April 7th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
6 years ago

The selling of the ex-presidency

 Ex-presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have stayed in the public eye since leaving office.
Ex-presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have stayed in the public eye since leaving office.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Shortly before leaving the White House in 1829, John Quincy Adams reportedly said, "There is nothing more pathetic in life than a former president."

If he had had a crystal ball, Adams might have tweaked that statement to say there is nothing more lucrative in life than to be a former president.

Last Friday, we learned that the Clintons have made a whopping $109 million since 2001. Bill Clinton has brought in almost $52 million from speeches generally going for $250,000 a pop.

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Filed under: Politics
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Jennifer

    Lot of money in quick time...Good job Bill.

    April 7, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  2. DrFill

    Can't thow stones at Slick Willy.
    He's gotta get two things in life.
    One, he's gotta get paid.
    And two.............................
    DrFill

    April 7, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. Jay Graham, Dallas, TX

    Bill earned every penny of it. He paid 40 miliion on taxes and donated 10% ie nearly 10 million on charity. Whereas Obama paid only 1% to charity when he was contesting election. That shows that his are just the speeches, but no action!

    April 7, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  4. RealityKing

    Bill was selling Hillary's 2008 presidency. Now he has a lot of back tracking to do..., just watch those speech numbers drop faster than Hillary's poll numbers.

    April 7, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. Sean

    Actually, I think the original statement was correct...

    April 7, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. Jack Hicks, Fort Myers

    Let's not forget the life-long pension–that is willable to the spouse, and life-long secret service protection, and life-long free medical care.

    With such a great benefit package you would think we would be able to attract better candidates than we have to select from this year.

    Man do we need a third party!!

    April 7, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. KMAN

    I find it grossly obscene that anyone would pay Bill Clinton a quarter million dollars to give a speech. I'm sure he doesn't provide anything in these speeches that isn't already well-documented ... what kinds of fools spend their organization's money to hear him revise history? Surely, there are better uses for these funds!!

    April 7, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  8. Tex

    Bill, only the second US President to be impeached, disgraced himself, Hillary and Chelsea, the American people and the Office of the President of the US. I guess "he felt the poor people's pain for so long", he decided to take advantage of his former president status and make all the money he could.

    April 7, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. Nancy

    What a waste of money!!!!!

    April 7, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. April in Texas

    Well duh... These were at some point our leaders in America. They write books or speak and bam make millions because people are curious. We teach our children to learn about our history and what better way than to buy and read a book. The former presidents basically become famous and then write about it. Most average people would get laughed at if we were to write a book and then due to being unknown we couldnt get it published or if it were no one would buy it.. To think the American taxes just were not enough when they were in office for they show greed and want more...

    April 7, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. Doug, Florida

    I guess they need more, so Hillary is running for President.
    I wonder how much she will make after her 4yrs. I guess we will never know.

    OBAMA 08

    April 7, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. Jim

    Clintons are liars! They say one thing and do another! All lies! Nothing but lies. Wake up PA, NC and IN and give the boot to Billary once and for all! Please, for the sake of this great nation!!!

    April 7, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. MR

    It's 3 a.m. and your campaign is imploding.
    What do you do?
    * quick accuse Obama or his surrogates of some absurd, made up crime
    * BOYCOTT OLYMPICS
    * PRETEND TO FIRE YOU CHIEF STRATEGIST, BUT KEEP EVERYTHING ON HIS DESK, BECAUSE HE'LL RETURN LATER
    * ACCUSE OBAMA AGAIN, IN CASE EVERYONE FORGETS
    * CHALLENGE HIM TO A BOWL OFF
    * SEND BILL OUT TO THREATEN SUPER DELEGATES
    * ACCUSE MICHELLE OBAMA OF SOMETHING
    * LIE ABOUT AN EARLIER LIE YOU WERE BUSTED ON
    * PAY OFF THE MEDIA TO SUPPRESS THE STORY
    * CLAIM YOU HAVE WON ALL THE STATES THAT MATTER
    * CLAIM YOU WON THE ELECTORAL STATES
    * BLAME OBAMA'S ENTIRE FAMILY OF SOMETHING
    * LOOK FOR BILL, TO RESCUE YOU
    * START CRYING
    THAT WILL BE A BUSY 3 A.M. CALL, I AM EXHAUSTED JUST THINKING ABOUT IT

    April 7, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  14. Ifeanyi Azubike Houston Texas

    Hs hasn't stopped coming back, But who is he talking to and who is paying those millions.

