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Swift Boat Funders Go Their Separate Ways

By Matthew Mosk
ST. PAUL -- From one Texas billionaire to another, there was just a touch of admiration.

T. Boone Pickens, the oilman who roamed the Republican convention hall today peddling his plan to end dependence on foreign oil, said he had deep respect for his friend, Harold Simmons, and his effort to plaster the airwaves with television attack ads linking Democrat Barack Obama and former domestic radical and Weathermen member William Ayers.

Four years ago Simmons and Pickens worked together on the Swift Boat ads that helped sink Democrat John Kerry's bid for president. The two met a few months ago in Simmons's office to contemplate a similar campaign this time around, Pickens said in an interview.

"I met with those guys and they wanted me to get in. There were six of us in Harold's office, and I told them, 'I'm not in the game this year,'" Pickens recalled. "Every one of them said do what you need to. There were no hard feelings."

Simmons went ahead with his advertising project, spending $2.88 million through a group called the American Issues Project to air an ad that raises questions about Obama's relationship with Ayers. The 60-second spot is playing in Ohio and Michigan, two swing states where Obama and John McCain are running close in the polls.

"He's doing what he thinks is best for America," Pickens said. "You've got to admire him for that."

But that's not Pickens's plan this time around. He has now visited both the Democratic and Republican conventions, and he won't pick sides in the election this fall.

"When I said I was out, I meant it," Pickens said.

By Web Politics Editor  |  September 3, 2008; 9:03 PM ET
Categories:  The Green Zone  
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I'm pick'n who T Boone Pickens!! You liberals can go hide in yer holes like you did after 9/11 for all I care. Personally, I'll take a billionaire who has had a change of heart and wants to fight on my side of the issues. Just a bunch of typical, liberal responses ahead of my response - a bunch of whiners. For any self-educated people reading this - check out the "Pickens Plan" and make up your own mind. Stay away from the nay sayers.

Posted by: dizzyguy | September 4, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

So we can thank T. Boone Pickens for the disaster that is George W. Bush. Well done Boonie!

Posted by: Mr. Moderate | September 4, 2008 1:05 AM | Report abuse

We are all have equal freedom of speech, but some are more equal than others.

Posted by: Fate | September 3, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Pickens is a Nazi...They use money to manipulate vulnerable Americans. He can take his natural gas and shove it up his natural oppps...hush your mouth.

Posted by: Ward6ForNow | September 3, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

A small glimpse into a powerful good ol' boy network ...that can call the shots.

Posted by: Gary P. | September 3, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Sorry T Bone,

Hitler though he was doing what was best for Germany and I don't admire him for that.

Posted by: Peter Katz | September 3, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Well, Americans are not that stupid.
They can be naive one time, but not second time.

Posted by: mapradipa | September 3, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

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