September 27th, 2007
01:25 PM ET
13 years ago

Bill Clinton slams 'smearing' Republicans

Watch Clinton's comments in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton blasted Republicans Wednesday for their recent uproar over a newspaper ad questioning Gen. David Petraeus' credibility, telling CNN's Anderson Cooper their "feigned outrage" was completely "disingenuous."

"This was classic bait and switch - focus on that as opposed to focusing on what's happened," the former president said.

Clinton also highlighted a string of past questionable campaign commercials targeting Democrats, and suggested Republicans are acting hypocritically.

"These are the people that ran a television ad in Georgia with [former Sen.] Max Cleland - who lost half his body in Vietnam - in the same ad with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. That's what the Republicans did," he continued. "And the person that rode to the senate on that ad was there voting to condemn the democrats over the Petraeus ad.

"I mean, these are the people that funded the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. And the president appointed one of the principal founders of the Swift Boat ads to be an ambassador," Clinton added. "But they're really upset about Petraeus. But it was okay to question [Massachusetts Sen.] John Kerry's patriotism on a blatantly dishonest play that had dishonest claims by people that didn't know what they were talking about."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Bill Clinton
soundoff (448 Responses)
  1. palm beach

    The Republican Party
    Or is it the The Repugnent Party

    September 27, 2007 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  2. Rich Amherst, NH

    I don't care what your party affiliation – we all must recognize when enough is enough and human decency is violated. The Patraeus ad was the worst and our expectation for editors is to ensure viceral and negative advertisements (not free speech) gets reviewed before they make it into their respective rags – it clearly wasn't. As for fmr pres Clinton – the absolute wrong guy to be talking on this topic as he tried given his past history actively and viciously discrediting anyone who stood in his way or dared tell the truth. "Have you forgotten ...?"

    September 27, 2007 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  3. David Gillis, formerly of Berkeley, CA, now of Texas

    Former President Bill Clinton is assuming the role of the kettle calling the pot black. There is no meaner machine for personal smearing than the national leadership of the Democratic party. The Gen Petraeus smear is unforgivable, intellectually dishonest, and dishonors every present and past American serviceman in the Armed Forces (of which I am one). MoveON has been characterized by dishonest, deceptive and destructive behavior since its founding. If they succeed in bringing down America, they should be the first to suffer the consequences of their irrational march to destroy the world's premier democracy– those consequences would be no longer having those of us who put out lives on the line and purchase MoveOn's opportunity for abuse with our blood and lives to shelter them from their cowardly attacks.
    David Gillis

    September 27, 2007 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  4. Patrick, Cincinnati,OH

    "Be careful what you wish for. I hope you were paying attention to the democratic debate. Your income taxes are going to increase"

    Thats going to have to happen anyway since there is this thing called the national debt which you republicans will never talk about. BTW you've increased it over 3 trillion dollars while Bush has been in office.

    "you won't be able to draw on social security until you're 67."

    This is already the case so whats your point?

    "All losers"

    Agreed... problems still won't be solved... but it will be fun listening to republicans whine for the next four years about Hillary... I will savor every minute of it.

    September 27, 2007 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. Ken Morgan, Madison, WI

    This is the same Bill Clinton of "Welfare Reform", Nafta, the same Clinton, who 1n 1993 called unemployment insurance "an unfair tax on business" who oversaw the slaughter of 5000 Iraq children every month through Sanctions. It amazes me that Liberals have a positive opinion and that conservatives have a negative opinion of him.

    September 27, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  6. Jon, Seattle WA

    Way to go President Bill Clinton! Once again proving that leadership goes beyond politic kindergarten games and hits the already week Republicans between the eyes. The truth hurts. I do beleive Donald Trump is correct in saying that Bush is a liability to this country and to his party. The smartest, wealthiest, sexiest, happiest people in the world are Democratic and as the world now watches the last dying days of the Republican party, it pierces our ears a bit from their screams and nashing of teeth as a result of their inhumanity and indecency to the least of these in and outside our country. Their downfall is providence.

