about "Squawk" and our show and the various merits of both. Both Bob and I are no strangers to controversy and he annoys some big guys like I do. Maybe that's why I like him so much. Then

Brenda Buttner

arrived and she looked great -- OK, call me a chauvinist -- and she's always upbeat, and we could sense that tonight was going to be a wild one. I had a feeling she was going to have to referee us this time.

Bob started a great Green Room discussion about how cable was dead till the Net and I started thinking, hmm, save this one for tomorrow's State of the Web piece. It's too good. So I will.

Once we got out there I was raring to go. So were Herb, Bob, Brenda and

Dave Kansas

. What I thought was incredible was how real and earnest the first discussion was. Bob and Herb aren't believers. Dave and I are. Brenda let us go the whole six minutes on this even though we were supposed to switch, because it was so rolling. If you can't see it, you have to download this somehow because this discussion basically captured the whole debate right now between bull and bear.

Then it was off to watch Chartman vs. Fundy. We blew our



out into the

British Telecommunications


announcement on Tuesday, so I disagree with

Gary B. Smith


Adam Lashinsky

on that one. I'm long

JDS Uniphase


and will stay long it, probably until it's added to the

S&P 500

because it's bigger than just about every company in that index. (What does that say about the index and the market?) Then back out to the totally out of control roasting, where Herb actually said, "I am asking the questions here." Reminded me of

Al Haig


My favorite moment came when Bob asked me if

Mister Softee


was psychologically depressed. I'm still laughing from it. The essence: I want expensive, they want cheap.

Or, as I like to think: I am right, they are wrong.

When the book is written about stocks on TV, people will look back at our show and this one in particular the way they look back at "Monday Night Football" and "Wide World of Sports." We've figured out how to make business come alive and be informative.

My prediction: Because of the alignments in business, where everybody is on the take to the big five:

General Electric








, Microsoft or

America Online



Time Warner


, we'll never get any credit for it. Ever. What a crime.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of At time of publication, his fund was long America Online, Disney, JDS Uniphase and Microsoft. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at