Bill Clinton Defends $500,000 Speech Fee: "I've Got to Pay Our Bills"

Courtesy of ABC
Bill Clinton

The former president says he will continue to give speeches as his wife begins her 2016 presidential race.

As Hillary Clinton enters the 2016 presidential race, her husband Bill Clinton confirmed with NBC that he will continue booking his own speaking engagements, for which he reportedly charges upwards of $500,000 each.

The former U.S. president told NBC’s Cynthia McFadden, "I gotta pay our bills."

In his first public interview since Hillary Clinton declared her candidacy, Bill Clinton spoke with McFadden about his Clinton Global Initiative receiving large donations in foreign cash. Clinton admitted it was a mistake to receive between $10 million and $25 million from Saudi Arabia, but defended receiving the big bucks for his speeches.

"I spend a couple of hours a day just doing the research,” said Clinton. “People like to hear me speak.”

The former commander-in-chief said he’s not jumping at every opportunity to speak, saying he makes a point to consider whether each opportunity is worth it.

“I have turned down a lot of them,” said Clinton. “If there’s something wrong with it, I don’t take it. I do disclose who gave them to me so people can make up their own minds.”

Watch the full interview below.