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Titans of the Speaking Circuit

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK Giuliani

The gift of gab has never been more lucrative.

Last week, it was that Bill Clinton raked in approximately $10.2 million for 57 paid speeches in 2006, plus another $5.9 million in the first half this year. The price to hear our former president-turned-rockstar spin oratorical gold ranged from $75,000 to $450,000, according to Hillary Clinton's Senate-mandated financial statement disclosure. Not bad for a man who made a measly $400,000 (plus benefits) per annum as the leader of the free world. Still, Bubba's no Rudy "9/11" Giuliani, the presidential hopeful who netted a humble $9.2 million between January 2006 and February 2007.

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These two are just the tip of the precious public-speaking iceberg—which is at full pace in the start of this election season—and the multi-billion dollar industry features not only politicos, former elected officials, and cabinet members, but also major-league skippers, Hollywood A-listers, and ex Real World cast members. Many (even the Real Worlders) are paid ungodly sums to run their mouths about vague or overblown "motivational" topics.

After the jump, a rundown of the speaking circuit's top earners ...

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