NEWSWEEK's Power 50: The List


In the oversaturated, hypercommodified media culture of 2010, the most influential political figures are generally the ones who make the most money peddling their perspectives. To figure who's tops in this new world, NEWSWEEK asked Wealth-X, an intelligence and research firm, to compile a list of the 50 highest-earning political figures of 2010. Included in the rankings are politicians, ex-politicians, media personalities, and political consultants who hawk their personal brands in the public marketplace—and influence American political discourse in the process. To see a profile of any member of the Power 50, just click on their name in the list below. You can also sort these names to see the list broken down by gender or occupation, just click on the category at the top of the list. And, you can find our full methodology here.

RankNameGenderCategoryEarnings Estimate
1Rush Limbaugh 25MaleTalk show host$58.7 million 1
2Glenn Beck 4MaleTalk show host$33 million 2
3Sean Hannity 18MaleTalk show host$22 million 3
4Bill O'Reilly 36MaleTalk show host$20 million 4
5Jon Stewart 48MaleTalk show host$15 million 5
6Sarah Palin 37FemaleCurrent or former government official$14 million 6
7Don Imus 21MaleTalk show host$11 million 7
8Bill Clinton 8MaleCurrent or former government official$7.7 million 8
9Keith Olbermann 35MaleTalk show host$7.5 million 9
10Rudy Giuliani 16MaleCurrent or former government official$7 million 10
11Laura Ingraham
(tied with 10) 22
FemaleTalk show host$7 million 11
12Newt Gingrich 13MaleCurrent or former government official$5.5 million 12
13Madeleine Albright 1FemaleCurrent or former government official$5 million 13
14Stephen Colbert
(tied with 13) 9
MaleTalk show host$5 million 14
15Arianna Huffington
(tied with 13) 20
FemaleJournalist$5 million 15
16Mark Levin
(tied with 13) 24
MaleTalk show host$5 million 16
17Chris Matthews 31MaleTalk show host$4.5 million 17
18George W. Bush 6MaleCurrent or former government official$4.2 million 18
19Bill Maher 28MaleTalk show host$4 million 19
20Barack Obama
(tied with 19) 34
MaleCurrent or former government official$4 million 20
21Jorge Ramos
(tied with 19) 40
MaleJournalist$4 million 21
22Joe Scarborough 45MaleTalk show host$3.5 million 22
23Fareed Zakaria 50MaleJournalist$3.1 million 23
24Bob Barnett 3MalePower broker$3 million 24
25Alan Greenspan
(tied with 24) 15
MaleCurrent or former government official$3 million 25
26Frank Luntz
(tied with 24) 26
MalePolitical strategist$3 million 26
27Mark Halperin 17MaleJournalist$2.5 million 27
28John Heilemann
(tied with 27) 19
MaleJournalist$2.5 million 28
29Bob Woodward
(tied with 27) 49
MaleJournalist$2.5 million 29
30Thomas Friedman 12MaleJournalist$2 million 30
31Al Gore
(tied with 30) 14
MaleCurrent or former government official$2 million 31
32Rachel Maddow
(tied with 30) 27
FemaleTalk show host$2 million 32
33Jon Meacham*
(tied with 30) 33
MaleJournalist$2 million 33
34Charlie Rose
(tied with 30) 43
MaleTalk show host$2 million 34
35Karl Rove
(tied with 30) 44
MaleCurrent or former government official$2 million 35
36Condoleezza Rice 42FemaleCurrent or former government official$1.8 million 36
37Charlie Cook 10MaleJournalist$1.5 million 37
38David Plouffe 38MalePolitical strategist$1.5 million 38
39David Remnick 41MaleJournalist$1.3 million 39
40Roland Martin 29MaleJournalist$1.1 million 40
41Tina Brown 5FemaleJournalist$1 million 41
42Dick Cheney
(tied with 41) 7
MaleCurrent or former government official$1 million 42
43John McLaughlin
(tied with 41) 32
MaleTalk show host$1 million 43
44Colin Powell*
(tied with 41) 39
MaleCurrent or former government official$1 million 44
45Eduardo 'Piolin' Sotelo
(tied with 41) 46
MaleTalk show host$1 million 45
46Richard Stengel
(tied with 41) 47
MaleJournalist$1 million 46
47Paul Krugman 23MaleJournalist$900,000 47
48Mary Matalin* 30FemaleCurrent or former government official$800,000 48
49Ann Coulter 11FemaleJournalist$750,000 49
50David Axelrod 2MaleCurrent or former government official$720,000 50

* Disputed our estimates, but declined to provide further information on the numbers.

All source photos: AP, Getty Images, AFP-Getty Images, Corbis, Landov