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CNN IN THE MONEY
What Is Electability? Church's Advertise On TV To Boost Attendence
Aired March 21, 2004 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: From New York City America's, financial capital. This is IN THE MONEY.
JACK CAFFERTY, HOST: Good afternoon. Welcome to the program, I'm Jack Cafferty. Coming up on today's edition of IN THE MONEY:
The White House beauty contest: well, in a manner of speaking. Forget policies and platforms, America wants a president who looks presidential. We're going to talk to syndicated columnist, Ellen Goodman, about that word called "electability."
And faith in advertising: Mainstream U.S. churches out to boost attendance with television ads. See what happens when you sell a religion like it was a bottle of beer or a detergent.
CPR for a career in trouble: Martha Stewart has the time and talent to turn this image crisis around. We're going to get some tips from a guy who knows of these things, he survived his own Wall Street scandal.
Joining me today, a couple of the IN THE MONEY regulars: CNN correspondent, Susan Lisovicz; "Fortune" magazine editor-at-large, Andy Serwer.
One year to the day ever at start of the war in Iraq, you got your plus, you got your minuses, and you got a ton of uncertainty going forward. What's your take on where we are here?
ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Well, you know, it's so interesting; over the past 12 months we've gone from fear to elation to concern. You remember the toppling of the statue, now we seem to be in a bit of a holding pattern. Yes, we're looking to turn over the government, but the real question, Jack and Susan: Where are we going to be 12 months from now? The American public is looking at this, and obviously it figures into presidential politics deeply.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And it's really a nail-biting time, we're just a few months away from handover at a particularly precipitous time in Iraq, and there doesn't seem to be a real plan in place. So, it's worrisome, to say the very least.
CAFFERTY: Well, there is an interim constitution and there are Iraqi police and security and military forces that have been trained and deployed and more will be put in place between now and the handover, and the American forces aren't going anywhere. We're going to be there, probably for several years to come. So, it'll be interesting to see, though. Again, 12 years from -- or 12 months from now, we'll have this same conversation.
All right, on to other things. Note to George W. Bush and John Kerry, check your calendars, please, please, we're begging you. It's only March and the candidates are going at it like the election is around the corner, just a few rubber chicken dinners away. I'm tired of it already. This week's hot topic, of course Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm George W. Bush, and I approve this message.
ANNOUNCER: Few votes in congress are as important as funding our troops at war. Though John Kerry voted in October 2002 for military action in Iraq, he later voted against funding our soldiers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Kerry...
Body armor for troops in combat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Kerry.
Higher combat pay?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Kerry.
And the better healthcare for reservist and their families.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Kerry.
Wrong on defense.
SEN. JOHN Kerry (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ten months ago George Bush stood on an aircraft carrier and proclaimed "mission accomplished." But today, we know that the mission is not finished. Hostilities have not ended, and our men and women in uniform fight on almost alone, in reality, with the target squarely on their backs and their fronts...
CAFFERTY: I'm worn out with this stuff already. I mean, it's not enough you're going to see these four million times between now and the election, we're going to show them for you for free here on the program. As fireworks go, it's early. For more on the race and how it's going or not going, we're going to bring in our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley from Washington.
Candy, I don't remember it this ugly this early. I'm tired of the whole thing already. It's like, oh, my! Why is this thing so nasty so soon?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think a couple of reasons. One is that the country, as far as we can tell from the polls, is sharply divided, so this is going to be a nip and tuck race, and those are always the nastiest. No. 2, what you had was John Kerry when he came of age in the primary process. There was very little time for his opponents to bash him down, so he emerged relatively unscathed, and that necessitates Bush kind of going after him early on. I think that you have, in addition to that, an entire primary year when the nine and sometimes ten presidential candidates were pounding on George Bush and driving down both his favorable and poll numbers, and the Bush campaign felt the need to come out and John Kerry's entire campaign is built on the premise that "I'm a fighter." Not just in Vietnam, but also for peace and also in the Senate and he needed to show, he thought, early on, that he's tough, that he'll take on the president. He saw what affect Howard Dean had by really being in the president's face and he adopted that stance, because that's what was working. So, there's a lot of things that come to it, but you're right's this is as early as I've ever seen it this nasty.
CAFFERTY: CNN's senior political correspondent Candy Crowley reporting from Washington, D.C.
America has never been a country to elect its presidents on looks alone, it says here. We demand much more, but not necessarily a whole lot more. Especially these days it seems. Some observations now about how that all plays out in 21st century America, from syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Ellen, nice to have you with us, welcome.
ELLEN GOODMAN, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Thanks.
