Pickens doesn’t see fellow Texans as ‘serious players’ in 2016 GOP race

Iowans “have got to start weeding these people out and giving us the best candidates”

James Q. Lynch
Published: January 24 2014 | 12:25 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:36 am in
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It’s early, but T. Boone Pickens doesn’t see either of his fellow Texans being mentioned as 2016 presidential candidates as “serious players.”

Pickens, chairman of BP Capital Management and a crusader for ending America’s reliance on foreign oil, said Friday he doubts either Texan Gov. Rick Perry or the Lone Star State’s Sen. Ted Cruz “will make it to the finish line” in 2016.

Boone, who has contributed heavily to past campaigns, perhaps most notably funding the “swift boat” ads attacking 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, isn’t sure who he will put his money on in 2016. He’s hoping Iowa’s first-in-the-nation precinct caucuses in two years help winnow the field, making his decision easier.

Iowans, he said during taping of Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press Friday, “have got to start weeding these people out and giving us the best candidates.”

Pickens doesn’t count Perry and Cruz, who have made multiple trips to Iowa to court Republicans who will kick off the nomination process, among the best.

“We got a look at Perry in the last election and (he) didn’t stay in the race very long,” Pickens said. “Cruz is a little bit early. You’d pick him green if you took him now.”

Boone, 85, who grew up in Oklahoma and made his money in the oil business, is now promoting natural gas as the logical energy source for heavy transportation – truck fleets – and for ending American dependence on oil from Mideast nations.

“When we buy oil from OPEC … some of that money gets into the hands of the Taliban and Al Qaeda,” he said. “I would like to cut out all OPEC oil.”

He’s calling for a North American energy alliance because together with Canada and Mexico there is enough “domestic” oil to meet the needs of the continent.

Pickens isn’t involved in ethanol – and didn’t sound like a fan, but conceded he’d “rather have ethanol than OPEC oil.”

As far as who he’d rather have as the 2016 presidential nominee, Pickens isn’t ready to make up his mind. He mentioned Chris Christie, but noted the New Jersey governor will have to deal with “Bridgegate” allegations.

He also predicted that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will get into the race.

Although he’s counting on Iowans to narrow the field of presidential hopefuls in 2016, Pickens isn’t enamored with the process. If a corporation needed a new CEO, he said, it would tell headhunters what qualities it was looking for and to bring it three candidates for the job.

He isn’t sure that would work for picking a president, but “there has got to be a better method for how people get to be run for president of the United States.”

Pickens, who since 1980 has made $5 million in political contributions, doesn’t know whether he will contribute as heavily in the next election.

There’s probably too much money in politics, he said, adding that despite donations limits, “Politicians, they’ll fix it so they can get all the money that is available.”

Iowa Press can be seen at 7:30 p.m. Friday and noon Sunday on IPTV and 8:30 a.m. Saturday on IPTV World. It’s available online beginning Friday evening at www.iptv.org.

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