Bill Clinton’s Million Dollar Speech

I find myself wondering whether Bill Clinton got paid for his speech the other night to the Democratic National Convention. He earns something like $75 million per year from speaking engagements, and charges, depending on what source you believe, between $500,000 and $1 million per speech.

I suspect that the speech he gave to the DNC was a freebie, by which I mean he didn’t receive cash on the barrel-head. I don’t doubt, however, that he will figure out a way to collect $500,000 to $1 million in political favors if the speech helps accomplish its goal – the re-election of President Barack Obama.

This was a particularly long speech, some 3,150 words long, so I am going to assume that it would be worth a full $1 million on the Clinton speech market. To some that might seem like way too much money to pay an aging reprobate whose remarks on almost any subject are predictable.

An organization that wanted to hear what Clinton might say could simply pick an old speech from the collection at the Clinton Library, and have the organization’s recording secretary read it aloud to the assembled membership. It might be a nice gesture to give the recording secretary an honorarium of $50 or an ample bouquet of flowers for doing so.

But instead, organizations will dig down deep to have Clinton himself appear at their podiums. It must have something to do with aura and charisma. Everyone to his own taste.

Can any speech by Clinton really be worth $1 million? I hesitate to ask the question, because I know there are lots of free-marketers who will read this, and they will  maintain – quite correctly – that the value of goods or services should be determined by the market and is worth what the market will bear.

After all, Elton John gets paid $1 million or more to perform at the weddings of perfect strangers. (I don’t know whether he offers a discount for gay weddings.) Rush Limbaugh’s latest wedding featured music performed by Sir Elton.

Suppose the roles were reversed. Suppose Bill Clinton played music at weddings, while Elton John gave speeches at universities or before meetings of foreign-policy scholars, or whatever.  I am not sure Sir Elton would find any takers if he insisted on charging $1 million per speech, but it is just possible that Clinton could charge that much to play music.

Perhaps you have forgotten the fact, but Clinton plays the saxophone. Charlie Parker he’s not, but he is better than your average man on the street, especially those who have never taken sax lessons. Before he became president, he might have been able to induce passersby to toss coins into his open saxophone case by playing on street corners.

After he became president, his value as a sax player automatically went up. If Bill Clinton played sax at your wedding, especially his juiced-up  version of “Heartbreak Hotel,” wouldn’t you pay him handsomely? If he said a few words as well, such as “Thank you very much,” mightn’t you be induced to write him a check for a million dollars?

Remember that wonderful Billy Wilder movie, one of the greatest movies ever, “Some Like it Hot”? At one point the Marilyn Monroe character rhapsodizes about saxophone players. She says she finds them sexually irresistible, but laments that they also tend to be cheating scoundrels. How could she have known that back then, when Clinton was still in his early teens?

Returning to that speech he gave before the DNC: At 3,150 words, and assuming an overall value of $1 million, the speech was  worth about $317 per word. It doesn’t matter what the words were, or whether they were true of false, they were worth $317 apiece.

When he told this lie: “I want to nominate a man cool on the outside, but burning for America on the inside,” that alone was worth more than $5,000. Later, when he added this whopper: “One of the main reasons America should re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to cooperation,” that was worth close to $6,000.

Maybe the Republicans should hire Clinton to speak on their behalf as well. During his DNC speech he mentioned Mitt Romney six times and Paul Ryan three times. If he were to get up on the podium at a Republican rally and point what Limbaugh calls “his bony finger” at the crowd and chant: “Romney, Romney, Romney, Romney, Romney, Romney, Ryan, Ryan, Ryan!” and then go back to his seat, that would cost the Republican National Committee less than $3,000 at $317 per word. That seems like a bargain.

But, you may ask, would Clinton actually proclaim his support for the Romney-Ryan presidential ticket at a Republican rally, or would he refuse to participate on principle?

Not to worry, skeptics. This is Bill Clinton we’re talking about. “Principle” is one $317 word that he never uses.

Author Bio:

Arthur Louis spent more than forty years as a print journalist, with the Philadelphia Inquirer, McGraw-Hill, Fortune magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle, but he is not asking for sympathy. He is the author of two non-fiction books: The Tycoons, and Journalism and Other Atrocities, as well as a novel, The Little Champ. In retirement, he has decided unilaterally that he is a profound political pundit.
Author website:
  • cachio

    What kind of political brainwashing has the Grand Ole Party done to get people thinking this way? One large mass of uneducated cynics, name-callers, finger pointers, and fear mongerers. What’s the point of listening to political debates if you’re already armed to disagree or accuse every “$317 word” as being a lie?