CAFFERTY: So, the conventional wisdom is that John Kerry won the nomination, not because he managed to distinguish himself on any of the issues that are before the voting public, but because he was perceived as being the candidate who was the "electable." Is that an accurate observation, No. 1, and two, what's wrong with that?
GOODMAN: Well, I think that probably the democrats would have liked some composite figure taken from all of these candidates: You know, Dean's energy; you know, Edwards' personability; and Kerry's smarts, and experience. But in the end, you could only choose one of them, and they went with Kerry, because they decided that he was electable, which is -- puts a really interesting edge on where the democratic voter is these days. They want a winner, and so the winner wins, which is kind of circular thinking.
LISOVICZ: You know, Ellen, it's been, obviously, a very interesting election process so far, because the democrats deliberately frontloaded the primaries so they could get a candidate out there to work the trail, to work the warchest. And, you know, as soon as John Kerry had won some decisive victories, the media pundits were saying this is going to be a nasty campaign, this is going to be terribly nasty, it was almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. But I guess -- let me ask you, do you think it's that nasty? I mean if you're not going to be nasty over things like war and deficits, defense, I mean, what are you going to be nasty about? How is it affecting you? How does it strike you?
GOODMAN: Well I have to say that when I was looking for a title for my book, "Paper Trail," all of my friends said call it "I'm right, your wrong. Get over it."
CAFFERTY: That's a great title.
GOODMAN: So, I think there's a lot of polarized debate out there, already. We have not only red and blue states, we have red and blue pundits, we have red and blue politicians. So, I don't think it's entirely new, this idea of the polarized kind of debate that we are already seeing. What is surprise to me, and I've been traveling all around with the book -- surprising to me, is that it feels like October and you want to say, "Hey, hey kids, it's March!" You know?
But there is a real intensity of feeling, on both sides, that we're seeing in this positioning. Because right now each -- the democrats and the republicans are both saying, you know -- the republicans have had the Karl Rove attack machines and the democrats are saying -- you know, "this is not your Dukakis campaign, we are going to bite you in the ankles, back." And that has to be, because, otherwise, you'd get run over, but at the same time, there's this whole group of Americans who are ambivalent, or who feel that most of the great issues of our times are -- or have a complex view of that, and they don't see the complexity of their own feelings about these things, reflected back in either the media or in politics, and they may feel estranged from the process. More so even than past elections.
SERWER: Ellen, I want to take issue with that expect point, though, a little bit. People talking about things reduced to soundbites. But, isn't it true? I mean, there's more coverage than ever, there's more political books than ever. The "New York Times," the "Wall Street Journal," "USA Today," have never had more political coverage or wider circulation. So maybe it's a case of overload? No?
GOODMAN: But what is that coverage? I mean, I think what you do have literally, is commentary turned into a food fight, so that you have people who are on either side of the debate hurling opinions at each other, so there may be more time and more stations devoted to it, but not devoted at any depth or level of going through the issues. You do have people going to the internet, for example, to get another level of understanding about the issue, but I think particularly on some of the food fight shows, you're just getting a lot of the people saying the same things.
CAFFERTY: But, that's not to say that the other stuff isn't out there. If you want to know what the complexities of the social security debate are as it relates to the demographics of the baby boomers, some place in all of the newspapers you can find this stuff, but if you put an hour-long program on television at night and put it up against Bill O'Reilly on "Fox News," who do you think people are going to watch? I mean it's not that the information isn't available, but people make a conscience choice to go where they're interested in going. Don't they?
GOODMAN: What you're describing is the morphing of information and entertainment, that just what you were saying before, so many of these programs that we thought of as information are, in fact, entertainment. And people do gravitate to it, but it's also true that the amount of -- we all have seen the studies about how the soundbite has become the sound bitelet and smaller and smaller on that, so that there is let time in the mass media and there's less mass observation. There's less sense of community, in terms of these debates than there was. Who would put on -- you're completely right, who would put on the Lincoln-Douglass debates which wept on for six hours?
GOODMAN: Even C-SPAN wouldn't cover that. You know.
CAFFERTY: No, no. But if you want to read the position papers that the candidates have on the various issues it's available, you can find it, it's on the internet, it's in the newspaper, there are places you can go to get it. So, I'm going to back away from the idea that the denigration of the American political process is the fall of us in the news media. You don't care. Do you?
GOODMAN: You can -- I would back away from that, too. I'd make a distinction between -- there's this huge thing called "The News Media" which covers just about everything. From C-SPAN to -- you know, instant punditry, but I would not back away from the idea that the dialogue in America has become polarized and simplified. And, I don't think you would either.
CAFFERTY: No, you got point. Ellen, thanks for being with us. I Appreciate having you on the program.
GOODMAN: My pleasure.
