Wednesday, June 08, 2005

It's the Third Way!

Cherie Blair

For pulling in big bucks while you are a politician in office. Hillary was on the board of Wal-Mart and doing all sorts of politically connected "legal work" while Bubba was Governor of Arkansas. Linda Daschle was a big bucks lobbyist while Tom was Senate Majority Leader. And Cherie Blair gives paid interviews while Tony is PM:
For weeks, Downing Street had been insisting that Cherie Blair's lucrative speaking engagement in the US was entirely a 'private' visit, in her capacity as a barrister and mother of four.

So it may have come as a surprise to her fee-paying audience yesterday when she was given gushing introductions by none other than the British Ambassador to Washington and Senator Hillary Clinton.
Her remarks came on another day of controversy when ambassador Sir David Manning's presence, in particular, led to renewed accusations that Mrs Blair is cashing in on her husband's status and pulling in favours from his political friends.

The row threatened to overshadow his talks with President Bush, as Shadow Commons leader Chris Grayling wrote to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw demanding to know why a British diplomat was supporting an entirely commercial event.

Mrs Blair was paid between £20,000 and £30,000 for the 90-minute interview at the John F Kennedy Centre in Washington DC. She later rounded off her 'private' visit with a stay at the British Embassy and dinner at the White House.
"There are strict guidelines which prevent ministers from making money out of their position, yet Mrs Blair is allowed to do so even though Mr Blair will clearly be a beneficiary of the money she makes.'

Despite Mrs Blair's interview with CNN anchorwoman Paula Zahn being billed as a sell-out, the 2,450-seat auditorium was barely half full for her talk.
It does sound like a snoozer. But heck, whatever works.
To date, Mrs Blair has made an estimated £170,000 from speaking engagements, including a 'charity' tour of Australia in February which earned her £100,000.
Just a little walking around money.