Hillary Clinton defended her hefty speaking fees since leaving the White House, explaining that she and the 42nd president of the United States “struggled” to get by after leaving office.
"We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt," Clinton told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer.
The Clintons saw sizeable legal fees from 1993 to 2001.
"We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea's education,” she said. “You know, it was not easy.
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"Bill has worked really hard -- and it's been amazing to me -- he's worked very hard,” she added. “First of all, we had to pay off all our debts, which was, you know, he had to make double the money because of obviously taxes and then pay off the debts and get us houses and take care of family members."
Clinton said turning to public speaking was a way to keep companies and lobbies out of her pocket.
"Let me put it this way," Clinton told Sawyer. "I thought making speeches for money was a much better thing than getting connected with any one group or company as so many people who leave public life do."
Her average speaking fee is about $200,000 per appearance. She earned at least $5 million in speaking fees since 2001, reported Mother Jones. Some of that money came from trade associations and Wall Street firms.
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Not all of her appearances, however, have been paid. She spoke at the United Methodist Women Conference in Kentucky earlier this year and waived her fee.
"I happen to have given lots of free speeches," she said.