    The sheer ignorance in this country astounds – actually, frightens – me. I’ve never felt less proud of being an American.

  • Red

    If they paid Bill Clinton some ridiculous amount that explains why the DNC was broke before it even started.  Obama mismanages his campaign finances the same way he runs the country.

  • Berryraymond

    Progressives rate speeches one way.  Style only.  There is often nothing mentioned about content.  It doesn’t matter if the content is true.  These people are the people who control the arts.  Their brain isn’t wired like most.  They look for compasion, and concern for others.  It doesn’t matter how one gets there or even if it is the wrong path to compassion.  As we all know the progressive government way is to enslave the poor.  They see it as compassion.

  • Drew Page

    I wouldn’t pay two-bits to hear what Clinton had to say.  First of all it will be on TV for all who are interested to hear, at no charge.    For all those so inclined, I suggest you liqidate all of your assets and donate all the proceeds to your favorite Democrat, but I’m not going to donating a dime.  

    • syntheticzero

      A closed mind is a sad thing to witness. You’re afraid to watch Clinton’s speech (which is available for free here: ) because it might affect your preconceived notions.

      • JRawl

        I’m sure you watch it over and over…drooling and swooning, Monica.

      • Elaine Coyle

        I actually enjoy hearing Clinto speak. I don’t expect much of it to be true but I find him entertaining. On the other hand, I can’t stomach hearing Obama speak. He is such a liar & phoney that he disgusts me.
        BTW, within two minutes he enforces my preconceived notions.

      • Ahamey

        My open mind IS a terrible thing to waste.  Need I remind you that Clinton is not running for election even though he would love to & mentioned it in his speech.

  • jujubeebee

    Obama is not Clinton.  Whether or not Clinton gives a good speech or an argument to stick with Obama in our hearts we know that he doesn’t agree with Obama on alot of what Obama has done.   Would we be an additional 5 trillion in debt if Bill Clinton were the president?  Bill’s off the cuff comment to Paul Ryan said more to me than any political speech.   The debt is a huge black cloud hanging over this country.   Asking anyone to trust Obama with another 4 years, no matter how well they speak, is a bit much!

    • syntheticzero

      Have you ever actually looked at where the deficit comes from? It came from Republican presidents. Obama and Clinton both slowed the growth of the deficit — Republicans added to it hugely. Most of the current structural deficit is due to Bush’s tax cuts, increases in Medicare spending, and wars.

      • JRawl

        Now, now, Monica.  $5 trillion added in just 3 yrs. is not chump change, you know!

        • syntheticzero

          Monica? That’s the best you can do? Oh, you do cut me to the chase.

          Wrong. The $5 trillion is due almost entirely to policies enacted under Bush: the tax cuts, the wars, the Medicare expansi0n, as I noted before. Had we kept to Democratic policies we would be fine, fiscally.
          The problem with you Republicans is you harp about the deficit yet you don’t seem to know how to do arithmetic.

          • Elaine Coyle

            I have news for you, tax cuts can not contribute to the deficit. They are a nonexistant entity.

          • JRawl

            The $5 trillion was added under his watch, doofus.  If you want to blame former presidents, let’s go back to FDR, or maybe George Washington….

  • syntheticzero

    Wow, a truly bizarre set of comments and the column itself is totally dissociated from reality. The Clinton speech was tremendously powerful, completely original, and factual:“Former President Bill Clinton’s stem-winding nomination speech was a fact-checker’s nightmare: lots of effort required to run down his many statistics and factual claims, producing little for us to write about.

    Republicans will find plenty of Clinton’s scorching opinions objectionable. But with few exceptions, we found his stats checked out.”This was a moving, fact-filled speech, perfectly tailored to the moment, yet also accurate and a devastating critique of the Republican lies and misrepresentations of the prior convention. The writers of both this weird column and the commenters ought to actually watch the speech before commenting.

    • Drew Page

      My favorite Clinton speech was the one he delivered when he looked directly into the camera, pointed his finger at his TV audience and said, “Listen, I’m going to say this one more time, I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.”  How tremendously powerful, completely original and factual (?), a moving speech and perfectly tailored to the moment, it was a devastating critique of  Republican lies and misrepresentations  —  but then again, there was that blue dress.    

