A Texas billionaire who spent millions to defeat John Kerry’s bid for the White House in 2004 says Republicans need to find another way to pick their presidential candidates. T. Boone Pickens is in Iowa today to headline a land investment seminar, but he talked politics this morning during taping of IPTV’s “Iowa Press” program.
“There should be some method to screen presidential candidates,” Pickens said. “…In corporate America, you’d use head hunters. If you wanted to find a CEO for a company in America, you’d tell head hunters: ‘This is what we want, find us candidates, bring them to us, we want to look at three candidates.’…Anyway, there’s got to be a better method for how people run for president of the United States.”
Two Republicans from Pickens’ home state of Texas are mentioned as potential presidential candidates in 2016, but Pickens doesn’t consider either Senator Ted Cruz or Governor Rick Perry as top prospects for the GOP.
“I don’t think either one of them will make it to the finish line. I don’t think they’ll be the candidate for the Republican Party,” Pickens said. “We got a look at Perry in the last election and (he) didn’t stay in the race very long. Cruz is a little bit early. You’d pick him green if you took him now, so I just don’t see either one of them being serious players.”
Pickens, who expects former Florida Governor Jeb Bush “will get in the race” at some point, said he isn’t ready to pick a 2016 candidate yet. In 2004, Pickens was a major funder of the “Swift Boat” group that questioned John Kerry’s military record and Pickens defended the effort.
“I believe it was exactly the right thing to do,” Pickens said.
Pickens has spent the past six years touting alternative energy sources like natural gas for semis, buses and other large vehicles as well as wind power, although Pickens said he invested at the wrong time and lost $200 million on his Texas turbine project. The 85-year-old who got his start in the oil industry opposes exporting U.S. crude oil and Pickens said after 40 years of importing oil from the Middle East, it’s time for the U.S. to come up with a national strategy that will end reliance on energy that comes from outside of North America.