January 25th, 2008
06:27 PM ET
14 years ago

Kerry blasts Bill Clinton for 'abusing truth'


Bill Clinton campaigned for Kerry in 2004 (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CNN) - John Kerry, the Democratic Party's 2004 nominee for president, took aim at Bill Clinton Friday, telling the National Journal the former president does "not have a license to abuse the truth."

The Massachusetts senator, who endorsed Barack Obama's White House bid earlier this month, said Clinton's criticisms of the Illinois senator have been "over the top," and suggested the former president is getting "frantic."

Targeting Clinton's recent spate of attacks on Obama, Kerry said, "I think you had an abuse of the truth, is what happened. …I mean, being an ex-president does not give you license to abuse the truth, and I think that over the last days it's been over the top.

"I think it's very unfortunate, but I think the voters can see through that," Kerry added. "When somebody's coming on strong and they are growing, people get a little frantic, and I think people have seen this sort of franticness in the air, if you will."

The former president has faced criticism for aggressively interjecting himself into the race between his wife and Obama of late. On Monday, Obama said he feels as if he is running against both Clintons, a charge the New York senator’s campaign said was borne out of frustration. The former president himself later dismissed Obama's comments, saying “I thought he was running against me.”

Campaigning in South Carolina Friday, Obama said the Clinton campaign has stepped up its attacks since his Iowa win, and joked that it's good practice for him, so "when I take on those Republicans I'll be accustomed to it."

Kerry formally endorsed Obama on January 10, saying then that Obama "isn't just going to break the mold….Together, we are going to shatter it into a million pieces."

The endorsement was seen as a blow to both John Edwards - Kerry's running mate in 2004 - and both Hillary and Bill Clinton, who had campaigned on behalf of Kerry's presidential bid.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Bill Clinton • John Kerry
soundoff (1,583 Responses)
  1. Jim in Orlando, FL

    Go figure ! For once this Conservative not only agrees with John Kerry, but admires his chutzpah for saying what he has. More and more wwe are hearing that the "King has no clothes". Wake up America !

    January 25, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. Kerry's Back

    This guy is a patriot. It takes a big man to come out and stand tough against the Clinton's. Lets see if they attack him now....

    January 25, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. James, Houston,TX.

    John kerry, are you still Swift Boating or does that Chin come with a Strap?

    January 25, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  4. Darth Vadik, CA

    Clinton really need to take it easy.
    I know hillary has been put through the grinder by the right wing smear machine, and I symaphize for her. She has gone through more public mud slinging that anybody I have ever heard of, but...
    you need to chill Bubba, I am sick of these Repulican style attacks.

    January 25, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  5. stan pitts pa

    thats right kerry tell it like it is....." i did not have sexual relations with that woman" hmmm i dont believe a word that power hungry couple ever say, if their lips are moving they are lying!

    January 25, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  6. Vince

    The more theClinton's chose to go negative the more they hurt their own party in the general election.

    Do we realy want to elect a President who views negative campaigning as "fun"? Who sees it as "Contact Sport". Bush and Karl Rove played this contact sport very well and look what we got!

    Did anyone else notice the big smile on Hillary's face after she made her negative attacks on Obama during the last debate? Do we realy want this sort of person to be our leader.

    January 25, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. truth squad

    Before you Clintonistas start attacking John Kerry as a sore loser- remember that Kerry received more votes in 2004 than Bill Clinton was ever able to in his two plurality wins of '92 and '96.

    January 25, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. Biggdawg

    I notice the Obama apologists consistently claim the Clintons are distorting or "abusing" the truth - without addressing the question: In what way?


    January 25, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. Jim


    January 25, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  10. Beth

    John Kerry is a looser...his words mean nothing

    January 25, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  11. Freida NYC

    Look who's talking... Kerry-the democratic loser of 2004!

    January 25, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. Ray

    I guess John Kerry is still upset he lost the last round.

    January 25, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  13. Ben, Columbus, Ohio

    As an African American, what has John Kerry ever did for us? He needs to stay out of this and just SHUT UP! At least the Clinton's have actually done something for African Americans!!! He couldn't even fight in the last election! Just be quiet and go make some Heinz.

    January 25, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. Illinois

    Tell Obama how to win Kerry!

    January 25, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  15. Andrew Dixon

    Sen. Kerry became irrelevant to the Democratic party in particular and the whole country in general three plus years ago. Only the comedic world cared after 1984 for any length of time.

    He should stick to what he does best: putting his fellow legislators to sleep.

    January 25, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  16. Trevor

    Kerry's endorsement means nothing.
    to liberals everywhere, his loss is still fresh in mind.

    it seems as if he's just trying not to be forgotten.

    January 25, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. An Agnostic Democrat

    Thanks to you, honorable man, for being part of the truth squad and injecting something moral and ethical into this Clinton slimefest. You're bravery to speak out against these Rovian political tactics is greatly appreciated, and you (once again) have served your country well. Too bad they Clintons haven't taken any notes or learned anything from anyone with all their "experience" in Washington.

    January 25, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. Ray

    I guess John Kerry is still upset he lost the last round.

    January 25, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  19. sharon

    Will someone at cnn give us a break like I care what kerry has to say tthe only change the old dogs want are the ones thier trying to put in place Obama will be easy to handle compared to Hillary Go Hillary

    January 25, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. Democrat for life

    Right on Kerry.

    January 25, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. Cheryl

    I once had great respect for Bill. Now, I am disgusted by the sight of him. He will sacrifice his, legacy, and the American people just so that he and Hillary can monopolize the White House. Bill you are a Lying, Cheating, Shame to all Americans and your party. Good job Kerry, its about time someone stood up to this hypocrite. Bill and Hill wont get my vote. I'd rather vote Republican just so that you dont get the White House. Greed, the root of evil!

    January 25, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  22. Douadavid

    John kerry deserved to to be a big loser. He was a crying baby like Obama. A loser is always a loser.

    January 25, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  23. carol

    I am so sick of this you need to know what the people want we want Hillary and
    Barack to stop fussing and then maybe 1 could be president and 1 could be vice president.That would be so wonderful..................

    January 25, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  24. brende

    Yes, all you leaders who care about the democratic party this is your time/chance to save this historic moment that will meanso much party and to all the Americans. John Kerry thank you

    January 25, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  25. Chris

    The DNC should ban Bill Clinton from abusing his power as a former president and misleading others to vote for his wife. Again old political tactic. Why can't Clinton's run a positive campaign? Goes to show what type of president she will be. Full off deceit and lies for another 4 years.

    January 25, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
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