Apr 25, 2017 - Politics & Policy

Obama joins presidential tradition of cashing in after White House

Charles Rex Arbogast, Eugene Hoshiko, LM Otero / AP

Barack Obama gave his first public speech since he left office yesterday. While this one might have been a freebie, Fox Business reported that he's already booked for a $400K gig in September — almost double Hillary Clinton's controversial speaking fee. Obama will talk about health care at a Wall Street conference put on by Cantor Fitzgerald LP.

But Obama certainly isn't the first POTUS to cash in on the presidency, and he hasn't set any record.

  • Gerald Ford was the first President to make money from speeches, charging as much as $40,000 per speech after 1977, according to ThoughtCo.
  • Jimmy Carter did not take up speech offers often, but at one time had $50,000 listed as a speaking fee, according to presidential historian Mark K. Updegrove.
  • Ronald Reagan was once paid $2 million for two speeches in Japan, NYT reported, noting that was not his usual fee.
  • George H. W. Bush didn't like speaking in public often, but George W. told writer Robert Draper that his dad made about $50,000 to $75,000 per speech.
  • Bill Clinton was paid $750,000 for a speech in 2011 for a Swedish telecom firm, according to ABC. Hillary Clinton became the center of scandal during the campaign when it was revealed she charged $250,000 in speaking fees at a fundraiser, according to ABC News. Most of the Clintons' speeches cost around $200,000.
  • George W. Bush gave around 200 speeches for $100-$175,000 each after leaving office, Politico reported.
  • Donald Trump was the highest paid speaker even before he became president. In 2006 and 2007, he was paid $1.5 million per speech (he participated in 17) at The Learning Annex's "real estate wealth expos," according to Forbes.
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