COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa Long before he was a billionaire investor, Warren Buffett was a paperboy and he called upon his newspaper-tossing skills again to impress the crowd at the Omaha Press Club Show.
Dressed as a World War Two-era street-corner newsboy with a bag of newspapers at his left hip, Buffett folded and tossed copies of the Omaha World-Herald - a newspaper he owns - into the crowd of 500 on Saturday. As he did so, he sang "I'm Only a Paperboy" to the tune of the 1933 song, "It's Only a Paper Moon:"
"I'm only a paperboy
Just as happy as I can be
'Cause the money you pay for this
It all goes to me."
Buffett's career as a paperboy in the 1940s helped him earn the $5,000 that launched the investments that grew into Berkshire Hathaway Inc and made him one of the richest people in the world.
In December Buffett, 81, bought the employee-owned World-Herald for $200 million, which led to his guest appearance at the press club's show, "Warren's Herald." The show featured songs spoofing regional events and skewering newsmakers.
Buffett's secretary, Debbie Bosanek, made a cameo appearance at the show as his "underpaid, overtaxed" executive assistant. Bosanek was thrust into the national spotlight in January when Buffett said the U.S. tax code was so unfair that she paid a higher rate of income tax than he did. President Barack Obama has urged Congress to pass the "Buffett Rule" to reform the tax code.
Bosanek recited a list of things she planned to spend money on when she lands in Buffett's lower tax bracket, including "a new ribbon for my Smith Corona typewriter," "a set of earplugs for when Mr. Buffett practices his ukulele," "an extra scuttle of coal for those cold January days at the office," "a nice dinner anyplace but Gorat's or Piccolo Pete's (Buffett's two favorite Omaha restaurants)," and "a brand new iMac, so I can stop using those crappy PCs he gets from Bill Gates."
Gates, co-founder and chairman of Microsoft, is a Berkshire Hathaway board member and he and Buffett are bridge-playing pals.
Buffett's next stage appearance will be in front of 20,000 shareholders from around the world at Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting May 5 in Omaha.
(Editing by David Bailey, Colleen Jenkins and Bill Trott)