Ex-Bush officials living large: Bush could earn $17,000 a page for book




That’s the sound of Bush administration officials cashing in on their “experiences” in book deals. While unemployment skyrockets around the US, top former officials are raking in millions in profits — before their books have even been penned.

Chief among them is President Bush, whose proposed memoir has fetched $7 million from Crown, a subsidiary of Bertelsmann AG. (Crown also published President Barack Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope.”) If his book is 400 pages long, that means he’s raking in more than $17,500 per page.

The second-sweetest deal appears to have been inked by erstwhile First Lady Laura Bush, whose book was purportedly sold for somewhere between $3.5 and $5 million (if her book is 400 pages, that’ll be just shy of $8,750 per page at a minimum).

Next up: ex-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rice has a three-book deal with Crown for $2.5 million, a nice chunk of change at $833,333 per book.

President Barack Obama is also on the publishing gravy train — last year he earned $2.5 million in royalties (though his books have been published). He’s also receiving a $250,000 advance on a book he plans to write post-presidency.

Former Bush adviser Karl Rove also has a book deal with a conservative publisher, though news accounts haven’t specified more than that it’s in the seven-figure range. Ex-Vice President Dick Cheney is also writing a book, though it’s unknown how much he’ll be paid — so is former Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (who, incidentally, has had trouble finding a job at a law firm after his stint in the White House).

Too burnt out to read? You can also buy time with ex-Bush aides.

The rolls of the Washington Speakers’ Bureau include: ex-Secretary of State Colin Powell, ex-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, ex-Treasury Secretary John Snow, ex-Attorney General Michael Mukasey, ex-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, ex-Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, ex-Bush chief of staff Andy Card, ex-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, ex-UN ambassador John Bolton and ex-deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

Had enough? A second speaker’s bureau — “Leading Authorities” — offers speaking gigs for a round of second-tier Bush gurus.

Salon notes: “The list of ex-Bush loyalists includes Dan Bartlett (counselor to the president, 2002-2007), Christopher Cox (chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, 2005-2009), Ed Gillespie (counselor to the president, 2007-2009), Porter Goss (director of the Central Intelligence Agency, 2005-2006), Stephen Hadley (national security advisor, 2005-2009), Michael Hayden (director of the Central Intelligence Agency, 2006-2009), Keith Hennessey (director of the National Economic Council, 2007-2009), Dana Perino (White House press secretary, 2007-2009) and Margaret Spellings (secretary of education, 2005-2009).”

Last month, a USA Today analysis found that more than one in four Bush aides are now lobbyists preaching to divisions they once worked for or consultants in their area of policy work. For example, Tom Ridge leads his own consulting firm (Ridge Global) on security issues, as does Michael Chertoff (The Chertoff Group).