Friday, February 23, 2007

Cash is Clinton

Maybe it’s just me, but don’t you just love ex-presidents? I love the allure, I love the lifestyle, I love the fact that they get Secret Service protection for life. I can’t get enough of what they are doing – or not doing – with their time.

It is the ultimate retirement, really. You’ve had the greatest job in the world for four or eight years so what to do? Nothing, really.

Sure, Carter is trying to atone for a mediocre presidency and win the Nobel. Nixon was trying to atone for, well, everything, and stayed largely out of sight. Ford set the gold standard, playing golf and hangin in Cali.

And then there’s Bill Clinton. A relative pauper most of his life in Arkansas, the guy has been out earning large, phat cash. And who could blame him? They did ring up more than $10 million in legal fees thanks to Whitewater and Monica. And they had to prepare for Hillary’s self-financed run this year.

So in comes the Washington Post with a fascinating story of the ex-president’s big, big travel. Over five years, a cool $40 million. Nice.

The details in the story are pretty good, though it certainly could have been written with a bit more pop. But I love, love, love the graphics online.

This is why we need real newspapers to survive and thrive on the web. The folks at Google or YahooNews wouldn’t come up with these kinds of cool graphics. It’s fun to go speech-by-speech on the map to see Bill bouncing around the globe. I also wasn’t aware before that he was in New Zealand on 9/10/01 … makes you wonder if he was stuck there on 9/11 or had trouble getting home.

And it’s neat to see how much he got paid for his local speeches. Salem State College, Tufts and Temple Beth Avodah shelled out $125,000 for the big guy in 2001 and 2002. Funny, I wondered how Salem State attracted such good speakers … now I know.

Anyway, check it out, good read and very entertaining.

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