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Inside the Beltway: Peeking into the presidential wallet

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Persistent researchers at Wall Street 24/7 girded their loins and tallied up the assets of all American presidents past and present to assemble a list of the Top 10 wealthiest occupants of the Oval Office — based on land holdings; inheritance; income before, during and after; plus adjustments for money values then and now, among many factors. Some presidents went broke, some never had any money, some made lots of it.

Analyst Ashley Allen points out for example, that former President Bill Clinton has made more than $100 million on the speaking circuit in recent years, with more from books deals. Mr. Clinton is, in fact, the only currently living president who is counted among the "wealthiest of all time."

Unrelated but still pertinent: Hillary Rodham Clinton received a $14 million advance on her new memoirs, which are due out on June 1 — but the book still has no formal title. Perhaps reflective of the undetermined status of her potential presidential campaign. But let us move along. Who are the richest presidents? Here they are, along with their estimated personal wealth.

In first place, it's none other than George Washington, whose net worth was $525 million; his salary, the researchers found, was 2 percent of the total U.S. budget for 1789.

In second place: Thomas Jefferson ($212 million), followed by Theodore Roosevelt ($125 million), Andrew Jackson ($119 million) and James Madison ($101 million).

In sixth place: Lyndon B. Johnson ($98 million) followed by Herbert Hoover ($75 million), Franklin D. Roosevelt ($60 million), Bill Clinton ($55 million) and John F. Kennedy ($1 billion). The analysts point out that the figure reflects Kennedy wealth that was shared in a trust with other family members, and that the president "never inherited his father's fortune," thus placing him at the bottom of the list.

And President Obama? Wall Street 24/7 estimated his current worth to be $7.5 million.

ISSA IN THE GRANITE STATE

Alarms go off when certain politicians show up in certain states. The alarm du jour belongs to one Rep. Darrell Issa; the California Republican has journeyed from the balmy Golden State to arctic New Hampshire for myriad reasons.

He penned a guest op-ed titled "Here's the difference between Republicans and Democrats" for the Concord Monitor on Sunday. "Every president jealously guards and gathers power," Mr. Issa wrote. "Executive power may be the most efficient when it is dictatorial, but our nation was founded on the principle of avoiding dictatorial power — today's reality is that countless unnamed and unknown bureaucrats yield tremendous power over people's lives."

But wait. The lawmaker is also the keynote speaker for the Concord Republican City and Merrimack County committees' annual Lincoln Day Dinner on Monday evening in the state's capital. The group's emphasis?

"From Operation Fast & Furious to the IRS targeting scandal to the disastrous implementation of the president's health care plan, Congressman Issa has been standing with the American people to protect their right to know what this government is doing," says Kerry Marsh, chairman of the Concord GOP.

Mr. Issa's not done yet, though. On Tuesday, he is the main course for "Politics and Eggs," a longstanding, monthly breakfast forum for political and business leaders organized by Saint Anselm's College and closely monitored by the press. The locals refer to the event as "an established stop" for those toying with a White House run; Mr. Issa's speech topic: "Connecting to our future." Donald Trump appeared at the event last month.

Meanwhile, "New Hampshire will be the center of the political universe — again — at least on the Republican side," predicts the Union Leader newspaper's political analyst John DiStaso. "At least eight potential presidential candidates will be attending two huge events the Republican Party's Northeast Leadership Conference on March 14 and the 'Freedom Summit' put on by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation and Citizens United on April 12."

GOVERNOR CRISPY

"350 pounds of toast."

— HBO host Bill Maher's new description of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, revealed to his audience on Friday.

PHENOMENON TO WATCH

"The Rise of the Global Tea Party Movement."

That's the title for a three-hour Breitbart News program that aired on Sirius XM radio on Sunday evening hosted by Breitbart chairman and columnist Stephen K. Bannon, CEO Larry Solov, and editor-in-chief Alex Marlow.

And what they suggest: The local grass-roots movement is emerging in cosmopolitan areas like London and "threatens to topple the old political and media order."

APPLAUSE FOR GEORGE

Yes it's Presidents Day. But the birthday of one president in particular — George Washington — will get special ballyhoo Monday at Mount Vernon, his ancestral estate. On the hallowed but snowy grounds: a 21-gun salute, a solemn presidential wreath-laying, a snow sculpture of the Washington Monument, the presence of "General and Lady Washington" historic reenactors, a performance by the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry's Old Guard Fife & Drum Corps, remarks by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and dramatic remembrances about Washington on his 282nd birthday.

Washington, incidentally, was born at his father's plantation on Pope's Creek in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on Feb. 22, 1732.

THE REALLY BIG MONEY

"Republican fat cats" is a term that fuels the popular narrative in the mainstream news media, implying that the Grand Old Party is controlled by mysterious guys with deep pockets and nice suits. The real numbers from the Federal Election Commission, however, would dispute that, at least according to some extensive and meticulous research.

Republican donors don't appear until No. 17 on the list of top political donors in the last 25 years, according to a new "Heavy Hitters" count from OpenSecrets.org. an online watchdog project by the Center for Responsive Politics.

In first place, it's the political action committee ActBlue, which donated more than $97 million to Democratic candidates in the time period. And dispelling the GOP fat cat mythology: 13 of the top 20 donors donated to Democratic candidates, two were devoted to Republicans and five were simply "middle of the fence" who donated to both parties.

POLL DU JOUR

67 percent of Americans say people who think President Obama was born outside the U. S. really just "don't like the president."

33 percent of Republicans and 74 percent of Democrats agree.

25 percent overall say those people "really believe that"; 49 percent of Republicans and 18 percent of Democrats agree.

62 percent of Americans overall say this statement is true: Mr. Obama "was born in the U.S."; 34 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of Democrats agree.

38 percent overall say the statement is false.; 66 percent of Republicans and 16 percent of Democrats agree.

30 percent overall say Mr. Obama should locate his future presidential library in Illinois.

24 percent say the library should be located in Hawaii; 21 percent are not sure.

6 percent say the library should be in Kenya, 5 percent say in New York.

Source: A YouGov/Economist survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 8-10.

Proclamations, snappy quotes, snippy complaints to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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