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Former President Obama — a day after the news broke that he'll be paid $400,000 to speak at a September health-care conference run by the Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald — was paid the same amount for a "History Makers" luncheon speech at the A&E Networks advertising upfront yesterday in New York, per the N.Y. Post's Claire Atkinson:

  • "He was interviewed over 90 minutes ... by presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin in front of the cable network's advertisers."
  • "Obama, who got a standing ovation when he entered the room, asked about what he missed most about the White House, said it was sitting on the Truman balcony on summer nights and gazing at the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial."
  • "Obama also told the crowd that in his three months out of office he has not yet been behind the wheel of a car ... [H]e's learning how to use the coffee machine in the Obamas' new home in Washington."
  • "Goodwin asked Obama how, while president, he handled frustrating moments. She mentioned Lincoln would write angry letters and then put them in a desk and not mail them. Obama responded: 'For starters, by not having a Twitter account.'"

Michelle Obama made her paid-speaking debut yesterday in Orlando at American Institute of Architecture's annual conference, the WashPost's Krissah Thompson writes in the Style section lead, "For Obamas, paid-speaking circuit can pose risks to their brand":

  • "She spoke with authority about her experience as a lawyer and executive — topics she often seemed reluctant to address in her husband's administration."
  • "She shared a story about her emotional final day at the White House. Her daughters were in tears as they said goodbye to the staff, and she felt herself choke up, too — but she resolved to keep her emotions hidden before the Inauguration Day cameras. 'I didn't want to have tears in my eyes because people would swear I was crying because of the new president,' she said, as the crowd laughed."

Go deeper

Scoop: FDA chief called to West Wing

Stephen Hahn. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has summoned FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn to the West Wing for a 9:30am meeting Tuesday to explain why he hasn't moved faster to approve the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, two senior administration officials told Axios.

Why it matters: The meeting is shaping up to be tense, with Hahn using what the White House will likely view as kamikaze language in a preemptive statement to Axios: "Let me be clear — our career scientists have to make the decision and they will take the time that’s needed to make the right call on this important decision."

Scoop: Schumer's regrets

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images   

Chuck Schumer told party donors during recent calls that the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the fact that Cal Cunningham "couldn't keep his zipper up" crushed Democrats' chances of regaining the Senate, sources with direct knowledge of the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Democrats are hoping for a 50-50 split by winning two upcoming special elections in Georgia. But their best chance for an outright Senate majority ended when Cunningham lost in North Carolina and Sen. Susan Collins won in Maine.

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.