Following the launch of his massive publicity campaign on Tuesday, T. Boone Pickens started to make the requisite rounds on major media to push the Pickens Plan. He kicked off the day as a guest host on CNBC’s Squawk Box, then sat down last night with CBS’s Katie Couric to talk about America’s energy plan (embedded below).
In classically unequivocal Texan terms, Pickens laments that Bush does not share his energy vision for the U.S.:
I’d have to say that I wish that [President Bush] had seen what I believe I see about natural gas. Natural gas is really the only one of our natural resources in this country that can actually replace foreign oil and gasoline. And he went the direction of ethanol which I was not that interested in…I think he was too focused on ethanol.
Pickens, a longtime Republican supporter, tells Couric that he did show President Bush, a fellow Texas oilman, his energy plan — but to no avail:
He was interested and we had a long conversation about it and I went through my whiteboard presentation and all and he seemed to have interest in it but maybe just that day.
He makes Bush sound like a distracted schoolboy. Maybe Pickens should keep him after class.
In an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal, Pickens laid out his plan to solve what he sees as “the most serious situation since World War II.” In it he makes clear that while he’s confident America’s businesses can undertake his plan, he understands it will be policy that makes it happen. “The future begins as soon as Congress and the president act,” he writes. “We have a golden opportunity in this election year to form bipartisan support for this plan…We need action. Now.”
All told, the PR campaign is estimated to cost $58 million. But that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the $12 billion T. Boone is putting into his wind farm and barely a droplet in contrast to the $1 trillion Pickens says the government will need to invest to make his energy switch plan work. Even though it doesn’t look like the current president will listen, we’ll see how the next one responds to heavily financed PR.