Hillary Clinton said that speaking on Wall Street after leaving government office was a mistake. She said taking money from banks created the impression that she was in their pocket, Clinton wrote in her memoir.
Former President Barack Obama doesn’t seem to have that same concern…
In August, Obama spoke to clients of Northern Trust Corp. and garnered about $400,000 for his speech. Just last week, the former president hobnobbed with the Carlyle Group LP, one of the world’s largest private equity firms. And next week Obama will give a keynote speech at investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald LP’s health-care conference.
It’s less than a year after leaving Washington, and it seems that Obama is now taking up residence on Wall Street.
“He was the president of the entire United States — financial services are under that umbrella,” said former UBS Group AG executive Robert Wolf. Wolf is now on the Obama Foundation board. “He doesn’t look at Wall Street like, ‘Oh, these are individuals who don’t want the best for the country.’ He doesn’t stereotype.”
Obama’s past with Wall Street hasn’t always been good. Bankers are still enraged over his 2009 line about “fat cats” as if the wounds were fresh today. On the other hand, Obama’s White House did not prosecute one major banker for their part in the countries financial crisis, and he resisted an effort to break up the biggest banks.
The former president is busy and focused. His foundation is raising money for a library in Chicago. Both Obama and his wife signed a book deal with Penguin Random House that is over $60 million, according to the Financial Times.
“Not everyone’s going to be a Jimmy Carter, who does purely good works after he gets out,” said Sean Coffey, a Democratic donor who chairs the complex litigation group at the corporate law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP. Obama is used to being criticized, Coffey noted. “I don’t think getting any grief for doing this is going to bother him at all.”
One thing that helps the former President deal with is that in the past he took a very hard stance with Wall Street. Additionally, even if you don’t approve of his organizations the former President is known for building and funding non-profit groups. Lastly, the former President is a free man and if he wants to cash in that’s up to him.
Is Obama making money off speeches the same or different than Hillary?
Credit: Bloomington Politics