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Do presidential nominees get an economic bump?

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney waves on stage after accepting the nomination during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Fla. For some candidates and their staff, the nomination is lucrative -- even if they don't win.

Kai Ryssdal: We're halfway -- more or less -- through the 2012 political convention season. We get that all the balloons and fanfare can be distracting, but the actual point of these things -- don't forget -- is that the parties officially nominate somebody to be president.

With that in mind, this next story is about that particular status -- being the nominee and how that might affect someone's future, even if they lose.

Forget the convention bump -- we asked Marketplace's Krissy Clark to look in to whether or not there's a nominee bump.


Krissy Clark: Where do presidential candidates go to make money after a campaign's over? Speaking fees are at the top of the list. But does anyone care if you were the actual nominee, rather than just one of many contenders?

Kelly Bodway: Yeah, they would be more desirable because of their thicker experience.

Kelly Bodway is with Key Speakers Bureau. She says that speaker fee?

Bodway: It's tiered according to the level of politics that they get to.

Of course, if the speaking circuit isn't your thing., you could always host your own talk radio show. In that case, it's not about how far you get in the race to presidential nominee, but what happens while you're trying to get there.

Mike Harrison publishes Talkers, a radio industry magazine. He says it's no accident Mike Huckabee was the one who got his own lucrative talk show after the last election.

Mike Harrison: I think that Huckabee came out of that election in really good shape. I think McCain, on the other hand, even though he did win the nomination, his luster was tarnished.

But McCain's nomination polished the resume of one of his senior campaign advisors. Doug Holtz-Eakin says his career's been helped by the fact that McCain was the actual nominee. If he'd just been another candidate?

Doug Holtz-Eakin: It would have made a little difference, but nothing like having  the attention and the ability to meet so many different people that comes with travelling with the nominee.

Jim Pinkerton: That's the upside. And that's a huge upside.

Jim Pinkerton was a senior adviser with Mike Huckabee’s rather shorter campaign. He admits he would have liked the extra connections you get in the last stretch of the campaign trail.

Pinkerton: The downside is it lasts another six months.  You gain weight, you don't get sleep, your credit cards don't get paid. It's a taxing lifestyle.

And If you're not going to end up in the White House anyway, maybe it's nice to finish that stuff a little early.

I'm Krissy Clark for Marketplace.

About the author

Krissy Clark is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Wealth & Poverty Desk.

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