Barack Obama is the latest hot commodity when it comes to speaking engagements, if the price for an hour of his time is any indication. The former president has followed in Hillary ‘s footsteps, which are the same footsteps that eventually led her off a political cliff. Obama is not only getting double the price of Hillary for a speech, but he is getting double the backlash for agreeing to speak for the Wall Street crowd he once called “fat cats.”
Hillary has also done the Wall Street circuit with her paid speeches, but the only thing Obama has done differently than the former Secretary of State is put a much higher value on his time than Hillary. The intense criticism Obama is facing today follows the news that the former president agreeing to a $400,000 speaking fee for a Cantor Fitzgerald LP hosted Wall Street conference, reports the New York Post.
With a $65 million shared book signing with Michelle Obama and $14 million realized from his first three books, this $400,000 speaking fee seems a bit extravagant money-wise. Did he forget his own words that he aimed at Wall Street seven years back? The people who he will be speaking to are a bunch of “fat cats,” according to the Obama who was at the helm of the nation in 2010.
It looks like the Post is calling out Obama on what he had to say about Wall Street back in 2010. Obama said, “We’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” Apparently, that goes for others and not Obama these days. The Post asks, “when will Obama have made enough money?”
Fox News reports that many people are calling out Obama on his harsh criticism of Wall Street in the past. This is a sudden turnaround and it can be a bit confusing for his supporters. After all, the president looked down at Wall Street bankers deeming them as a bunch of “fat cats.” It seems today he is ready to join the litter and gain some weight himself.
Kristin Tate, who is the author of Government Gone Wild, said on Fox & Friends live that after such harsh words for Wall Street, Obama’s speech would be the “height of hypocrisy.” While it is the norm for top politicians to rake in the cash once they’ve checked out of politics, it looks much worse for a Democrat than a Republican, suggests Tate.
Tate conveys that the Democrats are notorious for “railing against the greedy, rich bankers and rich business people.” This is what Obama did and now his words have come back to bite him and putting him in a hypocritical light today.
After Hillary left the State Department she amassed a small fortune for her paid speeches to various Wall Street firms, but her rate of pay was more around the $200,000 mark. It was during her ill-fated campaign that the scrutiny for her Wall Street speeches came out in full force.
Obama is slated as the keynote speaker at this Wall Street conference in September with the topic being healthcare. The contract is signed, but it sounds as if he has a back door to this agreement or some sort of clause to cancel if need be. According to Salon if Obama has conflicting engagements or if he finds scrutiny is just too overwhelming, there’s an option for backing out of the agreement.
Obama’s idea of overwhelming scrutiny is not known when weighed against giving up a $400,000 payday. For the average person on the street, the backlash coming from this deal is enough to put that person into seclusion for a while.
Obama’s speaking engagement with Wall Street will “undermine everything he believes in, ” according to Matthew Yglesias from the media site Vox. It is also giving people reason to question his sincerity when taking jabs at Wall Street bankers during his two terms in the White House. It is almost as if he was against these “fat cats” until he had the chance to become one of them himself.
It’s not known how Hillary feels about getting half the pay that Obama was offered for sliding in on the same circuit as she did when people paid to hear her speak. Obama actually did make it to the White House and he was able to keep his seat there for two terms, so this could be how those needing to justify the rate of pay over Hillary’s will look it when comparing the difference.
Still, Bill Clinton, who also made it into the White House as president and was able to hang on for two terms is only getting about $200,000 for his speeches, like his wife Hillary. Then there was George W. Bush who was reportedly paid $100,000 to $175,000 for speaking engagements after his time in office was up.
Hillary was Secretary of State and she ran one of the most ill-fated campaigns of modern times, so that has to be worth something when it comes to assigning a monetary amount on her words. Apparently, the Clintons come cheap in comparison to Barack Obama. One question you might find yourself asking is – What does Barack Obama possibly have to say that is worth paying $400,000 to hear?
[Featured Image Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]