CAFFERTY: Ellen Goodman, syndicated columnist, author of the "Paper Trail" out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Coming up next on IN THE MONEY:
Flattening up -- no, that would be fattening, Jack. Fattening up the flock, as opposed to, flattening up the fok. You can say it either way. One's correct, one isn't. Find out why some mainstream churches are using TV ads to bring in the parishioner.
And later, a new look for the tired old career -- like mine. We'll tell you about revamped plan for Martha Stewart's public image if and when she gets out of the joint, assuming she goes to the joint, and most people think she will.
And, making a mountain out of a molecule: We're all going to learn something, here. We're going to get the low-down on a tech revolution that I, for one, have heard very little about until I got ready to do this program. Changing the world a single atom at a time. You don't want to miss that deal.
LISOVICZ: Corporate America has known for years that TV advertising is an effective way to reach consumers. Now a number of the nation's churches are following that lead. In its bid to stem declines in their congregation, several of the country's mainline religious groups are ready to pour millions of dollars into TV advertising. Jeffery MacDonald of the "Christian Science Monitor" has written about this trend and he joins us now.
JEFFERY MACDONALD, "CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR": Thank you.
LISOVICZ: And it's nice to see something other than maybe political advertising on the air these days. We're talking about some really mainstream groups, here. Three of the nation's biggest churches: United Church of Christ, Universalist Unitarians, and the Methodists. I guess the question is: What took them so long?
MACDONALD: Well, there was a reluctance to ever go on the airwaves with the message that these churches are out there, and open for business, if you will. Partly because it was a little unseemly -- or so was the idea that it was just too unseemly to go ahead and advertise the church alongside beer and soap ads, that it somehow belittled the product. But, now the churches are realizing that they have to be out there, they have to get their name out and they have to be on the landscape of people's mindsets if they're going to be considered for a place to be a home for religious seekers.
SERWER: Well, Jeffery, I think the time is the name of the game. We're all so crushed for time these days and of course churches are competing just like all other sort of institutions on people's time on the weekends, and during the week, and in the mornings et cetera. What kind of marketing are these churches doing, now?
MACDONALD: Right. Well, they are marketing themselves both on television and in other media. You see campaigns with radio and billboards, they're doing this on a denominational level, which means that the national groups that each of the local churches contribute to are buying some of the advertising time and are out there getting this message across to as many people as possible in target markets.
CAFFERTY: Is there a downside to this? I mean, I'm not sure I can see one, if there is. You mentioned -- you know, running church ads next to the beer ads. The risk you take there is reaching somebody who might need the help of the good book a little more than somebody who's not watching the beer ad that closely. But, I mean, what's wrong with this? We're bombarded with ads for guys who do root canals and appendectomies and these ambulance chasing law firms and, of course, the politicians, my personal favorite, why not a little religious advertising?
MACDONALD: Well, that's where the folks of the denominational level are asking. They are saying, you know, it's high time to do this. We've waited too long, and, in fact, we can do it in a responsible way that's faithful and that bears witness to our tradition, but there are some pitfalls that they have to be careful of. One of them is presenting themselves as a brand or a mere brand can seem to belittle a bit of the loftiness of the church's message, and to go up against their neighbors who are other Christians and say, "our brand might be a little better than the one next door and something worth trying" sometimes can cut against a message of unity among all Christians that all of these denominations have for years tried to advance.
CAFFERTY: So, what do you do about that? I mean that's a good point you make, obviously. How do you keep -- you know, the Baptists from getting mad at the Lutherans from getting mad at the Methodists from getting mad at the...
SERWER: Attack ads in religions.
CAFFERTY: Yeah, attack ads in the various Christian denominations?
MACDONALD: Right. Well, they're all trying to present themselves as not in competition with one another, but as a welcome home for those who have been bruised by the church. It was interesting in the market research that they found that no product had conjured up the kind of negative feelings that the word "church" does in these advertising agencies research projects. And so what they've all tried to do is say, "we are a welcoming place. If you've been turned away and ever felt unwelcome in a church, please consider our denomination, because we are a welcoming group."
SERWER: All right, it's a fascinating topic, Jeffery. Thanks very much for coming on.
Jeffery MacDonald's a correspondent with the "Christian Science Monitor."
Coming up on IN THE MONEY:
Bank of America has been making headlines lately, though not in the way bank officials might like. We'll explain.
Plus, time to raise the white flag? We'll talk to a former federal prisoner who thinks Martha should give up and start making nice with the government. Imagine that?
