Romney Would Rank as One of the Richest Presidents in U.S. History

Posted: Jan 28, 2012 9:54 AM

If former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney clinches the Republican nomination and defeats President Obama in the general election next November, he will be one of the richest Americans ever to take the oath of office.

Just how rich is Mitt Romney?

Add up the wealth of the last eight presidents, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. Then double that number.

Now you're in Romney territory.

He would be among the richest presidents in American history if elected _ probably in the top four. He couldn't top George Washington who, with nearly 60,000 acres and more than 300 slaves, is considered the big daddy of presidential wealth.

After that, it gets complicated, depending how you rate Thomas Jefferson's plantation, Herbert Hoover's millions from mining or John F. Kennedy's share of the vast family fortune, as well as the finer points of factors like inflation adjustment.

But it's safe to say the Roosevelts had nothing on Romney, and the Bushes are nowhere close.

Certainly, Romney’s wealth is not a bad thing. Just ask Rick Santorum. But, of course, the problem he faces is relating to middle and working class Americans. As Guy noted on Thursday, his penchant for using phrases such as “my trustee” during the Republican debates isn’t exactly going to galvanize struggling or out-of-work voters. Nevertheless, if he can effectively argue that his time spent in the private economy makes him the strongest candidate to rebuild America and create jobs, his wealth could actually be an asset that distinguishes him from the rest of the field.