ABC's Stu Schutzman reports from New York:
Former Presidents live out their days in different ways; most do good works, some make some money, others make lots of money. Bill Clinton falls into the latter category, commanding millions in speaking fees since he left office. George W Bush is hot on his trail. Ex-President Bush kicked off his motivational speaking career last night in Texas as part of Tamara Lowe’s “Get Motivated” national tour along with her stable of other notable “ex’s” -- Ex mayor Rudy Giuliani; ex Secy of State Colin Powell; ex star quarterback Terry Bradshaw among others who tour the country inspiring and motivating business people for lots of money. 15,000 showed up last night to hear Bush43. “ Bush did not appear to have an overarching theme,” according to today’s Washington Post. He strung together some anecdotes, says the Post and spoke mostly about optimism and faith. “I don’t see how you can be President,” he said, “without relying on the Almighty... I can tell you that one of the most amazing surprises of the presidency was the fact that people’s prayers affected me. I can’t prove it to you. But I can tell you some days were great, some days not so great. But every day was joyous.” Most of those who heard it loved it, reports the Post. “He wasn’t the best speaker,” said one, “but I was happy to see him... He is just a normal guy.”
A “normal guy” who, last night, took home a $100 thousand paycheck. A “normal guy” who must desperately miss being leader of the free world. Off camera George W Bush made no bones about that. It was always clear, when chatting with President Bush, that he savored every minute of the job and loved all the perks that went with it. He was always candid, never shy about offering his opinions of other world leaders and many of his fellow politicians of both political parties. And always ready to talk about his first love -- baseball.
Retirement for Bush appears to be nothing short of culture shock; no more motorcades or helicopters or weekend retreats. Life for him today, in a quiet Dallas neighborhood, consists mostly of ridin his bike and walkin his dog Barney. It was while walking Barney with a “plastic bag” on his hand, he told the crowd, that it really hit home -- “Man,” he said, “ my life has changed.”
The former President and wife Laura Bush are signed up for motivational seminars at least through the end of the year. The New York Daily News estimates together they mill make about a half million dollars by Christmas... not bad for a speaker who admittedly mangles the spoken word.