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. stan pitts pa

    obama has no controlm over what john kerry says, i think john kerry is speaking from the heart, he knows hrc very well and he knows that right now, they will do any thing/say anything to get elected and that their campaign was never about the American pepole, but about getting bill back in the white house, mitt said it best last night: can you imagine bill running around in the white house with nothing to do? potentially trouble!

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

    I am a Republican considering voting for a Democrat this election. I see two problems. The line between Hilary and Bill is blurring. I question whether she can lead her campaign. Her husband is a good messenger and an incredible force. He has overshadowed his wife and made her look weak in her own cause. I have enjoyed the Democrats exchange of ideas until last debate. I really was listening to their ideas until now. I hate machine politics Republican included.

    January 25, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  3. Gayron Taylor

    No one said any thing when J. Kerry's wife said that "teaching is not a real job." Any one remember that one, that was Kerry's wife on the trail in 2004. She is just not as good and Bill. So I guess Kerry is a little jealous.

    Eustis FL.

    January 25, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  4. cindy

    Hey Folks..Get the Message ??

    Kerry endorses Obama and then says "TOGETHER we will break the mold"

    Obama dangles VP possibility under Kerry's long nose

    Sleeze-bags both of them


    January 25, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  5. Wayne

    John Kerry actually voted for the Clintons, before he decided to vote against them. lol. Give him 5 minutes, and Kerry will be singing Hillary and Bill's praises! Watch. Wait. and learn.

    January 25, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  6. m-ski

    Kerry is "right on" this time. clinton (bill) is way over the line with half truths and lies but thats nothing new for him! obama is running against both clintons and we are all smart enough to see that!

    January 25, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. Chris from CT

    Sen. Kerry – you are indeed – irrelevant. Back off. I voted for you in 2004 – regretfully so. Anyone that loses against G W. Bush can't really be taken seriously anyway.

    Hillary – 2008!

    January 25, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. Dan Campbell

    Some people in the media just can't stand the fact that Bill and Hillary are still loved by many in this country. The polls prove it. When Bill speaks, people listen carefully to him - however, the media tries so hard to spin his comments. Neither Clinton has said one thing is racially insensitive – only that Obama lacks experience and has not be 'vetted'. Those statements have nothing to do with race and are true. Those that are "Obama" fanatics should thank the Clinton's for doing NOW, what will be done 100 fold later.

    Clinton/Obama '08

    January 25, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    I think John Kerry is a guy who talked big about himself and kept changing hismind. It is time for him to stay out of the campain and let the American decide who they would vote for. Is not him and Edwards good friend and running together for president and vice president not too long ago. Tell him people can read through his mind and what he was trying to do. Don't try to play dirty trick.

    January 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. CAROLE


    January 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. frank

    It seems to me that Sen. Kerry is the desparate one as he was when running for president himself. He showed that he couldn't defend himself ,why is he trying for someone else's benefit now. Or is there an alternative reason.. VP ????

    January 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  12. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    So Kerry is now the surrogate for Obama?

    It's so nice to have a little truth an honesty–but Kerry chiding Clinton about going over the top...is over the top!!

    It appears that Obama is still following the Clinton campaign handbook of the 4 d's: deceptive, division, derisive, diversion...keep the water boiling...and the attacks mounting...until the water is so muddy...nobody knows who's telling the truth!!

    Thank goodness, at least Edwards has been taking the high road.

    January 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  13. ginny

    Yeah Dez, that makes a lot of sense. If Hillary wins the nomination, go out and vote in another four years of Republican. If that is the way you people think, you deserve what you get.
    The world was collectively shaking their heads when Bush got in for another term, and now it looks like you will do it again. No wonder your country is circling the drane.....

    January 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. Blizzard

    People let's get a grip. We are all DEMOCRATS. Any of the three is better than what the Republicans have to offer. A few of my friends and I did an experiment to see which posts have a chance to make it past the censorship of CNN. Overwhelmingly post that were bashing either candidate made it through, while conciliatory posts did not. Post stating that we were going to vote Republican before we vote for Clinton or Obama were published, while posts saying that we would vote for either of the Democrats, did not make it to the board. Why do you think that is ? I want you all to think long and hard.

    January 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. John

    This whole thing could be settled if the Clinton's would step forward and help a fellow democrat. They have been asked to unequivically diss the fruadulent email lies on Obama's faith and early education but they have dodged and spun the issue. Let me say this if the Clintons do not have the decency to put a stop to this rubbish and help a fellow Democrat then we Democrats should not help the Clintons get to the Whitehouse. simple as that. Vote Edwards or Obama is my honest opinion. definetly not the Clintons.

    January 25, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  16. John

    Somebody please tell me what Bill Clinton has lied about during this campaign?
    Obama basically said that that, "the last 15 yrs the Republican's were the party of ideas." Is that honest? 8 yrs of of Clinton and 7 yrs of Bush and the Republicans are the Party of Ideas? Give me abreak!!!! Obama like to dish it out but can't take it.

    January 25, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  17. Dan Campbell

    P.S. For those who say that Obama has a better chance of winning against the GOP aren't being honest (or at least aren't reading the polls). Clinton wins over Obama by at least 2% in those polls.

    January 25, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. Mike Vasen

    Kerry has taken two bird's (Hillary and John Edwards) for personal reason. I need a break. Kerry.....where is your plan for war? I am keep close watch on Presidential debates. I don't see much is substance in what Obama is talking hope people realizes this

    January 25, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  19. Judy

    Tell Kerry to take a hike

    January 25, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  20. Joseph

    For those criticizing Obama for voting to fund the war, wouldn't you want our young men and women to have the funding that they need to get the job done over there?

    I do not and have never agreed with the Iraq war, but I do support funding the troops if they have to be over there.

    Hillary sent our troops over there. Obama just wants to take care of them while they do the job our current Commander in Chief is asking of them.

    Hillary is the part of the problem, not a solution.

    January 25, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  21. Jack

    Ben in Columbus. Please give us a list of the things the Clintons have done for Black Americans. I don't think it will amount to much.

    January 25, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  22. jake

    why should elect someone who's going to be impeached? i mean bill was impeached why make hillary number 3?

    January 25, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. BSR-Houston

    Obama is going to kick butt in South Carolina! Let's Celebrate!

    January 25, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  24. aisha


    January 25, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. Newton

    What is this race for?? Who is the biggest moron???

    Kerry, Clinton x 2, Edwards, Obama are really turning this into a circus.

    It's not a time to turn away, people. Pay attention and find out what these people are all about.

    After the primaries, they will look you in the eye and act like one big happy family...

    January 25, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64