updated 4/16/2008 8:15:28 PM ET 2008-04-17T00:15:28

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, made $4.2 million last year as widespread interest in the presidential candidate pushed the sales of his two books.

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In tax returns the campaign released Wednesday, the Obamas reported a significant jump in their income from the previous year as profits from the books "Dreams From My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope" accounted for some $4 million. The Obamas paid federal taxes of $1.4 million and donated $240,370 to charity.

Their salaried income was $260,735, which included his $157,102 salary as a U.S. senator and hers of $103,633 as vice president of community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

For part of 2007, Michelle Obama collected a salary for serving on the board of Westchester, Ill.-based TreeHouse Foods Inc., which produces pickles, nondairy powdered creamer and other products. She resigned in May after two years on the board.

The position had generated some complaints because TreeHouse is a supplier to Wal-Mart, and Barack Obama has criticized some of Wal-Mart's policies and treatment of employees.

The Obamas reported $29,443 from Treehouse Foods.

In 2006, Obama and his wife reported income of $991,296. The sum included Obama's Senate salary of $157,082 and his wife's earnings of $273,618 from her position as an administrator at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Michelle Obama also earned $51,200 in director's fees from TreeHouse Inc., a food distributor.

They paid $277,431 in federal taxes — an overpayment of $40,856, which they designated for estimated tax payments this year.

Among the charitable donations in 2007 was $26,270 to Trinity United Church of Christ, where the incendiary sermons of Obama's former pastor have created problems for the candidate. The Obamas' largest charitable donation was $50,000 to the United Negro College Fund. They also gave $35,000 to CARE.

The campaign released the returns just hours before a candidate debate with rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Tax returns for Clintons, McCains
By comparison, Clinton and her husband, the former president, reported $20.4 million in income for 2007. Almost half the former first couple's money came from Bill Clinton's speeches. The Clintons made nearly $109 million since leaving the White House in 2001, capitalizing on lucrative business ventures and his speaking engagements.

Likely Republican nominee Sen. John McCain has not released his tax returns for 2007. McCain is routinely ranked among the richest senators, but a prenuptial agreement has kept most assets in his wife's name. As heiress to her father's stake in Phoenix-based Hensley & Co., a beer distributor, Cindy McCain is an executive whose worth may exceed $100 million.

The release of the returns comes as Obama has fought criticism that his comments about bitter voters in small towns smack of elitism. Campaigning in Indiana on Wednesday, Michelle Obama rejected that characterization, pointing out that the couple were fortunate enough to pay off their academic loans because of her husband's two books.

Barack Obama graduated from Columbia University, Michelle Obama from Princeton. Both attended Harvard Law School.

"I am a product of a working-class background, I am one of those folks who grew up in that struggle. That is the lens through which I see the world," Michelle Obama said, referring to her family that lived on the South side of Chicago on her father's city salary.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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