Politics

Obama Dubbed 'A Fat Cat' Over Wall Street Speech

| by Denise Recalde

Former President Barack Obama has been criticized for reportedly accepting a $400,000 offer by a Wall Street bank to deliver a speech at a health care conference the institution is hosting in September.

News of the speech came less than 100 days after Obama left the White House, the BBC reports. 

In 2009, he told CBS's "60 Minutes" interviewer: "I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street." 

Obama reportedly agreed to being the feature speaker at the event hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald LP, an investment bank that saw more than two-thirds of its staff killed in the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11.

The bank and the former president are reportedly still working on details and have not made a formal announcement.

The fee is nearly double the amount -- $225,000 -- that former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton got paid for delivering three speeches to Goldman Sachs in 2015. 

Political activists -- both liberal and conservative -- heavily criticized Clinton for taking money from the Wall Street bank during the 2016 presidential campaign. Many demanded she release transcripts of her speeches. 

Obama, in turn, levied a few criticisms at bank executives during his two-term tenure as president.

He lambasted the large bonuses doled out to financial executives, and said Wall Street was partly to blame for the 2008 financial crisis. 

A number of liberals have come out against Obama's decision to speak at the Wall Street event, one Vox writer saying: "it will undermine everything he believes in."

The New York Post dubbed him "Wall Street's newest fat cat," as a result. 

Since he left office, Obama has vacationed in several spots around the world and spent time in French Polynesia writing his memoirs. 

Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama sealed a $65 million deal to write separate memoirs for Penguin Random House earlier in 2017.

Photographs of the former president enjoying kite-surfing with Virgin founder Richard Branson off the billionaire's private Caribbean island emerged in February. 

In April, the Obamas were photographed aboard music billionaire David Geffen's luxury yacht in French Polynesia. Also on the yacht were stars including musician Bruce Springsteen and actor Tom Hanks. 

The former president also enjoyed a Broadway play in New York City before having dinner with U2 frontman Bono, it was reported. 

On April 24, he directed his first public statement about community organizing to students at the University of Chicago, where his presidential library will be built. 

​Sources: BBC, CBS News via YouTubeNew York Post / Photo credit: Chuck Kennedy/White House

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