Charlie Gasparino is well aware he’s a bit of an enigma and not everyone’s favorite guy – something discussed and evidenced in a new interview with Playboy Magazine.
Charlie Gasparino will be featured in the publication’s June issue in a 20Q interview with Rob Tannenbaum. In the chat, he talks Wall Street culture, his unconventional politics, and, of course, his bad behavior on Twitter… ie…..
— Charles Gasparino (@CGasparino) May 21, 2015
Now a senior correspondent at Fox Business Network, Charlie Gasparino has worked at CNBC, Newsweek and WSJ. He won the New York Press Club award for best continuing coverage of Wall Street research scandals and has authored numerous books.
Charlie Gasparino has made his career out of living and breathing Wall Street. He compares his draw to the culture with the attraction to the devil in Paradise Lost. “Wall Street is a cesspool,” he said. “I write about some of the good stuff. I often write about the bad stuff. In order you have to mingle with the people who know what’s going on. Wall Street guys are type-A personalities. They’re a little crazy, they’re profane, they’re smart. And their world fascinates me.”
He also draws an analogy between finance and the mob. “That doesn’t mean they’re all bad guys, but there is an evil side to them that needs to be exposed,” he said.
And alcohol, as it turns out, is a valuable ingredient for Charlie Gasparino’s ability to get stories. “I can’t drink like I used to, but I can drink a lot and not be drunk,” he said. “I can put them down, and in the context of putting them down, I can report and get stuff out to people – usually on the second round.”
Charlie Gasparino’s 20Q interview highlights
Here are some other highlights from Charlie Gasparino’s 20Q interview.
On how to get started investing:
If you’re 30 years old, the biggest thing you should be doing is saving and dividing the money into a stock portfolio. You don’t necessarily need a broker to do that, by the way. Open a Charles Schwab account.
On how Wall Street is depicted in the media:
I remember in the 1990s how revered Wall Street was. If you watch Sex and the City, the big catch for one of the girls is some guy on Wall Street. The zeitgeist has changed. Now Wall Street is demonized and attacked in popular culture. Don’t get me wrong; they’re still making money, but the perception is different, and rightly so. I think the public hates them.
On Jim Cramer and Warren Buffett:
Jim Cramer’s a friend of mine. I don’t think he’s evil. I think there’s a perception that he’s out there to screw people. He’s not. Listen, the best hitters in baseball hit .300, right? Warren Buffett has screwed up a gazillion times.
On who he wants in the White House in 2016:
Marco Rubio, because he’s a free-market person, but Hillary Clinton would be a better candidate, if she’s not defined by the far left of her party.
On his boxing record:
Three and one. I had four official bouts, but I’ve been in the ring hundreds of times. I did it for a long time. My mother was begging me to quit. I was going to fight in the Golden Gloves in 1980, and I didn’t, because I got into girls and stuff.
On one story he just couldn’t pass up:
I broke a story when I was a reporter at The Wall Street Journal that I’ll never forget. In 1999 I got a call from a Merrill Lynch broker on Long Island, where they do a lot of high-net-worth investing. He said, “My branch manager sent around a memo today. He doesn’t want us dealing with poor people.” He faxed me the memo. “We at Merrill Lynch want to deal with the future rich people of the world. As a result, you cannot take an account for less than $100,000. If you want to deal with poor people, you can get a nice job at the United Way.” When I contacted Merrill, they tried to get me to not write the story. “What can we trade you not to write this story? You want an interview with our CEO?” I said no way. The story was too good.
On his Twitter battle with CNBC’s Ron Insana:
If you’re going to throw the first punch at me, be ready for nuclear war. Telling someone to go f— themselves is completely within the bounds of ethics, especially when they’re wrong and I’m right. Truth is a defense. The guy we’re talking about is a fat, unctuous, sycophantic Wall Street suck-up. He’d been saying stuff about me behind the scenes, and then one day he said it on Twitter, and I lost it. I’m a combative person. I have to admit, I am kind of a p— at times. Even my friends will say, “He’s an a—–.”
And on whether his wife reads his tweets, and what she thinks about them:
Yes. And she says, “Oh my God, what are you doing?” Often.
Read the full interview here.