Oil Tycoon Pickens on Candidates' Economic Plans

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," October 16, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Recent financial meltdown has forced both candidates to make the economy priority No. 1. Obama says he will cut taxes on households making less than $250,000, while John McCain wants to keep the Bush tax cuts in place.

Meanwhile, "Joe the plumber", the star of last night's debate and an Ohio voter, put a face on the small business owner concerned about a possible tax hike, so which candidate offers Joe the plumber the better solution?

With us now the author of "The First Billion is the Hardest," the CEO of B.P. Capital, T. Boone Pickens, also author of "The Pickens Plan," ThePickensPlan.com.

Sir, nice to have you with us.


Video: Watch Sean and Alan's interview with T. Boone Pickens

COLMES: All right. Well, which candidate? I know you're not endorsing anybody.

PICKENS: I can't.

COLMES: But does either candidate have a better...

PICKENS: I promised Harry Reid I wouldn't.

COLMES: I understand, and you keep your word. But does either candidate have a line on what is the best direction, economically, for the country?

PICKENS: I don't know. I don't know. You know, I don't — I'm not the best on that. I'm great on energy.

COLMES: All right. What about in terms of energy? Does either candidate have it right?

PICKENS: Neither one have a plan. They don't have a plan. Bob Schieffer last night asked them, said, "In your first four years, if you're president, how are you going to cut the dependency on foreign oil?"

And the response by Senator McCain said, "In seven, eight, or nine year, I'm going to have the dependency cut down." That wasn't the question.

He goes over to Obama and says, "What about you?"

And he says, "Well, in 10 years we won't be importing any oil from the Mideast". But that wasn't the question. I don't understand. I always answer your questions, Alan.

COLMES: Yes, you do. Have you taken the Pickens plan to either candidate or both candidates and gotten a reaction from them? Has either pledged to embrace it?

PICKENS: No, they have not. But they listened to me, and they used some of my stuff. But they don't...

COLMES: What do they need to say to get your approval?

PICKENS: What we've asked is a pledge. We have 10 governors now that have — that have signed up on our pledge, which is we'll reduce the dependency on foreign oil by 30 percent in 10 years.

COLMES: And that's done how?

PICKENS: It's a pledge that they have signed.


PICKENS: And we would like for these two candidates to sign it, also.

COLMES: But what is the Pickens plan to do, then? You're talking about alternative energy. You've got the wind — wind power.

PICKENS: The only thing — the only resource we have in America that can reduce foreign oil by 30 percent is natural gas. It's the only resource. It's not a hard decision. When you only have one choice, it's easy.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Hey, T. Boone, good to see you. Welcome — welcome back to the program here.

I've interviewed Senator McCain a bunch and Governor Palin a bunch, and they've been very clear. He keeps using the words to me — he's very specific — "all of the above," wind, solar, new technology, drilling, 40 nuclear power plants. If France can do it, he says, we ought to be able to do it here in the U.S. and do it as quickly as possible. I mean, he's said it repeatedly to me.

PICKENS: But Sean, they — they have never said use natural gas for transportation and fuel. That's the only resource we have in America.

HANNITY: Governor Palin did, and Senator McCain was with him when I interviewed them together. And they talked about that and expanding in that — I agree with you on natural gas. But he said all of the above. All hands on deck.

PICKENS: I am, too. I'm all-American. Anything that's American I'm for it. I want to cut down foreign oil. But the only resource we have to do that is natural gas.

HANNITY: But wait a minute. We also have the — we also have oil off the coast of Florida.


HANNITY: We also have oil in the gulf, off the coast of California. We've got it in Florida — in Alaska. We've got oil shale, which we're developing the technology to microwave it, which is the equivalent of all the oil in — almost in the Middle East, according to some estimates, in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.

PICKENS: Sean, I couldn't agree with you more. But the timing is — is so important to us. We have a ticking bomb here that now has gone down in size. It was $700 billion a year when we...

HANNITY: Seventy-two billion now — $72 a barrel. Used to be 150 bucks a barrel.

PICKENS: That's right. So you can cut that 700 in half is what's happened, because that was $140 a barrel. But, we don't have any of those oil off the East Coast, West Coast...


PICKENS: ... Florida, and ANWR. Take them. Get every bit of it. But the only resource we have available to us today to get on — to get rid of foreign oil is natural gas.

HANNITY: Look at their economic plan. You're a pretty smart businessman. What do you think of the idea of Barack Obama's plan to spend a trillion new dollars in spending — that's his proposal. He's going to raise capital gains taxes, corporate taxes, tax rates, windfall profits tax. Is that something you'd do?

PICKENS: Would I do?

HANNITY: If you were president?

PICKENS: No, I wouldn't do it. That's not the way I would go at it.

HANNITY: Well, how would you go at it?

PICKENS: Well, I wouldn't — this isn't a time to raise taxes.

HANNITY: At all?


HANNITY: For anybody.

PICKENS: I wouldn't — listen, I wouldn't touch raising taxes at this point, because here we are flat on our back.

HANNITY: I agree.

PICKENS: You just don't raise taxes.

HANNITY: Does it get worse before it gets better or do you think we've hit bottom?

PICKENS: I think it's going to get worse.

HANNITY: How much worse?

PICKENS: I don't know. It's — you know, you're not talking to an expert on this. You're just talking to an old man with a gut feeling.

HANNITY: I think — I think you've done pretty good with that gut feeling. Good to see you. T. Boone, thank you very much.

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