Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen once compared his $50,000 per speech public speaking career to a "loose woman" getting paid for sexual intercourse.
Bredesen, the former governor running against Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R.) in Tennessee, has given at least 30 public speeches since he left office. He is listed on multiple speakers bureau websites as available for "corporate appearances," and talks on health care and education for between $30,000 and $50,000 for each appearance.
Bredesen left the governorship in 2011 after two terms. By November 2012, he was "writing, crusading, promoting, and eyeing another career," according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Bredesen told the paper he was making speeches on "policy issues, notably health care, and sometimes for an honorarium."
He then "quipped" to the Knoxville News Sentinel that discovering he could be paid for speaking was like being a "loose woman" finding she could be paid for sex.
"It's sort of like a loose woman who suddenly discovers she can get paid for what she's been doing all these years," Bredesen said.
Aside from getting paid for speeches, he also was "promoting the study of humanities," and "keeping track of investments taken out of a blind trust, and contemplating what to do next," the paper reported.
Request for comment from the Bredesen campaign was not immediately returned.
Bredesen is listed on the Speaker Booking Agency's website as available for between $30,000 and $50,000 to speak on health care, conservation, education, and leadership.
NOPAC Talent, America's "premier celebrity and sports marketing company," also lists him as a public speaker. Bredesen is available for "Corporate Appearances, Speaking Engagements, Autograph Signings, Endorsements, VIP Meet [and] Greets, [and] Store Grand Openings," according to the website.
Celebrity Talent Promotions lists Bredesen as available for corporate appearances and keynote speeches, as well as on the speakers' bureau of Fuze World Entertainment. His fee is not publicly available.
Bredesen has been busy since leaving office, delivering at least 30 public speeches around the country since February 2011, a month after he left the Tennessee governor's mansion. The Democrat most recently gave a talk to the Hampton Roads Chamber in November 2017 in Nashville, where he previously served as mayor.
Bredesen delivered the keynote speech at the Health Datapalooza conference in Washington, D.C., in April 2017. The topic was "building a sustainable healthcare system."
Other speaking engagements include the 30th anniversary dinner of the Young Leaders Council in Nashville in October 2015; a speech for the "National Campaign to Fix the Debt" at Webster University in Missouri in May 2013; the Generic Pharmaceutical Association's annual meeting in Orlando in October 2011; and the Microsoft Connected Health Conference in Chicago in April 2011.
Bredesen has given several speeches to the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences, where he has been a member since 2012. He gave a speech for an academy event at the University of California, Berkeley in January 2014.
He also spoke at a conference hosted by the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta in October 2014.
It is unclear how many of the more than two dozen speeches Bredesen has given since leaving office, were paid.
If elected, Bredesen would be one of the richest members of Congress, with assets of up to $358 million. He owns five homes, including two lakefront properties in upstate New York, and an Embraer Phenom 300 private jet.
He recently decried the Democratic Party as "too elitist."