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Daley could command $50,000 per speech after retirement

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

For a politician who was once viewed as inarticulate — and even took public speaking lessons to overcome that reputation — Mayor Daley sure has come a long way.

The retiring mayor has signed on with a New York speakers bureau and lecture agency to make a living delivering speeches — in exchange for a fee in the $50,000-an-engagement range.

The Harry Walker Agency has a blue-chip roster of clients that includes former President Bill Clinton, former Vice-Presidents Dick Cheney and Al Gore, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and rock star/philanthropist Bono.

On May 17, the day after Chicago’s new mayor is sworn in, Richard M. Daley will join that distinguished list and travel the world spreading the gospel about Chicago, urban planning and leadership.

“I’ve done it already. I’ve traveled quite a bit on behalf of the city. I continue to do that. Born and raised here. Love this city. It’s a passion I have for the city to grow and it’s a global economy,” Daley said.

“You’re not gonna exist as a Midwest city. You’re not gonna exist as a city in America. This is a global city. If you don’t reach out to it, you’ll be lost in history. And one cannot be lost in history.”

The retiring mayor, who is also expected to write a book and teach, refused to say how much money he would be paid for every speech he delivers.

But longtime mayoral press secretary Jacquelyn Heard said $50,000-a-speech would be a “safe assumption.

“When I travel with him, people hang on his every word — particularly overseas,” said Heard, who might collaborate with her former boss on the book.

Daley called it a natural off-shoot of the speeches he has delivered across the nation and around the world for the last 22 years. The only difference is, he will now make at least part of his living doing it.

“I feel fantastic. I’ve done it before. I’ve done it continually throughout my career. But I was one of the few public officials who never took a fee. I gave it to charity. I never thought that was right,” Daley said.

“If a university or someone asked you to speak, you give that money to charity. I’ve always believed in that. But other officials that you never wrote about always took the money. I never did. I never used the money for personal reasons. I gave it to charity or I gave it back to a university or a hospital or something like that.”

Don Walker, a spokesman for the Harry Walker Agency, could not be reached for comment.

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