And March madness leads to workplace badness: We'll have the lowdown on how the tournament slows things down on the job.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LISOVICZ: Let's take a look at the week's top business stories in our "Money Minute." Crude oil prices are the highest since just before the first Gulf War, that's driving prices at the gas pump to record levels. The average price of a regular gallon of unleaded is now a buck 72. We'll read some of your comments on how the price spike is affecting you, later on in the show.
Getting by on more than $122,000 a day: That's about what former Citigroup CEO Sanford Weill earned last year for a total of $44.7 million. Most of that came from a $29 million bonus, Wall Street pays itself well.
And the Federal Reserve Board voted to keep the key federal funds rate at one percent, that where it's been for the last nine months. The fed says it made the decision to keep rates low in part because job creation is still lagging, here in the U.S.
SERWER: Thanks, Susan. Bank of America spent a lot time in the headlines this past week. The financial powerhouse wants shareholder approval for its 400 -- or 48 billion, check that, dollar buyout of Fleet Financial, but B of A also announcing it would cut 13,000 jobs because of the merger and it also had mixed news on the scandal front. The company made a $675 million settlement with regulators to settle fraud charges in the mutual fund trading probe, but it also faced new charges from Italian prosecutors in the Parmalat Milk scandal, and finally documents filed in federal court says the bankk new of problems at WorldCom, but failed to notify investors.
All that -- all of that, makes Bank of America our stock of the week. Boy, their P.R. department mist be awfully busy.
You know, it really is an interesting company, Jack.
SERWER: Because, of course, it's the products of a couple big banks: NCNB, Nation's Bank, with Hugh McCall, and then Bank of America in California, going back all the way to APG Anini (PH) in 1904. Fan of the bank is the Bank of Italy and grew that bank all over California.
CAFFERTY: And the Fleet-Boston merger is the perfect marriage of corporate and retail. It'll give them the presence in retail branches all over the country they just didn't have before. So, from an investment standpoint, it really makes them a big-time competitor with Citigroup and some of the others, does it not?
LISOVICZ: All I can say is, I hope those 13,000 jobs don't include anyone in crisis management because that's what certainly Bank of America has needed. Scandals-R-Us. I mean, one of the things that you didn't mention was that, it recently paid a $10 million fine to the SEC, I'm sure you know...
SERWER: Oh, that. Yeah. (LAUGHTER)
LISOVICZ: You know, it's one thing...
SERWER: Well, the list was long, Susan.
LISOVICZ: It's very long. But not because of the late trading activity, the illegal trading activity. That it paid hundreds of millions of dollars for. The fact it wasn't cooperating with the SEC, brazenly so, according to the SEC, and people who are knowledgeable about the subject. So you have to wonder, what's going on? At this point...
SERWER: Well, you know, this company, the stock has had a really great run, I mean, it's continued to go up even with all of this stuff. I think the stock was at 55 18 months ago, it's now at 80. Ken Lewis has done a pretty good job. And, you know, the big are getting bigger in this business, as you said, Jack. Because you've got them, City, and then JP Morgan Chase with that Bank One merger.
The one thing about this Fleet deal, though, they pay a very, very hefty premium. So, what happens? Thirteen thousand people, out the door to cut costs, I mean, you can't deny that that's -- there's a causality there.
CAFFERTY: Buy the stock, here?
SERWER: I -- you know, I think, over the long haul, this is the kind of stock, if you want a big bank stock, it's going to do well, because it's based on the American consumer, all those retail branches coast to coast, it's probably a good thing to have, over the long haul. Scandals not withstanding in your portfolio.
CAFFERTY: There you go. All right. Time for a break. When we return:
She fought the law and the law won: A former federal prisoner says Martha should try a new strategy. Does contrition mean anything?
And the NCAA tournament games have begun, that means work at your office and our office may have come to a standstill. We'll explain why that is.
FREDERICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Fredericka Whitfield at the CNN headquarters in Atlanta. More of IN THE MONEY right after a look at the headlines.
Tribal leaders are trying to persuade militant fighters to give up along the Pakistani-Afghan border. They also persuaded Pakistan's military to cut back on arial assaults. Meanwhile, Pakistan's U.S. ambassador tells CNN there is high level -- high valued target holed up in the mountainous region.
In the U.S. it's clean up time this afternoon after a final goodbye and a salute to the Vet. Veteran's Stadium in Philadelphia was reduced to rubble today. It took about 3,000 lbs. of explosives to implode the stadium.
New rankings are out this afternoon and Wal-Mart remains No. 1. The retail chain topped the "Fortune 500" list for a 3rd straight year. In 2003, Wal-Mart had sales of almost $259 billion last year.
I'll have the latest news at the top of the hour. Now back to IN THE MONEY.