    September 27, 2007 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  7. Patrick,Cincinnati,OH

    "This is the same Bill Clinton who oversaw the slaughter of 5000 Iraq children every month through Sanctions."

    Exactly how did he "oversee" this... the sanctions were imposed by the U.N.

    Saying that... I could say... that Bush has overseen the slaughter of over 150,000 Iraqis... and 7,000 U.S. citizens (9/11, military losses).

    So that makes Bush the larger mass murderer... and he was more directly responsible.

    Republicans... so easy to defeat in any logic battle.

    September 27, 2007 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  8. David, Gilbert Arizona

    Patrick, the national debt has increased because of spending more than taxpayers pay in. When a democrat takes office the war in Iraq won't suddenly just go away. Those tax dollars are still going to be spent. The difference is that your presidential candidate also wants to implement expansive social programs like universal health care. They talked about increasing taxes on gasoline to pay for global warming. They want to put restrictions on energy production to cut back on emmissions and require renewable engery, which is VERY expensive so expect your electric bill to go up.

    Tax and spend. That's the democratic moto. Who cares who gets hurt in the process.

    As it is now you start drawing SSI at 65. The democrats, based on what they said during the debate, want to up the age to 67. That's $14,952 a retired person will not have because of the democrats if they get their way.

    If Hillary gets into office it won't be just the republicans whining and you won't be savoring any of it.

    September 27, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  9. James, Phoenix AZ

    Paul NY,

    You wrote, "Just because a someone is a general in the army means everyone should listen to them blindly without questioning them? But at the same time you think it is ok to attack someones war record becaue they are running for office? You do not make any sence."

    Paul, no – just because a General is testifying is not cause to accept every word or recommendation. THAT is why he is called before Congress – so our elected leaders can hear his testimony, question him, and come to a determination of how things are going.

    However – for Moveon.Org to create the ad – calling the General a traitor, buy the space with the NY Times – all before the General gave one word of testimony is just plain wrong.

    John Kerry, on the other hand, GAVE his testimony to congress 35 years ago – telling of attrocities commited by other US Vets and embellished his statements. John Kerry was running for the office of President and suggesting he was the BEST candidate and used his military record for political purposes. Those (Vets) opposed to Kerry had every right to challenge him, his statements, and to share THEIR opinions.

    Honestly... if you can't see the difference – if you think non-military rich liberals personally attacking the patriotism of a 4-star General is the same as Vets crticizing John Kerry... then we can simply agree to disagree.

    September 27, 2007 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  10. rvastar - Richmond, VA

    First of all you are a very combative poster to this forum.

    It's called "debating the issues". Look back at the posts I've responded to and explain how I'm the one who's combative.

    Sigh...I can see that no one here is capable of honestly addressing the issues at hand, so this will be my last post about it.

    1) Bill Clinton's claim that Republican outrage over the MoveOn ad stating that Gen. Patraeus was disingenous.

    His "proof"? He offers none. NONE. Instead of directly addressing why Republican outrage was disingenuous, he changes the subject – a classic case of throwing out red herring arguments. It's absolutely no different than the old "he didn't rape her...look at how she dresses!" argument.

    But what should we expect from the guy who's married to Hillary "There was no affair, it's a Right-Wing Conspiracy" Clinton?

    2) A political ad about Max Cleland that was supposedly dishonest.

    I have directly challenged his assertion with facts about both Cleland's military service and voting record. The political ad that ran about Cleland was attacking his voting record, not his patriotism. If you can prove otherwise, please do so.

    And while you're at, please explain how it's relevant to the MoveOn ad controversy in the first place.

    3) The claims of the SBVT that John Kerry is no war hero.

    You claim it's not fair to make assumptions about how a defamation case against the SBVT would have played out. I don't have to make assumptions. Kerry was too scared to take the case to court. That tells me everything.

