Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who spent tens of millions of dollars trying to defeat Obama last year, has a message for the White House: Call me. The 80-year-old, one of the most influential GOP moneymen in the nation, is no Obama apologist. He’s still the financier who, along with his wife, spent nearly $100m trying to defeat Democratic candidates, Obama chief among them, last year. But he is also a pro-Israel hawk who said USAia’s standing in the world is at stake in the showdown with Syria over chemical weapons. In an interview with National Journal, Adelson said he stands behind the White House’s push for US military action against the Syrian government. Perhaps as important, Adelson said he’s ready, if asked, to roll up his sleeves and help Obama, the “commander in chief,” as he repeatedly referred to him, corral the needed votes in Congress for a strike. The comments are Adelson’s first public remarks on the Syria situation, although the Republican Jewish Coalition, an advocacy group that he chairs, came out in support of a Syria strike last week. His offer of a helping hand came as Russia floated a diplomatic solution in which Damascus would cede its chemical weapons to avoid a strike, something Obama called a potential breakthrough on Monday. For Adelson, Israel has long been a defining issue. He owns Israel’s biggest-circulation newspaper. He said he worries about missiles and CBW falling into the hands of Hezbollah. And he sees the potential that USAia might back down after Obama drew a “red line” against use of chemical weapons in Syria as poor precedent, in the Middle East and beyond. Adelson said late Monday evening:
It’s time for Republicans to line up behind Obama, however they feel about him personally. He is our commander in chief, whether we like what he says politically or not. USAia has to back up their commander in chief. He is our only… We don’t have any other commander in chief. Whether we care or not about whether he loses credibility is not the issue. The issue is whether or not USAia loses credibility. I would be willing to help out the administration, because I believe it’s the right thing to do. I wouldn’t want to see North Korea come down and trample on South Korea because they think they can do it with impunity. And the same thing with Iran and Israel, and Iran and Europe. Would I have set the red line? Probably not. Would I hope that he didn’t set the red line? Maybe. But the fact is, he did. He set it for our country. I love our country. I’m a patriot. I’m a citizen. I’m a veteran. And so I’d like to do what is in the best interests of our country. I’m hoping if they see my comments that support them in your publication… Listen, I’m not qualified to turn this thing around. I mean I don’t have that kind of clout. I might be able to call up a handful of friends, a couple handfuls of friends, and say, ‘This is the right thing to do, why don’t you support him.’ It’s a two-edged sword, but I come down on gas not being used. [[[[Jewish people have a history of gas killing off their people, and although it was done in a different way, I don’t want anybody to be killed, particularly innocent people, women and children, older people.]]]] Somebody goes out and carries a rifle and starts shooting, they’re fair game. But innocents shouldn’t be targeted. Although we have political differences, and we may have a lot of them, what’s good for the country is clear to me and it’s unmistakable.