CAFFERTY: Martha Stewart in all likelhood is going to go to prison. Now she maintains she has done nothing wrong, even though she was convicted on 4, count them, 4, felony counts in a federal courthouse. She has vowed to appeal, which probably won't make the sentencing judge too happy. Martha might want to start thinking about how to rehabilitate her image.
She has yet to say I'm sorry. She has sent out her underlings to try rehabilitate her image. On "AMERICAN MORNING" here on CNN we had her stylist on talking about what a great gal Martha was. I mean it was truly one of the most electric moments in television that I can remember in a good long while.
Now she has asked 100 friends to write to the judge about what a wonderful person she is. She has yet to say I'm sorry. Those words have not passed her lips. And there's a reason to believe that based on her nature, at least the reputation she has, they may never pass her lips.
But is she making a big miscalculation? We're giong to talk to a man who knows a thing or two about rehabilitation and white collar prison life. R Foster Winans used to write for the "Wall Street Journal's" "Hurt On the Street" column, then he was convicted of insider trading in the 1980s. Actually did a stretch in the federal prison up in Danbury, which has now been converted to a woman's prison. And if Martha Stewart goes, she will probably go there. And we are delighted to have Foster Winans on the show. Welcome.
R. FOSTER WINANS, FORMER INMATE: Nice to see you.
CAFFERTY: Is she making a big error by not at least displaying some sense of contrition?
WINANS: I think Martha Stewart would do well to stop giving the finger to the justice system.
CAFFERTY: There you go.
SERWER: Tell us what you really think.
WINANS: And she has been doing it consistently all along. I can tell you from personal experience, I had a really great lawyer, Don Buckwald here in New York, who right from the start said, shut your mouth, don't talk to anybody, let's get through this nice and quietly. If you get convicted you will do your time and get a shorter sentence.
Martha Stewart from day one, you know, calling the case ridiculousness, the whole thing. My recipe for her is to start out with not appealing her conviction, saying I'm sorry, go to prison, don't pay somebody else to do your laundry and make your bed and do your job. Attack the whole thing with gusto, then when she comes out she should do a couple things. She should do "Saturday Night Live" and make a total fool of herself.
LISOVICZ: Like Janet Jackson.
WINANS: Or the Janet Reno Dance Party.
SERWER: You can do a serious one on Diane Sawyer, too. The tearful one there, right?
WINANS: And then do who all crooks do, she should write a book. And she should donate the proceeds to charity and tell everybody exactly how she felt.
But you know something, there's a serious problem with somebody who just does not get it. And every step of the way, just like you mentioned in your intro, they're on Larry King, they're on your show, these people are all over the place. Guess who is watching these shows? The judge. The probation officer. Guess who is going send her to prison...
CAFFERTY: Her daughter on Larry King said my mother is not a liar. She was convicted of lying. Hello?
WINANS: Well, she hasn't lied to her daughter.
LISOVICZ: Actually Foster, I wanted to ask you since you were in minimum security prison, does that also reinforce maybe the kind of reception she will get there? Women there, I would imagine, if she goes, are not especially violent, but if you sort of go in saying I did nothing wrong, I shouldn't be here, do you think that's going to create a worse situation for her?
WINANS: Well, you know, you know what people do in prison? They sit around and complain about getting caught and how the system is broken and it's a lousy. I think the problem that Martha takes with her to prison, if she does not have an epiphany between now and June 17, is she has an attitude and they're not going to appreciate that.
It's not a violent place. There are no walls, the guards don't have guns. The inmates run the institution. It's actually pretty collegial, but if she goes in there with a I don't belong here kind of attitude, she will find out quickly that she is there. It's not violent. I'm just talking about isolation, that sort of thing.
SERWER: Foster, I want to ask you about your own experiences and how that would relate to what Martha is going to be going through. You were one of the preemminent financial journalist in the 1980s, and you went through that experience. What was it like emotionally and what does Martha face? WINANS: For me personally, my first reaction when this whole thing came out was I wanted to kill myself. Then I did the other thing that you do, I confessed. I admitted what I did. It's difficult. You -- you have to find sort of a way to rebuild your life, a way to redeem yourself.
It took me about 15 years really to kind of sorting through all the debris, if you will, to come up with kind of a philosophy for myself to continue to feel good about myself. I think -- I don't know if Martha is ever going to there.
SERWER: You think she can recucitate her career, though?
WINANS: I think she can. I don't know that she has that personality. I don't know, the public may forgive her.
SERWER: Right. Okay.
CAFFERTY: Was she treated unfairly? I mean you got the Tyco jury looking at Dennis Kozlowski accused of ripping off the company for $600 million bucks. Martha Stewart wasn't even tried for the insider trading allegation, in which she allegedly saved herself $40,000, $50,000, by front running the stock trade on ImCone. Did they try to make an example out of her? How did you read the prosecution?
