Obama hires agency for speaking gigs, lawyers for book deals
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama announced Friday they have picked the prestigious agency that represents Bill Clinton, Mia Farrow and others to handle their post-White House speaking gigs.
The Harry Walker Agency will represent both Obamas for speaking appearances, said Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the former president. It’s the same firm that recently resumed representing Hillary Clinton for future speeches and handled the speeches she gave for big sums after stepping down as secretary of state in 2013.
Former House Speaker John Boehner, pilot Sully Sullenberger and former White House press secretary Josh Earnest are all represented by the Harry Walker Agency.
Obama and the former first lady have also tapped attorneys Robert Barnett and Deneen Howell to handle their contracts for books that both plan to write, Lewis said. Barnett, known as a “Washington super-lawyer,” has represented Obama on past book deals along with other top politicians.
The Obamas haven’t yet set dates to release their books or announced any scheduled speeches. The couple is living in Washington while developing the presidential library and center that will eventually be built in Chicago.
Obama, who has written two previous best-sellers, has retained his chief White House speechwriter Cody Keenan to help him craft his next book. Keith Urbahn, a literary agent at Javelin DC who’s handled best-sellers for other political figures, said Obama can expect to fetch an advance of more than $20 million.
Vice President Joe Biden and wife, Jill Biden, said Friday they’ve hired Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency, which counts Brad Pitt and Will Smith among its clients, to represent them, but they haven’t said what projects that might entail. The Biden Foundation, launched this month to promote Biden’s policy goals, also said it was hiring five staffers.