- The Washington Times - Monday, September 18, 2017

Former President Obama’s presence among Wall Street executives once derided as “fat cats” now nets him roughly $400,000 on the industry’s speaking circuit.

A source close to a Northern Trust Corp. speech last month told Bloomberg News on Monday that Mr. Obama was compensated close to $400,000 for his services. Additional sources said that he recently addressed members of the Carlyle Group LP and will receive a similar six-figure paycheck as the keynote speaker at a health-care conference for investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald LP.

“He was the president of the entire United States — financial services are under that umbrella,” ex-UBS Group AG executive Robert Wolf (and Obama Foundation board member) told Bloomberg. “He doesn’t look at Wall Street like, ‘Oh, these are individuals who don’t want the best for the country.’ He doesn’t stereotype.”

Mr. Obama’s comments about Wall Street in 2009, however, painted executives in a different light.

“I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street,” Mr. Obama told CBS’ “60 Minutes” in December 2009.

The former president was talking about requirements for banks to benefit from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

“What’s really frustrating me right now is that you’ve got these same banks who benefited from taxpayer assistance who are fighting tooth and nail with their lobbyists up on Capitol Hill, fighting against financial regulatory control,” he said at the time.

Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the former president, defended his boss’ speaking fees by noting how they “allowed President Obama to contribute $2 million to Chicago programs offering job training and employment opportunities to low-income youth,” Bloomberg reported.

Cantor, the newspaper noted, is no longer considered an industry giant since S&P Global Ratings announced “that the New York-based firm’s debt grades could be cut to junk.”

The group “lost more than 600 people in the Sept. 11 attacks,” Bloomberg reported.

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