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Inside Politics

Presidential hopefuls report their wealth

Story Highlights

• Majority of presidential candidates millionaires
• Romney, believed to be the wealthiest, hasn't reported yet
• Obama's assets far more modest than most other leading hopefuls
• About 1 percent of Americans are millionaires, group says
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The herd of candidates vying for the White House in 2008 may have different positions on abortion, gun control, climate change and taxes, but there is one thing most of them have in common -- they're millionaires.

At least seven of the 18 candidates actively seeking Republican and Democratic nominations have at least $1 million in assets, according to financial disclosure reports filed this week with the Federal Election Commissions, and three candidates who have not yet filed are known to be millionaires.

Two others might be members of the millionaires' club. (Watch how the current White House occupants stack up against the hopefuls Video)

All of the candidates are seeking to lead a country where the median net worth is about $93,000, and the median yearly income is about $46,000.

"They are an elite class," said Shelia Krumholz, director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics. "Only about 1 percent of the American population are millionaires."

Among the candidates who have reported their finances, the wealthiest are former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican, and former Sen. John Edwards, a Democrat.

Giuliani reported assets of between $18.1 million and $70.4 million. Because the FEC allows candidates to report assets within ranges, the actual value of his assets lies somewhere between those figures.

The report also shows that during 2006, Giuliani made $16.8 million in income, including about $9 million for giving speeches, usually at $100,000 a pop.

Edwards' campaign put his assets at $29.5 million.

The report showed that Edwards, a lawyer, made $1.2 million in income in 2006, including about $480,000 from Fortress Investment Group, a New York hedge fund.

That revelation has caused some controversy, given that Edwards has made combating poverty a centerpiece of his campaign, and he recently reimbursed his campaign for a $400 haircut.

However, Edwards has been defending his commitment to the poor, saying he worked at Fortress to learn about financial markets and their relationship to poverty.

"I've been doing a whole variety of things, and I think if you put all of those things together, it's very difficult to question my commitment to low-income families and the poor," he said.

The richest of them all

While Giuliani and Edwards are more than comfortable, their wealth may pale in comparison to the man believed to be the richest person in the race, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who was a successful venture capitalist before going into politics.

Romney received an extension from the FEC until June 29 to file his financial disclosure report. Romney's advisers have estimated his net worth to be between $190 million and $250 million, plus a blind trust for his children and grandchildren of at least $70 million.

Four other candidates have also received extensions until June 29 -- Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton, Republican Sen. John McCain, and former Republican Govs. Jim Gilmore of Virginia and Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin.

However, based on the 2005 financial disclosure reports Clinton and McCain were required to file as senators, both have assets well into the eight figures.

Clinton reported her assets at $10 million to $50 million, a figure which includes the wealth of her husband, former President Bill Clinton. McCain reported his assets at $21 million to $32 million.

Among the remaining candidates who have filed financial disclosure reports, those reporting assets into the millions including Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat.

Unclear status for Obama, Tancredo

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, reported assets of between $456,000 and $1.1 million, making it unclear if he is a millionaire. He and his wife had total income of $984,000 in 2006, including $567,000 in royalties for two books he has written. In 2005, Obama received a $1.9 million book advance.

Similarly, Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colorado, reported assets of between $530,000 and $1.1 million, making his millionaire status unclear.

The least wealthy candidates in the race, among those who have reported, are Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican, and former Sen.Mike Gravel, D-Alaska.

While Huckabee and Gravel reported assets into the six figures, Biden, who has been serving in the Senate since he was 30, told the FEC that his assets were only between $62,000 and $405,000, with liabilities of between $140,000 and $365,000.

His only reported income in 2006, in addition to his $165,000 Senate salary, interests and dividends, was $28,700 for teaching at Widener University in Pennsylvania.

The only candidate in the race who had not filed a report with the FEC or received an extension as of Thursday was Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. His 2005 report showed assets between $196,000 and $352,000.

In the FEC reports, candidates are not required to list certain assets, such as primary residences and other property owned for non-investment purposes. The reports include personal financial information for candidates, spouses and dependent children.

CNN's Robert Yoon, Candy Crowley and Mary Snow contributed to this report

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Former Sen. John Edwards is one of the wealthier candidates, with $29.5 million in assets, according to his campaign. He made $1.2 million in income in 2006.



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