Bill Clinton to Give ‘Very Personal’ Defense of Foundation

(CNN) — Bill Clinton will use his final speech at the Clinton Global Initiative on Wednesday to counter accusations that the charity organization provided a way for wealthy donors to buy access to Hillary Clinton, a line of attack Republicans have used throughout 2016.

Bill Clinton, according to advisers close to the former president, will give a “very personal reflection” on what CGI — which is part of the foundation and matches funders with causes — has accomplished over the last 15 years.

Delivering a speech he wrote himself, Clinton will talk about what the Clinton Foundation has meant to him and “how difficult it is to say farewell to this work.” He plans to step down from its board of directors if Hillary Clinton wins in November.

Clinton, the advisers said, hopes that the speech will provide a strong rebuttal to what he sees as partisan attacks on his foundation.

“The tone will be positive but it will be an inherent rebuke of critics and controversy about the foundation by highlighting how the Clinton Foundation improves lives around the world,” said one adviser.

Republicans have portrayed the Clinton Foundation as a blemish against Hillary Clinton as she runs for president. The foundation has pushed back against the attacks, but questions about the foundation continue to hamper Clinton’s campaign with some voters.

The 42nd president will say he believes that CGI has “helped redefine philanthropy,” arguing that “how the partnership model that is at the core of CGI will continue to play a vital role in solving global challenges.”

Despite serving as president for eight years, Bill Clinton has said his work with the foundation has been the work of his life. He told staffers earlier this year that leaving the foundation would be as painful as a “root canal” and told NPR earlier this week that he would have “paid more to do this job.”

“I’ve had this job longer than I ever had any job and I’ve loved it,” Clinton said. “And you know we always say in response to our critics — and nobody in my family ever took a penny out of this foundation and put millions of dollars in — but I would have paid more to do this job. It was the most fun thing I think I’ve ever done.”

This year’s CGI — the final gathering — has been a slightly different than past meetings. Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama have both declined to attend, something they both did in past meetings.