    You claim that defamation is "difficult" to prove in court. I say, why don't you tell that to the Hollywood celebrities who are constantly suing magazines for libel and defamation...and winning.

    If the SBVT were lying, Kerry could very easily have sued them for defamation of character. And in court, SBVT would have had to prove the their claims were accurate. But in their efforts to do so, they would have been able to get access to ALL of Kerry's military records and they would have been able to call Kerry supporters to the stand to testify under penalty of perjury about Kerry's actions in Vietnam. And that is what Kerry was terrified of happening.

    And, oh by the way...please explain how it's relevant to the MoveOn ad controversy in the first place.

    Bottom line: another dishonest, "pay no attention to them because their Republicans" Democrat regurgitation from St. Clinton. But hey, why shouldn't they keep using the same playbook? It's not like the leftist media are ever going to actually challenge leftist politicians on anything.

    September 27, 2007 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  11. Roger Charlotte NC

    I think the president is missing a crucial difference. The attack ads he was using as examples were attacking politicians. If you're a politician you know you are going to be a target by one side or another. Gen. Patraeus is a serving member of the military and though no one is totally apolitical at his level he is not deserving of being treated as one of the professional politicians.

    September 27, 2007 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  12. JamesO

    The pathetic slams on Clinton from the Bush worshipers display how ignorant they are. They chant about lying to the country about a private affair, while their pitiful little ex-drunk president commits treasonous crimes and acts that are tantamount to murder and embezzlement of billions of dollars funneling into the pockets of his political hacks. The only reason Bush isn’t in prison is because his crimes are covered up by the republican’s loyal unwillingness to serve the people, but instead choose to serve their overwhelming allegiance of self enrichment. The mindless followers of Bush are just as responsible as ‘Junior’ is for having started an unnecessary war that put us in danger and caused the genocide of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. All this to feed his egotistical self image and uncontrollable love of power. Here’s a scenario of justice; put a democrat in a foxhole under fire with Kerry and a repug in a fox hole with Bush then see how much smearing of war heroes comes out of that one. You might want to include a box of diapers so Bush doesn't skank up the foxhole while his loyal repug is changing his pants.

    September 27, 2007 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  13. Mia, Stafford, VA

    If Colin Powell can be taken advantage of by this administration, General Petraeus certainly can be.

    Lastly, as a military wife, trust me when I tell you there are LOTS OF POLICTICS that TAKE PLACE AS AN OFFICER.

    September 27, 2007 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  14. chris tampa fl

    republicans are not bitter the dems are bill was a good prez but he is the reason we are in the mess we are in he could have killed bin laden and the twin towers would still be standing. republicans and democrats suck

    September 27, 2007 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  15. RTH, Bellingham WA

    I have to disagree with Roger in Charlotte. If Petraeus is cheerleading for the Administration, rather than offering objective information, he deserves to be called out for his political grandstanding, uniform or not. I have the greatest respect for our men and women in service, but I don't expect them to be superhuman. They are prone to the same failings as everyone else.

    It appears – and the jury is still out on this, unless you're a big fan of Gen. Fallon – that he may be slightly partisan. That would call his judgement into question.

    September 27, 2007 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  16. franksmithva

    I believe Democrats have become totally desensitized to CRIME (Clinton screwing around with lover in Oval Office.) Clinton telling LIES to America, "I did not blah blah blah. DEMOCRATS HAVE NO MORAL COMPASS.

    September 27, 2007 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  17. Patrick, Cincinnati,OH

    "The difference is that your presidential candidate also wants to implement expansive social programs like universal health careThe difference is that your presidential candidate also wants to implement expansive social programs like universal health care"

    David.... the age is actually 67 already for those in my age group (late 30's). Lets see... health care for all Americans $ 110 billion.... Iraq war $ 500+ billion right now.

