George Soros and Other Rich Guys to Infuse Democrats With $100 Million for Grassroots Efforts

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Soros. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI/2011 AFP

Billionaire investor George Soros will be supplying $2 million to independent Democratic groups focused on grassroots election efforts as part of a greater donor initiative to enhance outreach and voter registration operations. Soros will divide his donation equally between America Votes, a group that provides coordination and campaign support to progressive organizations; and American Bridge 21st Century, a super-PAC that focuses on communications and election-oriented research. Soros's contribution will be part of a nearly $100 million boost from major liberal donors to like-minded causes and efforts. According to a New York Times report, Soros and others are pledging funds to grassroots-type groups in part because they don't believe they can match the massive Republican super-PAC-funded negative television ad bombs, but also as a symbolic rejection of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which gave birth to super-PACs that may spend on campaigns without limits.

Beneficiaries of the $100 million infusion from the major liberal donors include organizations like the Latino Engagement Fund (part of the Democracy Alliance), a group that works to register and turn out Latino voters for Democrats.

The Soros donation came on the same day that the Obama campaign announced a $25 million ad blitz in swing states this month, what the Times writes is an indication that the reelection campaign doesn't expect the major donors to support advertising efforts at this time. But the Obama campaign isn't (yet) fighting negative ads with negative ads either, at least not according to senior adviser David Axelrod who pointed to the campaign's positive bend:

"I believe that by the end of this week -- certainly by the end of next -- we will have spent more money offering people a positive vision for the future, talking about the president's record and the nation's record under his leadership and where we're going than Gov. Romney has in his entire campaign," Axelrod said, "and there's a reason for that."

Campaign manager Jim Messina likened GOP super-PACs with deep-pocketed backers to mercenaries. He said of attacks from the right:

"We're also going to be prepared, and I want to be clear, to respond to the attacks that we expect to continue from, not just from the Romney campaign, but from, you know, the Karl (Rove) and Koch brothers contract killers over there in super PAC land, who are going to continue to pound away on behalf of Gov. Romney,"

"We will respond vigorously, we will treat every ad that comes from those entities as an ad from Gov. Romney and we will compare our record and our vision with his, and we'll let the American people decide," he added.

Obama's new ad, titled Go, focuses on what the campaign believes are Obama's first-term accomplishments, such as the resurgence of the U.S. auto industry, the ending of the Iraq war, the killing of Osama bin Laden, and an upwards trend in private-sector jobs.