When politicians are campaigning, some try to reinforce the idea that they are similar to most Americans. Candidates for President of the United States try to avoid being labeled as elitist, because some sort of connection and kinship with their constituency is important for winning the favor of voters who aren’t already entrenched with a Democrat or Republican ideology.
Of course, the attempt to be viewed as an “average American” is nothing more than marketing and public relations. In order to find one’s way into the political arena at that level, you need to carry something that sets you aside from most Americans. And while money doesn’t guarantee a victory, it doesn’t hurt.
CNN has reported the net worth and income of the Republican presidential candidates as well as President Obama to see how they compare with each other. Like most Americans, they generally have wealth tied into their homes, but their investments, and in some cases, major liabilities and use of blind trusts, show that this crew lives in a world unfamiliar to most Americans.
Mitt Romney’s net worth is between $85 million and $264 million. This is a wide range; with lenient reporting requirements, it’s difficult to be specific. He earns most from dividends and interest on his investments as well as from speaking engagements. Romney includes horses and gold among his investments. According to the Federal Election Commission, Mitt Romney has raised $32 million for his campaign as of September 2011 (the latest data).
Jon Huntsman’s net worth is between $16 million and $72 million. CNN points out that Huntsman’s father is one of the richest men in the world, as has donated more than $1 billion to universities and medical research. Huntsman has raised $4.5 million for his campaign as of September 2011.
Newt Gingrich’s net worth is between $7 million and $31 million. Last year, Gingrich earned $2.4 million from his own company, Gingrich Productions, and most of his assets are tied to this company. He also has listed up to $1 million in liabilities in the form of a line of credit with Tiffany and Co. Gingrich has raised $2.9 million for his campaign as of September 2011.
Barack Obama’s net worth is between $2.8 million and $11.8 million. Thanks to sales of his books, Obama can count himself among the richest politicians. He also earns a $400,000 salary as President. Obama has raised $88 million for his re-election campaign as of September 2011.
Ron Paul’s net worth is between $2.4 million and $5.4 million. This includes a five-year personal bank loan of up to $500,000. As a fan of gold, Paul has major investments in companies involved with gold and silver mining. Paul has raised almost $13 million for his campaign as of September 2011.
Rick Santorum’s net worth is between $1 million and $3 million. Santorum’s wealth is in rental real estate properties. He also has mortgages comprising debt of up to $750,000 on properties with a value of up to $1.25 million. He earned $1.3 million from January to August 2010 as a contributor on Fox News and from the Ethics and Public Policy Center think tank. Santorum raised $1.3 million for his campaign as of September 2011.
Rick Perry’s net worth is between $1 million and $2.5 million. The “poorest” of all presidential candidates, Perry receives a $133,000 salary as the governor of Texas. He has a diversified portfolio of stock investments. Perry raised $17 million for his campaign as of September 2011.
Should the individual who represents the United States of America domestically and globally be a reflection of American society? Does wealth tie into that equation?