We're awaiting another one of Jon Stewart's W. impressions after the host gets a hold of this: Since leaving office, George Bush has raked in an estimated $15 million for bringing the dulcet tones of his voice to hedge fund events, corporate parties, and other private gatherings. It's a pretty impressive haul for a guy no one remembers for speaking prowess.
The Center for Public Integrity asked a spokesperson for the ex-decider, who confirmed that Bush was making $100-150k a night in mostly closed-to-the-press speaking gigs. In the week after the former president declined an invitation to join Obama at Ground Zero to avoid being in the "spotlight," the think tank notes Bush gave three private, paid speeches.
Since Bush reemerged in the public eye last fall, he's repeatedly insisted that he has no wish to play politics by expressing opinions about Obama or criticizing his policies. Even on his well-publicized book tour last fall, Bush would pour his heart out about Kanye West, tussle with Bill O'Reilly, and shamelessly market himself to Mark Zuckerberg. But he stayed remarkably mum about his successor and the rest of the Democratic administration.
As it appears, the ex-president was much more focused on "replenishing the ol' coffers" than by staying in the "spotlight" by playing politics. However, if Bush hopes to catch his ol' political rival Bill Clinton in the money grab he's still got a ways to go. Public Integrity's iWatch News noted that Clinton has hauled in $65 million in speaking fees from 2001 to 2009.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.