      • syntheticzero

        Your post is an illogical non-sequitur (but again, I suppose that makes sense, given the rather illogical nature of Republican rhetoric in general). Obfuscate, misdirect, lie, and so forth.

        • JRawl

          You tell ’em, Monica!

    • JRawl

      I’ll bet your real name is Monica.

    • Elaine Coyle & all the other factcheckers are nothing more than validation for liberals.

    • Red

      What kind of tobacco did you not inhale prior to listening to Clinton’s speech?

  • Son

    it’s sad that we live in a society where ignorance breeds ignorance.  if only human beings recognized that they are a part of one another – everyone, and I mean everyone would be a Democrat. 

    • Drew Page

      So let’s all empty our pockets, hold hands and sing Kumbaya.

    • Annien

       Right, because you are all such wonderful people!  I was born a democrat and I will die a Republican.  I want nothing to do with people who are so vile and disgusting in their speech and their actions.

  • Bethany Carol

    I’m still puzzled as to why Bill Clinton is the “golden boy” of the Democratic party???
    Seems like he should be embarrassed to show his face in public after the Lewinsky scandal and other questionable behavior of his White House years and after his impeachment by the House of Representatives in 1998 for perjury and obstruction of justice??   Seems to me that you can tell a lot about a party from the spokesperson they prefer……  Sad, really…..

    • Drew Page

      As I recall, there was a lot of spin put out by the WH during the impeachment procedings that Clinton’really didn’t commit perjury, he only lied under oath, but he had a darned good reason; he didn’t want the wife to find out.  You see, if you have a darned good reason to lie under oath, then Congress doesn’t figure that’s really perjury.    So, was Clinton really a bad prez?  I guess it all depends on what the definition of “was” was.  

    • kingwoodguy

      Embarrassed to show his face in public? No that’s GWBush. Clinton has given more speeches in the U.S. than any other ex-pres, and that is only 1/3 of his total speeches. In 2008 he still gave more speeches than anyone else had, while taking off 9 months to campaign for Hillary and recover from heart surgery.

  • Roadmaster

    A guy I work with is always wishing for a return to the Clinton years.  The day after the speech he changed his tune – he had forgotten what a lying POS Mr. Bill is.

    I remember because I was still in the Guard up to ’98.  Clinton balanced the budget by cutting defense and we suffered almost as great under him as we did under Carter.

    Nothing personal – I bet ole Bubba would be a gas to have a beer with.  Think of all the Hilary jokes?

  • Ted Wight

    Democrats pay thousands and millions to rub shoulders and what not with the Sexy Prexy in part to prove they are rich enought to do so, to massage their own egos and, as far fetched as this sounds, to get something in return.  Solyndra anyone?

  • Ron

    OK, President Clinton has charisma, he looks great, eats a healthy diet, he’s very articulate and he’s predictable.  Would you pay a million bucks for that?  Not I.  He loves the spotlight as his speech showed … 83% about Clinton the rest, oh yeah for the Obama man.  Did he tell the truth?  Of course not, when has a politician?  But he was “paid” to get the vote out in any way possible … open the graves … bus in the illegals … give giofts to the minorities to get on the Vote Now Bus … do anything just vote and if you already voted twice or three times, just scram ” Racism” or “Discrimination” and they will calm you down and allow you to vote a 5th time which is a guarantee in Chicago and California.  “I really hope we soon hear the words:  President Romney. He’s no magic man and does not wear magic underwear and T-shirts, but he can’t possibly be worse than the man who sat in the WH these past 3.5 years.  I will vote … my vote will count … and I can only hope and pray that people wake up, see that Obama has done nothing while POTUS and it’s about time we have someone in that great office who will roll up his sleeves and go to work and that man is Mitt Romney.   R

  • Joerosado22

     I wonder … will this serial liar and abuser of women ever go away …  This guy sexually assaults women, rapes women, and takes advantage of a 19 year old intern … in the White House … and it’s the Republicans who are carrying on the so called,  “War on Women”. Wow.

    • Drew Page

      To Democrats, the War on Women equates to not providing them with free birth control and free abortions.   The War on Women does not include the tacit approval of Sharia law, where women who marry or even date outside the Muslim faith can be killed to satisfy the “honor” of the family; where men can enter arranged marriages with female children under the age of 10; and where women who are raped must come up with four male witnessess to prove it and if they can’t, they can be stoned to death for being ‘unfaithful’ to their husbands.    Yeah, the Dems know “war” when they see it.

