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. Derek

    We're missing the point here.

    Hillary cannot win the General Election. Kerry and all the Democratic Senate leadership know this. She and Bill's recent antics make that all the more clear. Just look at how many Democrats would rather vote for McCain or Romney than Hillary. And then think about how Independents and disgruntled Republicans will vote. They will move to the Republican side. To loosley quote Romney; "I can't imagine Bill Clinton in the White House with all that free time on his hands."

    Now find me a single Democrat that would rather vote for McCain/Romney than Obama. Bet you can't find one. And Obama can bring in Independents and disgruntled Republicans in a way that Hillary cannot.

    This is easy folks. Don't let your fond memories of the Clinton 90s get in the way of putting a Democrat in the office in 2008.

    January 25, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  2. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Ironically...I agree with Kerry too – I mean...even the Clinton supporters see that both Hillary and Bill make things up all the time (and won't even answer the most basic questions) – if he gets the nod....then its proves that truly nobody is listening

    January 25, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. jw, canadian,ok

    Amen, stan pitts pa – Kerry didn't get shot in Alabama.

    January 25, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  4. OJC, Phoenix, AZ

    Right on Kerry.

    Isn't there a term limit for presidents? Bill you had your 2 terms, another stint of you in the White House is not what this country needs. I realize Hillary is running, but does anyone really think that Bill will sit in the background and allow her to run things?

    January 25, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. Conan

    Four years ago Kerry was the boy for half the Dems who are now here on this board slamming him for being a loser. Wow, talk about eating your young (or old as it were).

    January 25, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  6. Terry

    I had been a fan of John Kerry. This article has made me upset enough to drop off his email list. I used to respect John Kerry, but now he is throwing out more accusations which is not helping us come together in Unity. I'm sure Obama requested this action be taken but it's not helping the american people.

    January 25, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. Sally

    And so you have it: another chapter of Democrats eating their own.

    January 25, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  8. Kitty, Denver, CO.

    I keep wondering why people say the Clintons did so much for African Americans during their term. Have people forgotten about Welfare Reform. That single policy helped increase poverty and homeless among African American women and children during Clinton's first term. The social cuts via this policy alone helped the Clinton admistration "balance the budget"–but at what cost? Look around and you will see many single-parent-women of all races struggling to make it by virtue of this policy.

    January 25, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. ACT

    Dez: I am with you! (2) – if Hillary get the nomination I will be voting for John McCain

    January 25, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. Amused, Las Vegas

    What the heck does "abusing" the truth mean?

    You'll notice that Kerry did not say that whatt Clinton stated WASN'T the truth – unlike Obama.

    Since the Obama camp never backs up their claims, is it because they can't?

    Not liking how the truth is stated does not make it less than the truth.

    January 25, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. Mom of 3 in GA


    January 25, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  12. JohnS

    Before and during IOWA, Edwards was seem as the ANGRY LOSER. In NH, Hillary cried, and she was seen as the "PATHETIC LOSER."

    Now that Hillary, with all her tauted years of experience has finally found her voice and has started to attack Obama, we are saying that a Good Man should not defend his own name.

    What does America really want? People consistently tell me that they CANNOT trust us because we are "unstable" and "untrustworthy." That we betray others so easily and quickly, very much like "Judas." What hurts most is that we can sacrifice "morality" for econonic gains!!!!!

    January 25, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. Heart

    I think John Kerry has learned a lot over the last 4 years.
    I admire him for seeing the truth in the Clintons.
    It's easier to do now that he doesn't need them behind him any longer, but it's STILL good of him to come out with this.

    The Clinton's have consistently manipulated people and lied to America for YEARS!

    Wake up, we CAN DO BETTER for '08!

    January 25, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. Art H

    Why is CNN providing news-space to this irrelevant voice from the past ? He is a loser and he probably feels that after his "endorsement", he needs to pipe up once in a while to defend his "protege".

    I was all for the fellow the last go around, till he folded up like a dummy once the Ohio results started coming in. Even when Edwards (his running mate) wanted the vote to be re-counted aggressively (there were several questions surrounding the "count"), this spineless mess went ahead and conceded, to "spare the country the ordeal of another re-count". What a joker and a loser.

    January 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. NJ Guy

    Mr. Kerry the Loser,

    If you had won your own state 4 years ago perhaps we wouldn't be in this situation today.

    January 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    I don't like John Kerry. tell him to stop making comments.

    January 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  17. Hawk,Texas

    Kerry, Who knows what is true and what is not true. how about obama's ties to a chicago slum lord. i wish i could buy a house for $300.000 under market price.as onama did from the slum lord.

    January 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  18. George T

    CNN quit discriminating against me just because I bring up Sharpton.

    With that said, I agree with Mr. Kerry. Clinton is, yet again, disgracing himself and hurting what little legacy he left. You never saw Bush. Sr. acting this way when his son was running for office. Even Barbara, while at times, testy, NEVER lied or cheated to make her son GW Bush look better than kerry. And Lord knows she could have with all the dirt out there about kerry's illegitmate kids.

    Anywho, Republicans are showing why they are better cut out for this. They are stronger and can take the heat (unlike Obama and Clinton).

    Also, Obama get rid of Sharpton. he is the one stirring up the race issue, so Hill and Bill can run with it.

    January 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  19. emma

    In response to Jenny talking about Obama and Rezko. I guess you did not see the picture of Hill and Bill, posing with the same Rezko, on NBC this morning when she was being interviewed by Matt Lauer.

    January 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. Joseph

    The Clintons really need to look past their personal ambitions and realize what is best for this country.

    I'm sorry Hillary, but your politics and policies of division are not what we as a nation need a this time. We need a uniter and not a divider, and I'm sorry ma'am, but you are the most divisive candidate running in either party.

    Anyone but Hillary '08

    January 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. Katejonw

    Who is Kerry?????

    Go Hillary '08

    January 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  22. Popeye

    Hard to port Kerry!

    Multiple torpedoes inbound from aft!!

    January 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. Bill Jr

    Poor John Kerry could beat out the dumbest President the US has ever had in George W so he has to beat up on the last Dem to have the keys to the White House.

    January 25, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  24. John



    January 25, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  25. David


    When a -good- president talks, people listen. But yeah, Bill Clinton was a GREAT president.

    January 25, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
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