Obama Deflects Swift Boat Question

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Democrat Barack Obama met today with Texas oil
baron and longtime conservative activist T. Boone Pickens in Reno to discuss strategies for developing alternative energy.

The presidential hopeful praised Pickens as a "legendary entrepreneur" and deflected a question about the billionaire's role in helping to fund a television ad campaign that undermined John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic nominee.

Obama told reporters that Pickens "a longer track record than that" when asked about Pickens' association with the ads by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

During the 2004 presidential campaign, Pickens spent $3 million to help bankroll the group tied to supporters of President Bush that ran television ads questioning Kerry's record as a swift boat commander during the Vietnam War.

Today, Pickens is backing calls for the U.S. to generate 22 percent of its electricity through wind and other sources.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-08-17-08 1417EDT