    April 7, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. Jackson

    I think delivering speeches should be a public service for former presidents and political figures in general. They have plenty of benefits as is without having to pull in 5 college-educated-salaries' worth of money per spiel. These people generally only have bachelor's degrees anyway and they make more in a few minutes than we do in several years?

    April 7, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  16. NoBodybeleivesyouHillaryEvil

    Hillary is crazy, I thought Nancy Pelosi already asked Bush to boycott the olymics why is hillary saying it now. Let me think to divert the attention from her failing week with Mark Penn, pregrant lady story, Bosnia story, 109M income from Unkown source, her NAFTA support which she lied to the Ohio voters. I can not even catch up with her lies anymore, when is this evil woman stop lying.

    April 7, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  17. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I'd sat the economy has been pretty darn good to the Clintons and they didn't have to borrow from China.

    April 7, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  18. kathleen

    McCain a Warmonger? Yes, the whole bunch of them, Bush, Cheney
    McCain,Crook and Liar Rove, Rice, Rumsfeld. They believed in the war. Not one of them had the balls to stand up and say to the American people, This has to be stopped, NOW. I am referring to "then. It made Cheney millions of dollars. Is it legal to make personal millions when you are
    part of the government. The sins of the men who sold "some" of America on this war, will be written in the history books. The legacy
    of Bush, which he can't wait for because Bush thinks it is going to portray the Greatest Wonderful President in History, when, depending
    on who tells the story, could be just the opposite.
    All Cheney can say when asked about how to cut the budget, is
    get rid of the entitlements that "the people" pay into every week.
    Any Republican that can sit pretty with his legs crossed on stage
    is a complete egotistical money mongrel. War mongrel, Money
    Mongrel and Hillary did'nt speak up. It is truly called "old politics" and it would take balls to stand up and tell the American people the truth
    which Hillary still cannot do.

    Hillary is also finished!!!! She stood by an let the big boys run the show
    in front of her nose. Time to clean house. Many Republicans must
    go, please.

    OBAMA 2008

    April 7, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  19. jl

    since BUSH has indebted us to China, I am curious to see who the

    Clintons are willing to sell us off to- COLUMBIA maybe????

    No. of course not.

    But I bet the list of library donors and speaking fee payees would be quite telling of what they are willing to sell us off for and to.

    April 7, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. gary

    REALITYKING. YOU DONT HAVE MUCH REALITY IF YOU ARE A O.B. CLINTON HATER. HE HAS YOU ALL BELIEVING HE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.WHAT A JOKE.CLINTON ARE SMART AND KNOW HOW TO GET THINGS DONE. HRC WOULD BE A GREAT PRESIDENT AND OUR ONLY CHANCE FOR A DEM. IN OFFICE THIS YR.

    April 7, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  21. carol

    The other two are not rerunning the presidency. Talk of carter and bush being dragged into mud!

    April 7, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  22. Henry

    This country has been so corrupt and so tired to foreign goverments. I wonder who is out there for American people!

    April 7, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  23. The Austrian

    Where are the Washingtons? Who amongst our elected elite is able to, after completing his civic duties, go back to the private sphere and live his life as a normal citizen? WHERE IS CINCINNATUS!?!

    April 7, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  24. george

    I want to see Obama a president. Clinton came from nowhere and would love to see another person from nowhere. 'I have a dream' was not just words!

    April 7, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  25. fred

    You go boys....Sometimes the American Public is so stupid!!! What this country needs is more people with common sense!!

    Why shouldn't they make the money. I would much rather see ex-presidents making money talking about history, than see Britney or Paris make millions doing nothing!!!

    April 7, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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