WINANS: There were two principle mistakes made. I think Martha was not honest with her first lawyer. And I think, when he took her in to be interviewed, that's when the lying started. The second mistake was she didn't come clean. She had opportunities.
I don't think that the -- I don't think she's being made an example of. I think she put herself in this position. What the prosecution will do -- Jeffery Toobin in "The New Yorker" writes, the prosecutors, what are they going to do, walk away? You can't unring a bell.
SERWER: All right. We're going to have to leave it at that, Foster. Thank you for that very singular perspective. Foster Winans, author and former "Wall Street Journal" columnist. Thank you.
Coming up on in the money, the little engine that might. Nanotechnology promises a way to build stuff from things as tiny as atoms. See why Wall Street is putting it under the microscope.
And the basketball showdown that the copier repair guys hate. Find out why the business world is loading up the toner for the NCAA playoffs.
PETER DE SAVARY: The people you meet on the way up, will be the people you meet on the way down. So treat everybody the way you would like them to treat you when the boot is on the other foot.
ANNOUNCER: Millionaire Peter De Savary uses that philosophy in all of his endeavors, whether it is trading oil in the Middle East or sailing in the America's Cup Race. His current passion is building extravagant international resorts. Exotic indulgences, like Falconry are a specialty at his club. He said his greatest asset is taking responsibility when things go awry.
DE SAVARY: Don't make excuses, don't run for cover. Face it and be very honorible. And that gives you the chance to live and fight another day.
SERWER: The science of nanotechnology is all about sweating the small stuff. That is small, as in atomic. Nanotechnology is the hottest new topic in tech investment with the potential to change everything from medical care to the clothes you wear. But it can be hard to tell where the hype ends and the hope begins.
To help us understand what nanotechn is about, and whether you can make money on it we are joined by Josh Wolfe. He is the editor of the "Forbes/Wolfe Nanotech Report" and a managing partner in Lux Capital, which invests in nanotechnology.
Josh, the first question is very simple, what the heck is nanotechnology?
JOSH WOLFE, FORBES/WOLFE NANOTECH REPORT: It's always a good one. We are talking about nano, which is a a billionth of something. In this case we're talking about technology on a nanometer scale. So, everything that you've heard about for the past ten years about bits, zeros and ones, as the fundamental component of all the great changes in our lives, now it's about the fundamental bit being an atom. So, we are talking about manipulating matter at the atomic scale to change every industry that we could possibly think of.
CAFFERTY: This thing to somebody who knows absolutely nothing about nanotechnology, that would be me, has bubble written all over it. It sounds like the next quantum spectacular leap forward, could change our lives in many, many ways, it also sounds like something that people could tack on to the front of their plumbing company and suddenly go public with an issue and guys like me would buy the stock, the Nanotechnology Plumbing Company Inc or something.
What should people thinking about trying to get in on the ground floor that could make a lot of people wealthy, be aware of here?
WOLFE: Jack, you are 100 percent right. Not only is it possible, it is happening. You have some companies that are taking this Nano prefix, same phenomenon as with the dotcom suffix. Same phenomenon. And they slap it on to their name, stock prices are up 300, 400, 500 percent and none of these guys have nothing to do with nanotechnology. Like you say, investors don't recognize this.
Here's the way I look at it. We call these guys the nano pretenders. I will give you two examples of these companies that people should stay far away from in our opinion.
One is called Nanosignal. Now these guys changed their name four or five times already. Their most recent change went from Microsignal to Nanosignal, more name changes than Prince. And they have about as much to do with nanotech, they're about as related to nanotechnology as Andrew Jackson is to Michael Jackson. Nothing to do with nanotech there. Stock price being bid up.
Another company you want to stay away from is Nanopierce Technology. There's a whole host of these guys, these nano pretenders that we talk about in our report. Nanopierce, nothing to do with nanotechnology. The admitted it. Investers thought they did, bid the price of the stock up, allowed them do a secondary, raised more money. And get this, the CEO says, we are intending to use that money to get into nanotechnology and exploit investor demand.
But let me tell you something, the only people that will get exploited are investors naive enough to go into the stuff.
LISOVICZ: Josh, those are companies that investors should avoid. But let's talk about the economy as a whole. We've heard so much about high-tech jobs going to India and elsewhere. Is this at least an industry where the U.S. rules?
WOLFE: That's a good question. In our view, right now the U.S. is spending the most amount of capital, meaning that the government has started a $4 billion initiative that President Bush signed into law over the next four years for nanotech. Every other country is following suit. And they kind of got this field of dreams mentality, it we spend it they will come.
