Bill Clinton's New Talking Points

July 7, 2008 - 7:27 PM

(CNSNews.com) - The selling of Bill Clinton is now in full swing, including speaking engagements, the hawking of his memoirs, and even TV commercials.

Less than two weeks after leaving the Oval Office, "citizen" Bill Clinton will embark on a speaking tour starting Monday where he will address bankers at a convention in Florida. He will be paid, according to reports about $100,000. He will also speak at a synagogue on Thursday in Florida for an undisclosed sum, and was signed to be the keynote speaker for the Variety Media and Entertainment Conference in Manhattan on Feb. 27.

Although it is not uncommon for former presidents to make speeches after they leave office, the money has become a sensitive issue for "Citizen" Clinton. Along with the big bucks he will receive for speaking engagements, Clinton and his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, have purchased a pricey Washington, D.C. He is also expected to set up shop at offices in the glitzy Carnegie Towers in Manhattan at taxpayer expense.

In comparison, former President George Bush received about $100,000 in his first speaking engagement. Former President Reagan created a stir the year after he left office when he received $2 million from a Japanese company for delivering two speeches. However, both currently maintain offices, which combined, cost taxpayers $430,000 a year or $220,000 less than what the proposed Clinton New York office would cost.

Clinton spokesman Jake Siewert says, "No final decision has been made" on the proposed lease of the 56th floor suite at Carnegie Towers, which includes a spectacular view of Central Park and comes with a price tag of about $650,000 a year. These pricey digs have caught the eye of concerned taxpayer watchdog groups along with the Congressional Accountability Office, which may launch an investigation into Clinton's taxpayer expense plans.

Late Friday, Clinton said his presidential library foundation will actually pick up $300,000 of the rental tab to bring the cost in line with what past presidents have charged taxpayers.

The fees for his memoirs may make the speaking tours seem like pocket money. Recently his wife, Senator Hillary Clinton received $8 million for the rights to her not-yet-written White House memoirs.

According to sources, Clinton was offered a commercial deal, which he turned down, and has also turned down offers to be on several late night talk shows. Siewert says any further decisions about what the former president will do, including speaking engagements, books, appearances, and life after the White House have not been finalized.

In New York City, where there are more registered Democrats than Republicans, public opinion is mixed. While some are welcoming Clinton with open arms, many are worried about the expected traffic headaches that will be produced by Clinton's security detail, including "frozen zones," when he travels in what is already the most congested traffic area in Manhattan.

Siewert also says Clinton may make the rounds at some of the public golf courses in Westchester County. According to the ex-president, "I want to support the blue collar golfer. Some of the courses look pretty good."