NPR logo With Pickens Facing Losses, Will Wind Campaign Deflate?


With Pickens Facing Losses, Will Wind Campaign Deflate?

This wasn't part of the Pickens Plan.

T. Boone Pickens, the Texas billionaire who is bankrolling a massive media campaign for alternative energy, has taken a huge hit to his investments, according to the Wall Street Journal. "It's my toughest run in 10 years," said Pickens, whose funds have lost $1 billion this year, including $270 million in personal losses.

If that means he'll tone down his wind energy ad campaign, it could be oddly welcome news to Republicans. Though Pickens is a longtime Republican donor who helped fund the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads against John Kerry in 2004, this year he's only been getting in the way. His latest ad essentially counters the "Drill Here, Drill Now" message trumpeted by McCain and Newt Gingrich and used by conservative groups like the American Future Fund to criticize Democrats.

The ad (below) says, "The big debate in Washington now is whether or not to drill. I say, 'Drill, drill, drill.' But the debate misses the point. Either way, we'll still be dependent on foreign oil."

Pickens spent roughly $6 million on three weeks of air time for the ad, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group. But the "Pickens Plan" ads dropped off the air on Sept. 15. Could it be that pesky $1 billion loss? Stay tuned.