  • Bisi

    I can tell I’m on a Conservative Site but I do like Mr. Goldberg. Yea, I’m a Democrat and I absolutely admire President Clinton. The Prez is the BEST! Shame the Constitution restricts him to just two (2) terms. I’m a Small Businessman and I would give a limb to return to the booming days of his two terms.

    • Artlouis

       Well, don’t forget that he had a lot of crucial help from a GOP Congress. Also, I am not so sure that he would or could do what the economy needs. If you had him back in office, you might find that you had a lying, crooked character in the White House and a lousy economy.  What a deal!

      • Bisi

        Artlouis, I’ll take a Prez who lies about the possibility of “Sexual Relations with that Woman” as opposed to one who misleads the Nation on “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. Miss ya President Clinton. BTW, was the Cost of that War considered before we ventured into it?

        • Artlouis

           I am glad you gave me this opening, because I contend that it is logically impossible for Bush to have lied about WMDs. He couldn’t have lied unless he knew there were no WMDs, and he couldn’t have known until we went in there.

          If he were a liar, he could have made up a story about actually finding WMDs and destroying them, and who could prove him wrong? Instead he promptly acknowledged that we found none.

          Maybe the proper move at that point would have been to withdraw, but by hanging in there we did get rid of one of the most dangerous rulers in the Middle East.

          • Bisi

            Artlouis, I never accused President Bush of being a “liar”. In any event, you sound like a reasonable person. This you and I can agree on: The United States is the greatest Nation in the World. I would like to see less Partisan Bickering in Washington and alot more of putting Country first. I’m punching out to take my Stafforshire Bull Terrier to the park. Take care! USA!

          • Ahalbert

             Art Louis – you plainly said Bush misled the nation on WMD. I guess Clinton would say “it depends on the meaning of misled”.

          • Artlouis

             Ahalbert, I think your quarrel is with Bisi, not me. The comment strings do become confusing as they grow longer.

    • joer1

       Bill Clinton was dragged kicking and screaming to the promise land by the Republican congress.  Since he really doesn’t believe in anything and  was so determined to stay in the WH … he went along.   To his credit!

    • Jamesl8565

      Bison … The guy is a liar, he’s a fraud and refuses to be truthful. He was disbarred for committing perjury … Lying under oath. Nothing he can say or do will ever change that. He’ll go to his grave being a liar and his shameful claim to fame will always remain the same …he’s a liar. I’m hoping that’s clear.

      • Bruce A.

        If I remember correctly, Pres. Clinton is a felon & lost his law license over Monica. 

        • Drew Page

          Yeah, but he has a nice smile, doesn’t he?    And the way he bites his lower lip when he makes a speech, what charm.

        • kingwoodguy

          Idiot, he was indicted (impeachment by the House), not convicted of anything. His law license was suspended for five years, not revoked.

  • venter

    Bill Clinton did a great job lieing.  oops I mean speaking and  praising Obama.  I can’t believe Clinton would allow Obama to  be his pimp.   Doesn’t Clinton remember what was said by Obama  about Hillary and himself.  Hillary was smart to be out of the country.Maybe she is getting smart or maybe Obama want her out of the country giving our money away.    Bill  is great actor and not a man who loves America but loves American money stuffed stuffed iin his pockets.  And the academy award goes to Clint .  Alot said in a short time.

    • Artlouis

       I’m glad Clint took the time to talk with the local paper in Carmel. By then he had collected his thoughts, and what he said made sense. I do think he made a mistake in not preparing his remarks enough beforehand. Made himself a target, which blunted his message.

  • kcinco

    Clinton’s was one speech I listened to during the DNC.  As I
    listened, I was continually reminded of his nickname from the past “Slick
    Willy.”  I still felt “slimed” as I listened to him in 2012.  My
    friend and I were talking about the question of whether or not he got paid for
    this way-too-long, rambling- down-rabbit-holes speech. We both think if he
    didn’t get paid, there is something for Clinton on the other side of the
    election, if obama is re-elected.  I find it hard to believe that the
    animosity exhibited in 2008 is completely forgiven.  Back-scratching
    is still  acceptable in politics and the lure of opportunity is too strong to resist for some.  We
    may never know what the arrangement was for Clinton speaking at the 2012 DNC,
    but then again, we may find out in 2012 (I pray the latter is not the case).  