But it's also the first time since World War II that the United States has not definitively lead in some are of technology. So, you see fierce competition in industry expertise as it relates to countries, meaning Germany in the material science sector, Japan in microelectronics, trying to scale down to the nanoscale. So, it's a really feverish race. We equate it to a metaphorical poker game, where people are anting up right now and the stakes are pretty big.
SERWER: Josh, let me jump in here. Because I'm still a little bit lost about exactly what nanotech is. What do you do with these little things? What happens?
WOLFE: If anybody tells you that nanotech is just about scaling things down from microtech, they are wrong. The reason that nano is exciting at that scale you get all new properties of physics, and Jack used the word before, quantum physics, and things just start to completely change.
You can take those effects at the nano scale and introduce them into bulk matter, into the clothing that I'm wearing, so that my fabrics will never get wet, I can pour wine on it, I can pour coffee and it just drips right off off.
Those are the mundane advances, but the real stuff coming down the pipeline that are being developed in private, venture backed companies today are things like solar cells, that basically are in a glass of water that you can pour on to a surface and get better efficiency, cost competitive with natural gas and oil, or targeted cancer therapy. You think about the way we treat cancer today, you are basically doing what we did 100 years ago, leeching people. In the future, in the next 5, 10 years, we are going to see targeted cancer therapies that don't do what we do today with poisoning people chemo or radiating them, we will have nano particles that are able to go into the body and kill a just the cancer cells.
CAFFERTY: Give us the names of a couple companies before we run out of time here that are legitimate in this area? That if people want to take -- I mean, you don't sell grandma's shares of Exxon oil and put it all in one of these, but maybe you take a fly, you put a few bucks in one. Gives you a couple names.
WOLFE: Sure. Well, here is the intelligent way to play this, any industry, let's take it back to 1992 or '93, what are some names that you guys might have wanted to own: Cisco, Sun, the guys providing infrastructure, the tools, the picks and the axes. In nanotech, those are guys that would traditionally would be classified as semiconductor capital equipment, guys like Veeco Instruments, the ticker there is VECO, or FEI Company. Well, they are doing lots of nanoscale work. They provide the tools to actually let researchers work at the scale. Veeco's got about 300 million in sales, about one-third of it specifically allocated towards nanotechnology, growing at a double digit rate. So, buy into the tools, the picks and the axes, we like those guys a lot.
CAFFERTY: Do you own any of this stuff yourself?
WOLFE: We do not own any public companies. As a venture firm, strictly private equity assets.
CAFFERTY: If people want more information they can get in the "Wolfe Nanotech Report" from "Forbes," correct?
WOLFE: Correct. You go to forbesnanotech.com
CAFFERTY: There you go. Josh, thanks for being with us. I appreciate it. Josh Wolfe.
Coming up next as we continue, get your brackets out. We will talk about the NCAA basketball tournament and why it eats away at corporate profits. First, Susan has this week's edition of "Money and Family."
LISOVICZ: If you are thinking about selling your car, you may want to grab a pen by following a few selling tips from Edmond's.com you can easily increase the sales price of your car. First of all, check the classifieds. Compare the listed prices for your car year, make and model. This will give you a good idea how much your car is worth. Remember, prices may vary depending on mileage, wear and tear and features.
You can also check the blue book value of your car by logging on to Web sites like KBB.com. Blue book values come from pricing reports generated by nationwide consumer and retailer feedback. Second, touch up the appearance of your car. Buyers will know within the first few minutes if they are interested or not. Have your carwashed, waxed and detailed. And consider making any needed low- cost repairs.
And finally, when posting a sale price, leave room to negotiate. Your asking price should be slightly more than the amount of your anticipated sale. That way you will be likely to get the amount you want and the buyer will walk away feeling he or she got a good deal.
I'm Susan Lisovicz for "Money and Family."
CAFFERTY: The NCAA basketball tournament is under way, but you probably already knew that because you have not gotten work done since Wednesday, right. Webmaster, Allen Wastler has more on the price of March Madness. He also has our fun site of the week. How are you doing big fella?
ALLEN WASLTER, MONEY.COM: To American business, $1.5 billion wasted because of March Madness. Now this is an estimate put together by Challenger Gray and Christmas.
The they do it, is they figure there's about 39.5 million college grad types in the work force, OK. They will probably spend about ten minutes a day arguing about the games. Multiply that out over 15 days for the tournament, you figure an average hourly wage of $15.56, multiply it all out, you get $1.5 billion.
Now, there's a problem with that. There's two issues with that. People waste time at work regardless of whether or not the basketball is going on.
LISOVICZ: With our exception.
WASTLER: Of course, because we are dedicated journalists. But you get people saying "Sex and the City," last episode, Super Bowl. So, it's not like you are working from total productivity, boom, all of a sudden, here March Madness.
