Mitt Romney Richer Than Most Presidents

Romney would rank among richest presidents ever

An AP story (“Romney would rank among richest presidents ever“) begins:

Just how rich is Mitt Romney? Add up the wealth of the last eight presidents, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. Then double that number. Now you’re in Romney territory.

Now, that’s pretty impressive. Neither Nixon nor Gerald Ford were particularly well off but the others were either millionaires before becoming president or, in the case of Bill Clinton, cashed in afterwards. The next sentence puts things in a different context:

He would be among the richest presidents in American history if elected — probably in the top four.

Only 43 men have been president. (Obama is the 44th, but we count Grover Cleveland, who served non-consecutive terms, twice.) So, the top four is just the top ten percent.

He couldn’t top George Washington who, with nearly 60,000 acres and more than 300 slaves, is considered the big daddy of presidential wealth. After that, it gets complicated, depending how you rate Thomas Jefferson’s plantation, Herbert Hoover’s millions from mining or John F. Kennedy’s share of the vast family fortune, as well as the finer points of factors like inflation adjustment.

So, two of the four presidents on Mount Rushmore were richer than Romney? And the richest is the most admired man in American history? Who just inherited and married into the money? Meanwhile, the other two on that monument were not particularly well off. Which tells me that the amount of money a candidate has has little bearing on what kind of president he’d make.

via Taegan Goddard

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. James in LA says:

    Romney’s money isn’t Romney’s problem. It’s what Romney has allowed his money to do to him: it makes him dumb regarding the actual needs of a diverse nation. When he talks about money it’s cringe-worthy not for its excess, but because Mitt speaks like everyone has the same “problems” with money. When asked, he does not even know how much he is worth.

    So long as the dollar remains the pornographic centerpiece of our society, it will be used as a measuring rod for success. But Americans are particular about the kind of success they are willing to tolerate, and Romney is not on that pathway. There are huge swaths of the electorate where even the discussion of money is off limits. Romney comes along and rubs their noses in it, even though this may not be his intent. $10,000 bets and such. Add to it the absurd claim people only envy his wealth, and you have a real stinker of a candidate.

    The GOP was screwed before Romney. He only enables the continuing demise of Republicans.

  2. Budgie93 says:
  3. Ben Wolf says:

    Ineresting take, James: “George Washington was a slave-master and a bastard, so surely we should give Mitt Romney a pass.”

    If only I’d found such wisdom earlier.

  4. Septimius says:

    In other news, Joe Biden remains the poorest Vice-President in American history. After 35 years in the U.S. Senate, he managed to amass a net worth of $277,000. That’s some impressive financial skill!

  5. mantis says:

    So, two of the four presidents on Mount Rushmore were richer than Romney? And the richest is the most admired man in American history? Who just inherited and married into the money?

    They both also grew and sold cannabis!

    Things were different back then.

  6. James in LA says:

    Septimus, Joe Biden strikes me as someone who loves and cherishes his life’s work. He seems to therefore be acquainted with a word which escapes many wealthy people: “enough.” No one told him how much that was. He figured it out during the course of a living of an actual life, which cannot be achieved by mere wealth alone.

    The opposite end of this spectrum is angry old rich people shelling out $5 million checks to Newt Gingrich. On senses that shortly afterwards, their anger and resentment only deepened…. what’s a measly $5 million? We bet that much in “quiet places,” dontcha kno.

  7. Silvia Marquis says:

    You got to be kidding ! I heard it before in the Kennedy – Nixon race but I am still shocked to hear ” I am voting for him because he is handsome” . Wake up lady ! If Mitt Romney looks like Barbie’s Ken that does NOT qualify Mitt Romney to be President of The United States.

    Additionally pollster Towery said Gingrich is doing “substantially better” with men than Romney, 38 to 28, but the former House Speaker still faces a “gender gap,” as women are still favoring Romney.

    Please Ladies think about this. Ken Oups ! I mean Mitt Romney was empty whole companies into his pockets putting working women and men into the streets. Then sent their jobs to China and Mexico. Mitt Romney was also raided retirement funds and put the money in his pockets also robbing women and men of security in their Golden Years. Mitt Romeny is receiving the working women and men sweat and blood at a rate of over $51,000 DOLLARS a DAY as income !!!!! Anything goes to make a dollar is NOT Capitalism. The drug dealer or corporate raider are both wrong. The business venture was three separate parameters is it moral, ethical, or legal. The drug dealer is immoral and illegal. Mitt Romney is immoral and unethical. Mitt Romney is not and NEVER was in business to create jobs. Mitt Romney wants to make money and any human cost incurred is inconsequential. That includes human cost to women who think Mitt Romney should be President because he is handsome or looks like Ken.