GO
Loading...

Obama's unlikely ally: Sheldon Adelson

Sheldon Adelson
Jerome Favre | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Sheldon Adelson

Opposition to a military strike in Syria has united Democrats and Republicans who rarely agree on anything.

Support for a strike has also created strange political bedfellows.

Sheldon Adelson spent at least $50 million in a failed attempt to defeat Barack Obama in the last presidential election.

One year later, the billionaire chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands is one of the few people standing with the president on Syria. Adelson told the National Journal that he's willing to make calls to powerful friends in Washington to round up the needed votes in Congress for the military strike the president is asking for.

"He is our commander in chief, whether we like what he says politically or not," Adelson told the publication Monday evening. "I would be willing to help out the administration because I believe it's the right thing to do."

The 80-year-old Adelson is a staunch supporter of Israel who told the Journal that America's standing in the world is at stake.

(Read more: Tomahawk missiles may fly, but Raytheon stock isn't)

"Whether we care or not about whether (Obama) loses credibility is not the issue," he said. "The issue is whether or not the United States of America loses credibility."

Adelson also serves on the board of directors of the Washington-based Republican Jewish Coalition. The RJC had no comment on Adelson's National Journal interview but referred CNBC to a statement it released last week in which it called on members to lobby their congressional representatives to support any resolution for the use of force against the Bashar Assad regime in Syria.

"The RJC believes that this is not a Republican or Democrat issue," the organization said.

Adelson admitted Syria is a "two-edged sword"—Syria's rebels appear to have ties to terrorists—but he told the Journal that the use of chemical weapons cannot be ignored. Still, the Vegas titan is wagering his reputation betting on a side that appears to have long odds of winning.

A new poll from NBC News and The Wall Street Journal found that about 60 percent of Americans want their representatives to vote against giving the president the authority to use force against Syria.

(Read more: Russia proposes Syria hand over weapons to avert US attack)

Adelson's support for the president does not mean he agrees with the way the administration has handled the situation, he said.

"Would I have set the red line? Probably not. Would I hope that he didn't set the red line? Maybe," Adelson said. "But the fact is he did. He set it for our country ... 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."

The president will give an address on Syria on Tuesday night.

By CNBC's Jane Wells; Follow her on Twitter: @janewells. Senior News Editor Ted Kemp contributed to this report.

Contact Politics

  • CNBC NEWSLETTERS

    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    › Learn More