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Personal Wealth

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Obama: An Author’s Wages
Compared to the average American, Obama is very wealthy. Compared to the other presidential candidates in 2008, though, he was practically an indigent. His senator's salary was $165,200 (he'd earned just $60,000 as a state senator). His wife, Michelle, was the one bringing home the bacon before she resigned in May 2007, she earned $317,000 a year as the vice-president for community affairs at the University of Chicago hospitals. Obama’s wealth derives from his books, Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope. For Dreams, which didn’t become hugely popular until Obama did, he collected a $370,000 advance; in 2006, he pulled down $147,490 in royalties. In 2005 Obama signed a three-book deal with Random House, taking a $1.9 million advance. The first book was Audacity, the second was the children’s book Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters, and he still owes another nonfiction title. During the campaign, Obama had a relatively hobolike net worth of $1.3 million.

As president, Obama's salary increased to $374,460 in 2009 and $395,188 in 2010, while his book royalties netted him just over $5 million the first year and a little under $1.4 million the second. Since taking office, the Obamas have also given pretty generously to charity: $329,100 in 2009 and $245,075 in 2010. And that's not counting Obama's $1.4 million Nobel Peace Prize, which he divvied up between ten organizations, including the Clinton Foundation. Going into campaign season 2012, Obama's net worth is now estimated at $7.3 million.

Romney: Daddy Warbucks
Mitt Romney is by a long shot one of the wealthiest self-made men to ever run for president John Kerry and John McCain's wealth were largely derived from their wives. Most estimates place his fortune anywhere between $190 million and $250 million, though former Massachusetts State Democrat Party chairman Phil Johnston told MSNBC it was likely closer to $500 million, and Romney’s close friend Hugh Hewitt guessed it could be as much as $1 billion. Don't forget that, as a Mormon, Romney would've paid a 10 percent tithe to the Church of Latter-Day Saints — so all that dough is after taxes and tithing.


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