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Billionaire earmarks $ 25 mn to stop Bush

Source: PTI
October 11, 2004 09:16 IST
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Billionaire investor-philanthropist George Soros plans to spend $ 25 million of his own money to convince American voters that a second George Bush term would 'unhinge the future of the world,' a media report said on Monday.

Soros, dismayed by what he perceives to be the Bush administration's unilateralism abroad and its "authoritarian" politics at home, is on a crusade, the Newsweek magazine says in an article being published in its upcoming issue.

Besides spending $ 25 million, the news magazine says, he would plea with every single moderate Republican and undecided swing-state voter who'll listen to him.

This is Soros's first significant involvement in American electoral politics.

Soros told the Newsweek that he joined the battle when he heard President George W Bush address a joint session of the US Congress in the weeks after September 11. Bush said, "You are either with us or against us."

To Soros, a 74-year-old naturalised Hungarian-American,

the absolutist rhetoric "set off alarm bells."

"George (Soros) is allergic to absolutists," says his longtime friend Leon Botstein, president of New York's Bard College and vice chairman and treasurer of Central European University, established by Soros's Open Society Institute in Budapest in 1991.

Critics, says the magazine, charge that it's Soros and a troupe of like-minded millionaires and billionaires who are threatening to unhinge the future of American democracy.

"George Soros has purchased the Democratic Party," Republican National Committee spokeswoman Christine Iverson
was quoted as saying. "It makes George Soros very influential, (but) it also makes John Kerry very beholden to him."

Democrats counter that they're just taking a page from the Republican handbook, using money not only to stop Bush but to resuscitate the American left, the report says.

It's not clear how much of an effect any billionaire's money, even George Soros's, can have on the election itself, Newsweek says.

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