While both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton railed against Wall Street ‘fat cats,’ they’ve both benefited from them during their political careers.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Wikileaks released information and partial transcripts of handsomely paid speeches that Hillary Clinton gave before Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs. It was through these Wikileaks releases that we found that Hillary Clinton talked about the importance of having public opinions and private opinions, and how she only held Wall Street accountable for political reasons. In other words, in public, she was critical of Wall Street. In private, it was a different story.
It seems that Barack Obama is learning the art of earning a living through paid speeches before Wall Street firms, the same firms he trashed during his campaigns for president, and his two presidential terms.
He’s scheduled to be the keynote speaker for Cantor Fitzgerald at their healthcare conference in New York in September this year. Fox Business revealed how much he’s agreed to accept to speak at the event:
Former President Barack Obama, less than 100 days out of office, has agreed to speak at a Wall Street conference run by Cantor Fitzgerald LP, senior people at the firm confirm to FOX Business. His speaking fee will be $400,000, which is nearly twice as much as Hillary Clinton, his secretary of state, and the 2016 Democratic Party candidate, charged private businesses for such events.
Obama has agreed to speak at Cantor’s health care conference in September and will be the keynote luncheon speaker for one day during the event, people at the firm tell FOX Business. These people say Obama has signed the contract, but the company, a mid-sized New York-based investment bank, is waiting to coordinate with the former president before making a formal announcement.
These people add that Obama could ultimately back out of the arrangement depending on his schedule and other concerns such as adverse publicity.
A couple of things. These fees sound exorbitant to most Americans. Most people in America don’t make $400,000 in five years, and Obama’s going to rake it all in in less than a day.
But consider the marketplace. They wouldn’t pay me a dime to speak at their conference, because I’m a nobody. But Obama? He was the President. And he’s still the darling of the Democratic Party. He’s a celebrity. He’s in high demand. And with high demand for public appearances and speeches comes a high price.
If his fee were $1,200, he’d be getting demands all over the world. But if he sets his fee at $400,000 or thereabouts, it reduces his demands greatly. Who are the people most likely to afford such a high fee? Why, the rich Wall Street ‘fat cats’ that Obama railed against over the course of his political career. As Fox Business noted:
During a 2009 interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” Obama famously said, “I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street,” and gave a series of speeches during his two terms in office demanding accountability from banks, which he characterized as the main culprits of the 2008 financial crisis.
Now, is it ironic that he’s agreed to take this much money from people he’s described as greedy one-percenters? Of course. It’s even hypocritical. He’s not being forced to speak. If he really believed his own inflammatory rhetoric, he could always turn down their offers.
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