Pickens accuses Obama of abandoning '08 energy pledge, expects to back Romney

Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens said Sunday he'll probably back Mitt Romney in the upcoming presidential race, claiming that President Obama "never has a plan" for American energy independence and that he abandoned the issue after winning election in 2008.

Pickens, who traditionally backs GOP candidates, sought to hold Obama to account for a 2008 campaign pledge he made to end oil imports from the Middle East within a decade.

Only three-and-a-half years have passed since then, but Pickens told "Fox News Sunday" that "never again has he mentioned that."

"I don't know whether he had a plan, or he doesn't have a plan, but now is the time to show up with a plan," Pickens said.

Pickens made waves in 2008 by launching a major initiative called the "Pickens Plan" aimed at weaning America off foreign energy -- he promoted alternative sources of domestic energy including wind, solar and natural gas.

Pickens, who says he lost $150 million betting on wind power, is now focusing his efforts on natural gas. Pickens expressed frustration Sunday that politicians tend to only talk about energy independence when the price of gasoline is high.

While saying Romney has only assembled a "skeleton" of an energy plan so far, Pickens expressed confidence that he'd come through.

"I will support the (candidate) that has the energy plan for America. ... I think that Romney will show up with the plan," Pickens said. "Because I've seen Obama and I've heard what he says, but he never has a plan. He's never come forward with a plan for energy for America."

During the 2008 campaign, Obama called for energy independence through a combination of increasing fuel economy standards, promoting plug-in hybrid cars, and promoting domestic energy production.

The administration has since worked to ratchet up fuel economy standards across the country, but has come under criticism from Republicans for slowing domestic energy production -- though the administration rejects the charge.

Obama frequently promotes, including in his most recent State of the Union address, what he describes as an "all-of-the-above" energy plan. Earlier this year, the president announced new leases for offshore oil development in the Gulf of Mexico, and pushed a Pickens-style plan to offer tax credits for getting trucks on natural gas.

Pickens suggested it's not enough.

According to the Energy Information Administration, the United States imported 45 percent of its petroleum in 2011 -- though dependence on foreign oil, the EIA said, has declined since 2005.