Hedge fund chieftain and Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens has crossed party lines for a chat with presidential frontrunner Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
The billionaire, recently seen on televisions across the country pushing his alternative energy plan, discussed energy policy with the Democratic nominee yesterday in Reno, Nev. Pickens, a lifelong Republican who funded the now infamous “Swift Boat” attack advertisements on Obama’s predecessor, Democratic White House hopeful Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), has already met with the Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, on the energy issue.
Pickens, who is spending millions to make energy a major issue in the fall campaign, has not endorsed either candidate.
“I assured Senator Obama that this is a non-partisan campaign and that I will do everything in my power to work together with leaders who are willing to solve our immense energy problems,” Pickens said in a statement.
“It would be inappropriate for me to speak for Senator Obama. I have a real sense, however, that he was very engaged. He understands the issues and is interested and excited by the work we are doing.”
Pickens issued a similar statement after his sit-down with McCain. Both Obama and McCain have featured their commitment to a new energy policy in their campaign ads.
For his part, Obama said he was not concerned by Pickens’ swift-boating history.
“He’s got a lot longer track record than that,” he told reporters. “He’s a legendary entrepreneur, and, you know, one of the things that I think we have to unify the country around is having an intelligent energy policy.”
Pickens’ plan to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil includes a windfarm stretching from Canada to Mexico and using natural gas to power cars.