  • POC247

    There must be a secret handbook. Lying is a required art of politics. The better you are at a lie, the quicker you rise to the top and the more money you can make. I marvel at how a community organizer has acquired over 11 million in personal wealth so far.  We know how Romney made his money. We also know why Romney has so much trouble in the polls….he’s not an artful liar. His speeches aren’t rife with it like Bill Clinton’s and Obama’s. Romney doesn’t need to artfully lie so he can accumulate wealth at the expense of the masses like the others do. The President has a wide range of liars on his re-election team who don’t even  have to give speeches and  yet, are making millions….Rahm Emanuel, Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod. I’m curious to know how these people “identify” with the jobless, hungry, poor and downtrodden. Now,  there is always an exception to the rule and that would be Ms. Wasserman Shultz. She chairs the DNC. She hasn’t quite mastered the art of lying effectively yet. By all accounts, her wealth is in the negative so someone needs to give her that secret handbook.

    • Artlouis

       Poor, dimwitted Debbie. Axelrod gives her a list of talking points, and she gets as many media appearances as she can and just repeats them. When someone challenges her, she is not equal to the challenge, so she just keeps repeating the talking points. You might as well try interviewing a Chatty Kathy doll.

  • Brhurdle

    Although I am not a Clinton fan, it cannot be denied that there were realatively good economic times during the second term of his Presidency although it is debatable whether that would have occured without a Republican dominated Congress. Since that time, Mr. Clinton’s record seems to be unremarkable consisting of pre-game and post-game proclamations of no consequence. I don’t wish to deny the Democrats their subject of adoration, but how can they completely ignore his personal faults. Seems to me that the personal faults of Newt Gingrich are less offensive but he remains a pariah for the Republicans. I have concluded that the fourth estate rules on such matters and they have a decided bias for clemency.

    • Artlouis

       Part of it is that the general standard of morals has declined over the years. People look at what Clinton did, and they say to themselves hell, I’ve done that sort of thing, or I would if I had the chance. By forgiving him, they give themselves a pass as well.

  • floridahank

    I strongly see Romney/Ryan winning in Nov.  There seems to be a defiinite trend
    going against Obama with R/R getting upward momentum.

    I wonder what Hillary will do for 4 yrs while priming for 2016?  I don’t know what kind
    of position  she’ll get after Obama is gone.  I’m certain that Soros and various Dem’s will
    try to maintain a strong public persona for the coming years. Also, I’m wondering which other Dem’s will contest Hillary for Pres. candidate. 

    Politics is a fun/deceitful/challenging serious game and you never know what’s happening behind closed doors.  So after this election is over and R&R take over, we’ll quickly see
    new positioning by the Dem’s.  Will be very interesting.+

  • Davidfieldstone

    Americans are stupid.

  • Laurazzcap

    Nah.  Hillary would rather not run against an incumbent which would be Romney in 2016 if he’s elected.  She will have been out of BO’s administration for 4 years so he won’t taint her.  Plus, BO’s awful plans for the suburbs is going to make it easier for her to win in 2016.  We have to vote out Obama now or it’s all over.

    • Artlouis

       I suspect that if O. wins a second term, the nation will be in such a mess that no Dem, not even Hillary, will win in 2016. It is pretty rare for one party to win three elections in a row in any case.

  • bbf

    What I remember when I see Bill Clinton

    Bill Clinton–“I did not have sexual relations with that woman” – YouTube

    I remember how Bill Clinton lied!!!!!

    • Artlouis

      Exactly. I have heard one Democrat say that yes, Clinton is a dirtbag, but he takes the right positions on political issues. That seems to be all that counts with these people. 

      • Reactoroperator

        Shouldn’t it be what matters? JFK was a womanizing piece of shit, but a damned good president. Clinton screwed around with a woman, but was great at working across the aisle for the betterment of the country.

        • Artlouis

          JFK wasn’t that great a president, but let’s not debate it. It would take forever.  Also, when people discuss the womanizing, they brush aside the fact that he and Jackie had an open marriage. She cheated too, if you can call it that.

          The point I am making is that Clinton was a criminal, or something pretty close, and the people deserve better in a President. You should  be able to find someone with the right positions who is not a criminal. If not a person, then perhaps you can train a golden retriever to bark yes or no at the  appropriate times.

      • Ahalbert

        Taking the right positions is all that matters to Democrats. Constitutional principles and morals are passe. Democrats now live according to a new age vision under which they automatically deserve whatever they want.

      • Bethany Carol

         Possibly being a dirtbag is one of the qualifications of being a Democratic candidate???      Hmmmm     …  Makes you think….

        • Artlouis

           I think you’ve got something there.