Political Eye

Measuring Wealth of the '08 Candidates

By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, March 24, 2007; 8:40 AM

Perhaps only one word can be used to describe all of the leading presidential contenders: multimillionaire.

Not only that. With one exception among the three leading Republicans and three leading Democrats, the contenders each appear to be worth tens of millions.

The exception: Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). As a community organizer-turned-law professor-turned-state senator-turned U.S. senator, the bulk of Obama's wealth has come only in the past few years, with the huge success of his second book, " The Audacity of Hope."

Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter came to the White House without much money, but most presidents had already achieved substantial wealth by the time they reached 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This year, the top presidential contenders have found their places among the upper, upper class in different ways.

Mitt Romney, for example, had a long, successful career in finance before running for Massachussets' governor in 2002. Hillary Clinton was never rich until the end of her husband's term, when they each wrote best-selling books and he made millions giving speeches. John McCain has accumulated most of his wealth through his wife Cindy, a heiress to a major beer distribution company. Rudy Giuliani turned his time as mayor of New York into a lucrative consulting conglomerate and speaking career.

Some of the other candidates, though, are not wealthy by the measure of the leading contenders. One reason for this is that these candidates have spent very large chunks of their life in public office.

On May 15, the candidates will have to file financial disclosure statements with the Federal Election Commission detailing their financial situation. But here's a survey of how much the candidates (including spouses) are worth -- and how they made their money. It is based on disclosures they have to file while holding government office (residences are often not included), news accounts, interviews with compensation experts, OpenSecrets.org and talks with the campaigns.

Sen.John McCain(R-Ariz.)

Net worth: $25-$38 million

Details: McCain and his wife Cindy have substantial real estate holdings in Arizona -- including a home worth more than $1 million and land worth between $1.5 million and $3 million. Most of the wealth comes from Cindy, who has more than $1 million in beer distributor Hensley & Co., which her father founded. McCain has written three books.

Sen.Hillary Rodham Clinton(D-N.Y.)

Net worth: $10-$50 million

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