    I think I would rather support Americans and make a healthy American workforce that save Iraq thank you very much.

    September 27, 2007 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  18. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    The story of Swift Boat mouthpiece Larry Thurlow that I mentioned at 3:03 p.m. today settles claims that the Swifties were always truthful in their statements. It is possible that Kerry has something to hide. It is also possible that after the election he wasn't interested in pursuing a long lawsuit that wouldn't change the election.

    Let's take a different approach and think things through. Let's assume that Kerry is the totally useless, bumbling incompetent who claims medals he didn't deserve just like the Swifties claim. Then why should we care about Kerry when there are far, far more important elements that Bush supporters intentionally ignor? Think about it – if Swifties charges are true, this is one of the most condemning charges ever against the United States Navy. What Navy morons promoted him? What Navy morons gave him a ship to command? What Navy morons made him responsible for the lives of the crew? What Navy morons rated him better than half the other swift boat commanders? What Navy morons awarded him medals without any investigations? What Navy morons served with him and then, with one exception, stood by him during the Swifties charges? What Navy morons let him and those rated lower than him remain on duty? What Navy morons would want to appear with other Swifties who weren't rated as good as him?

    Those who trash war hero Kerry should worry about the implications of their charges instead. Was the U.S. Navy full of morons at all levels as their charges indicate?

    September 27, 2007 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  19. Laura - Tulsa, OK

    Jon in Seattle who claims Democrats are happier sexier wealthier, etc.

    Have you seen the Code Pink people ?

    If I had time I'd check spelling of Dem posters vs. Republican posters on this blog to disprove your point, but I've got to go have sex.

    September 27, 2007 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  20. Lisa Jones, Des Moines, Washington

    I just love Bill Clinton-such an intellectual. He has hit the nail right on the head. I would take a million Bill Clintons and Hillary Rodham Clintons over anyone running for President today. With all the crap, lies and bull$#@% that Bush has put this country through, he should have been impeached long ago. Bill Clinton had one manly indiscretion in the White House and lied about it, and many people in the USA think he is the worst thing created by mankind-what an ignorant country--forgive and truly see what is good and just for this country.

    September 28, 2007 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  21. Ralph Pyles Conroe, Texas

    Clinton and the democrats that are now in the forfront of the party are the reason I have elected to look more closely at other candidates. It is the steady run of double standards and flip flopping on issues as well as refusing to take a stand solidly and openly that causes my disdain. I have checked the recordes that are publicly open and researched the criminal,political, and personal histories of almost all of them. I now know why they want to controll the media and the judicial systems. Their just as guilty of destroying this country as are their counterparts. They take money from criminals, and some have commited crimes themselves, and with a controlled justice system sweep theirs under the rug and raise a nuclear explosion over their opponents discretions. Knowing CNN to be one sided and unbalanced in the media I doubt that this will be given a review or posted

    September 28, 2007 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  22. Steve

    I lost it on your comment where you say "mangos for jobs and nukes in India."

    Are you asserting that India acquired nuclear weapons under W's watch?

    No, Chip. Maybe if you were a little well versed in current events, you'd have some clue as to what I'm talking about. Your great leader gave India the motherload, and what did we get? Imported mangos.

    Here's a link:

    ...and how about his wonderful trip to China to negotiate against the trade deficit. What did he come back with? Nothing. In fact, Bush has NEVER been able to negotiate a deal beneficial to us on any level. So, in addition to being the worst President we've ever had, he's a lousy salesman, a terrible negotiator.

    Still support him? Of course you do. The ignorant is always easily manipulated.

    September 28, 2007 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  23. daveinboca, boca raton, FL

    Oh yes, the politics of political destruction is okay when it's MoveOn or another Soros-cide shill for the DNC. But if the Republicans retaliate, it's SO HURTFUL!!!!

    Time for Bill to go on Oprah & whine to his constitency-the brain-dead females who love John-boy Edwards.

    September 28, 2007 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18