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Billionaire Against Bush

"I find the Bush campaign quite reprehensible," he says. "Instead of discussing issues, they attack people who espouse those issues. It reminds me of my childhood, when you were discussing something with the communists and they say you're a bourgeois capitalist so what you say doesn't count. There has to be some respect for the truth."

Soros himself has gotten a taste of the attacks. In a Fox News interview this summer, House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), when asked where Soros got his money, speculated: "You know, I don't know where George Soros gets his money. I don't know where -- if it comes from overseas or from drug groups or where it comes from." He went on to explain that because Soros advocates drug legalization, "he's got a lot of ancillary interests out there."

"If I could contribute to repudiating Bush's policies," George Soros says, "it would be the greatest good deed I could do for the world." (Marvin Joseph -- The Washington Post)

Soros has become a regular target on the rant end of the political dialogue, where Ann Coulter talks about whether Al Gore has lost his mind and who's worse, Michael Moore or Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl.

Fox commentator Bill O'Reilly called him "a real sleazoid" with political views "as far left as you can get without moving to Havana." Soros "wants abortion even out of the womb," he said. Tony Blankley of the Washington Times called him a "Jew who figured out a way to survive the Holocaust" and a "robber baron, a pirate capitalist . . . a reckless man."

Then there was radio host Michael Savage, who devoted an hour in June to: "Billionaire George Goebbels Soros," referring to Hitler's propaganda minister. "A money changer in the temple of truth," Savage called him, a "dangerous crazy man."

You get the point.

But Soros, who has worked against Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic, is not intimidated by radio chatter. In his efforts to promote democracy in the former Soviet bloc, Soros showed he had a naturally subversive temperament, once flooding Romania with photocopy machines when the government there limited access to them.

Fighting Bush, he gives as good as he gets. He's compared the president's attitude to Nazi slogans and George Orwell's "Animal Farm." He's called the neoconservatives who guide Bush's foreign policy a "bunch of extremists guided by a crude form of social Darwinism."

Yesterday, though, Soros seemed more frustrated than combative. At several points he listed Bush's "lies," distortions that were so perfectly obvious to him, and yet, he complained, why didn't everyone see them?

"There must be something wrong with us if we believe it," he says in exasperation with his placid, adopted nation. "I want to shout from the rooftops: 'Wake up, America. Don't you realize that we are being misled?'

"My wish is that Bush were rejected in a landslide," he says with the frustration of someone used to winning his bets. "But that's not in the cards right now."

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