Two, the Internet. You know how you spend all the time on the brackets or you used to just with the pencil and okay, let's see, Duke 1 here. They will play Kentucky.
CAFFERTY: You have done this before.
WASTLER: Usually you have a geek in the office...
LISOVICZ: Guilty as charged.
WASTLER: You are behind in the pool but you could catch up if Gonzaga wins, right? Now, you have Web sites that do that for you. So it's a productivity improvement there. You go, zap, zap, zap.
SERWER: The other thing, Allen, is a lot of other businesses do very well during March Madness. I was at a bar in Atlanta Hartfield Airport the other night, and a whole lot of people were drinking and watching those games. So the bartender liked it very much.
LIFOVICZ: For journalistic purposes again.
SERWER: Oh, yes. I was doing research again.
CAFFERTY: Fun site of the week?
WASTLER: It's tied into that. One of my favorite offshore betting places is Tradesports. You can go there and bet on all the games. But I like it particularly, because you can get a line on other current events, like Martha Stewart for example.
Right now the betting -- the betting is an over, under on 14 months. So that 64 percent of the bets are going, she will get more than 14 months. They also have lines on Kobe Bryant. Heavy money, 80 percent saying he will go to trial, but only 15 percent saying he'll get convicted of anything.
WASTLER: It goes on. One near and dear to your heart...
CAFFERTY: They have jackson?
WASTLER: They do. They have Michael Jackson, too. A whole series on whether or not -- right now the money is running low on that.
They also got Osama bin Laden. When he'll be captured. Heavy trading in that this week. Moving it up to A june cutoff or September cutoff. 90 percent saying he will get caught before December. It's that little election play that the money is going to. So, that's your fun site of the week. And you can just figure out what's going on basketball, current events, anything you want.
CAFFERTY: Sounds good.
Allen "the Greek" Wastler.
Coming up, we will read some of your e-mails and ask you the new e-mail question of the week. Remember, our email address is inthemoney@CNN.com. If you have issues in which you guys like to discuss.
CAFFERTY: All right. Time now to read your stories about how rising gas and oil prices are affecting your life. Sherry from Maryland writes this, "as a veterinarian who works on horses, rising gas prices effect me immediately and hard. In this highly competitive business, I have to charge the same for a 3 mile trip to a farm as I do for a 30 mile trip. And this is the worst time for this to happen, as spring is the mating season." S.W. from Maine wrote, "higher gas prices are good for me since I am an environmentalist and I want to see the demand for gas dampen, then, maybe, we will halt the dangerous human contribution to the world's climate change." Don't bet on that.
J.C. from California wrote this, "when you spoke of higher gas prices, Andy suggested people might start selling their Hummers, but who's going to buy those Hummers? And if you sell it, then somebody else will be wasting the gasoline. Better yet, just drive your Hummer off a cliff."
SERWER: Yes, OK, right. That's a good idea, too.
CAFFERTY: Why didn't you think of that?
SERWER: I'm sorry.
CAFFETY: Time for the e-mail question this week, which is as follows: "is America doing enough for our wounded veterans?" In a word no, but give us your thoughts on that.
We have almost a half trillion dollar defense budget, you think they could dig a few more dollars out for the people who have gone over there and done the deal.
Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, check out our show page on the Web at money.com/inthemoney, which is where you'll find more information about the program and the address of the fun site of the week.
Thank you for joining us for this edition of IN THE MONEY. Thanks to the gang, CNN financial correspondent Susan Lisovicz, "Fortune" magazine editor at large, Andy Serwer and Money.com managine editor, Allen Wastler.
We invite you to join us next week, Saturday at 1:00, Sunday at 3:00 for another edition of IN THE MONEY. Or you can watch Andy and me all week long on "AMERICAN MORNING" starting at 7:00 Eastern.
One other thing, one of the reasons this little old program comes into your house twice a week and has for the last year is courtesy of one of the most qualified, pleasant and professional television producers I have ever worked with, and I have gone through a lot of producers in 41 years, as you might well imagine.
Elizabeth Yuskaitis is the woman who makes this thing come together. We tape it on Fridays. She's here to put with all the various things that confront somebody trying to do a program of this nature. Elizabeth, thank you, from someone who -- I will acknowledge, is not the easiest guy in the world to get along with. Thank you very much for making this a lot simplier than it might be. We're going to miss you.
She's also going to have a baby in July. And she's going on to a brand new career in the "private sector." We won't hold that against you, Liz. Thanks again. LISOVICZ: Good luck, Elizabeth.
SERWER: Good luck.
CAFFERTY: See you next time.
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