"I work hard on these," he said of his lucrative speeches

By Tara Fowler and Sandra Sobieraj Westfall
Updated May 04, 2015 09:30 AM

In an interview with the Today show that aired on Monday morning, Bill Clinton defended his hefty speaking fees – which often top half a million dollars.

The former commander-in-chief told NBC’s Cynthia McFadden that he gives the speeches “to pay our bills,” adding that he would continue to give them while his wife, Hillary Clinton, runs for president.

“I work hard on these,” he said. “I spend a couple hours a day just doing the research. People like to hear me speak – and I’ve turned down a lot of them.”

He added: “If I think there’s something wrong with it, I don’t take it, and I do disclose who gave them to me so people can make up their own mind.”

He went on to defend donations given by foreign governments to his family’s foundation, in particular a multimillion-dollar donation from Saudi Arabia.

“I don’t think I did anything that was against the interests of the United States,” he said, refusing to give any credence to perceptions of influence peddling. “I’m not responsible for anybody else’s perceptions.”

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