Soros 'Absolutely Delighted' by Kerry's Front-Runner Status

By Robert B. Bluey | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

( - Financier and philanthropist George Soros has pledged $15.5 million to defeat President Bush, and now the liberal billionaire says he's ready for Sen. John Kerry to make it happen.

"I'm absolutely delighted that Senator Kerry has emerged as the front runner, because a war hero who wants to use military force only as the last resort stacks up very well against a warmonger who has not experienced war personally," Soros told Time magazine.

Kerry voted in favor of giving Bush the authority to go to war in Iraq, but the Massachusetts senator has since shifted his stance and criticized the administration for exaggerating the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

Since making his financial pledges last fall, Soros has aligned himself with former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, retired Gen. Wesley Clark and Kerry. But with Dean and Clark out of the race for the Democratic nomination, and Kerry having won 15 of 17 contests, he is now the front runner.

Soros said he hoped to spend "as little as possible" in his personal quest to chase Bush from the White House, but he left open the possibility of making additional contributions.

"There is a tremendous discrepancy in the amount available to the Bush administration's truth machine and those who are critical of it," he told Time. "I feel it's necessary to ensure that there is at least an audible voice to oppose the onslaught on the Democratic candidate that is imminent."

Soros' contributions have gone to liberal activist groups, known as 527s for their tax status, including America Coming Together ($10 million) and the Voter Fund ($2.5 million). He also pledged $3 million to the Center for American Progress, a non-profit liberal think tank.

The Republican National Committee has emerged as one of Soros' biggest critics because of his contributions to these "shadow organizations." Last week the Federal Election Commission ruled that 527s must limit the campaign activities paid for with "soft money" contributions.

Soros told Time the decision wouldn't change the way he spends his money on political causes.

"I am not violating either the letter of the law or the spirit," he said in the interview. "The letter, because the institutions that I'm supporting were there before I started supporting them. The spirit, because campaign-finance regulation has been designed to deny access to special interests, and by supporting these organizations, I gain no access."

But Republican National Committee spokeswoman Christine Iverson told last month that if Soros continues to fill the coffers of liberal interest groups, it would solidify his position as a top ally of the eventual nominee.

"The fact that George Soros is able to give the enormous sums that he is able to give makes the future Democratic nominee very beholden to him," Iverson said. "He is the most powerful man in the Democratic Party today by virtue of the fact that he is able to make large donations to whichever candidate or candidates support his views."

Soros is the author of a new book, The Bubble of American Supremacy, which criticizes Bush's foreign policy. In recent weeks, he traveled to college campuses around the country to promote it and his vision for an "open society."

Soros was raised as a Jew in Nazi-occupied Hungary. After Soros left the country to study and work, the Soviet Union led a communist takeover of Hungary. He said these experiences shaped his life and the "open society" philosophy that drives his philanthropic endeavors.

He used the interview with Time to clarify comments he made about Bush and Nazis. He also said he didn't personally hate Bush.

"I did not call Bush a Nazi," Soros said, "and I wouldn't call him a Nazi, because I know the difference between an open society and a totalitarian regime. However, when he says that those who don't support him are supporting the terrorists, I am reminded of Nazi Germany and communist Soviet Union."

He added: "I think that [Bush] has taken the country and the world in a very dangerous direction. And I think that he was elected on a platform of a humble foreign policy, and since Sept. 11 we have been trying to impose our will on the world. I think it's very important that we should reject his policies."

See Earlier Story:
Conservatives' 'Vicious' Criticism Makes Soros Angry
(Jan. 13, 2004)

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