Q: When you strike oil, does it really come gushing out like in the movies?
A: Not anymore. It was like that years agoIím 80 and even Iím not old enough to have experienced it.
Q: You became a billionaire as a Texas oilman. Why are you now promoting wind energy?
A: Iím a businessman. Iím just trying to find another angle to make money. This is not some altruistic venture. If you look at energy in America, oil isnít the answer. We peaked on oil production in 1970 and have been going downhill since. We use 25 percent of the worldís oil and have 4 percent of the worldís population. We operate like we are a big oil producer, and weíre not. Something has to change.
Q: When doing business, do you think itís important to wear clothes that convey a sense of power, affluence, or style?
A: I have nothing to say about that. I just wear a regular suit, and if I need to make a speech I put on an orange tie. I have a pair of penny loafers that I bought in 1957, and I still wear them.
Q: I take it youíre not much for splurging.
A: Iím not a shopper. I buy four or five suits at once, every four or five years. I shop for five hours and donít go back.
Q: Are there any things you wish you owned?
A: I never was the kind of person who wanted a lot of things. Iíve never been into cars, and big houses hold very little interest for methough I do enjoy my ranch. There is no question that I like to make money. But Iím generousI give a lot away.
Q: What would you be doing now if you were in your mid-twenties?
A: I would be an entrepreneur. But all I know is oil, and you canít go over to the Middle East and get something to drill. They keep it for themselves.
Q: In The First Billion Is the Hardest, you write that the more you give the more you get back.
A: It seems to work that way. But then, I gave away a lot of money last year and this year has not been so good for me.
Q: How do you deal with your hedge fundís dropping $1 billion and your personally losing $300 million?
A: A lot of guys lose that kind of money. And my losses are more than $300 million. But being in business is like playing football: You donít win every game. Sometimes you get your ass kicked. You donít like it, but you get used to it.
Q: Last year, you offered $1 million to anyone who could disprove the claims in the Swift Boat Veterans ads you financed. How come you didnít pay the guys who came forward?
A: Iím ready to pay. But these Kerry-supporter veterans wanted a payoff on something different. What I said is that if they found any errors in the nine ads I paid for, Iíd pay a million dollars. They went back and found stuff in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truthís books and all kinds of stuff they wanted me to pay off on. I canít be responsible for other peopleís books. I can only vouch for the accuracy of the ads I had a part in.