ST PAUL (CNN) –- John McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin needs to “portray herself as a leader” Wednesday night, if she does that, “she is going to be very popular,” Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens said in a CNN interview inside the Xcel Energy Center at the Republican National Convention.
Pickens – fresh off a visit to the Democratic National Convention – was in St. Paul on Wednesday to push what he modestly calls the Pickens Plan, a scheme to wean the United States off imported oil and instead rely more on renewable energy resources.
“I have a story to tell. My story is the Pickens Plan and that is the plan for energy for America,” he said of his Minnesota visit.
Pickens is particularly interested in hearing what Senator McCain has to say about energy in his address Thursday night.
In 2004, Pickens was among the highest-profile supporters of Swift Boat Veterans and POWs for Truth, giving $1 million to the group that savaged Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry's war record.
He contributed $2.5 million the same year to the Progress for America voter fund, a group closely linked to President Bush and the Republican National Committee, and tens of thousands of dollars to individual Republican candidates for Congress, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
But Pickens says he isn’t taking sides this election and doesn’t haven’t an opinion about which presidential candidate would do a better job of decreasing American dependence on foreign oil.
“I am totally non-partisan in this race,” he said, adding that “both parties are going to have to work like hell” if they want to take the White House in November.