There was some snickering two days ago when it emerged that as his first paid speech appearance, former president Barack Obama who - at least on paper was a determined crusader against the big banks - will receive $400,000 for roughly an hour of his time from, well, a bank or rather Cantor Fitzgerald.
Moments ago, Obama seemingly concerned by the public response the news has generated, decided to respond via his spokesman Eric Schultz, and explain why it is perfectly ok for the former president to collect a $400,000 from a bank. We won't comment suffice to note that in trying to explain why it is now ok for him to collect nearly half a million dollars from the hate banks, it is probably not a good idea to say the following: "I'd just point out that in 2008, Barack Obama raised more money from Wall Street than any candidate in history."
Full statement from Obama spokesman Greg Sargent
As we announced months ago, President Obama will deliver speeches from time to time. Some of those speeches will be paid, some will be unpaid, and regardless of venue or sponsor, President Obama will be true to his values, his vision, and his record.
He recently accepted an invitation to speak at a health care conference in September, because, as a President who successfully passed health insurance reform, it's an issue of great importance to him. With regard to this or any speech great importance to him. With regard to this or any speech involving Wall Street sponsors, I'd just point out that in 2008, Barack Obama raised more money from Wall Street than any candidate in history - and still went on to successfully pass and implement the toughest reforms on Wall Street since FDR.
And while he'll continue to give speeches from time to time, he'll spend most of his time writing his book and, as he said in Chicago this week, focusing his post-presidency work on training and elevating a new generation of political leaders in America.
Source: Greg Sargent