Pickens Drills Into McCain Campaign

Oilman's environmental turn enrages GOP, writes columnist
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2008 8:40 AM CDT
T. Boone Pickens testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 22, 2008, before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.    (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – The reinvention of oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens as an environmentalist represents a huge political about-face, writes Timothy Egan in the New York Times. Four years ago, Pickens bankrolled the Swift Boat campaign that derailed John Kerry's presidential bid. Now Pickens, "looking a bit like the John Huston character from Chinatown," is attacking the efficacy of new drilling just when John McCain is pressing for it.

A new McCain ad directly blames Barack Obama for the high price of gas, but Pickens is overwhelming the McCain attack with a $58 million campaign of his own, including a new spot in which he calls the Republicans' plan "totally misleading." It's a "political parable for the ages," writes Egan, and further proof that the debate is controlled by "who has the bigger microphone."