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

Kerry blasts Bill Clinton for 'abusing truth'

ALT TEXT

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. James, ky

    They all are the same, well except for GWB no one can break a country like he has,but can any of them fix this mess? I think not...we are screwed

    January 25, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  2. Lida

    Senator Barack Obama showed Americans that race should not be an issue when running for President of the UNITED States when he won Iowa. When Bill Clinton thought that Hillary was going to lose, Billary played the race card. As a southerner himself, he's fully aware of the divisiveness that race plays in the country and he's fully aware of how most Americans will react to the race card. Bill injected race into the campaign and it looks like it's playing out very well. Senator Obama had no reason to run on race; he's multiracial and has tried to run a campaign that doesn't drag people down on race. But the Clintons were not going to have it that way and Hillary is as much to blame as Bill. Guess they'll try to make amends on race after she wins the Democratic nomination. It's a sad state when the best candidate for the Democratic nomination happens to be a person of color. The 'say anything, do anything' campaign of Billary has done irreparable harm to the Democratic party. As a woman, I won't cast my vote on someone this divisive. With the Clintons hoping to be back in the White House, we'll go back to the scandals of the past, since integrity doesn't appear to be high on the Clinton's list. Hillary does not provide the change the country desperately needs. If Billary wins the nomination, the Republicans will get my vote.

    January 25, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  3. Marcia

    Boy, talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

    January 25, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  4. Caliman

    Kerry the Loser adds another lost on his long losing streak. You didn't win the presidency...get over it!

    January 25, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  5. Dusty

    Old Billy never lies or steches the truth does he? He gave my kids quite an education.
    I don't much care for Kerry but i'm glad to hear him say what I've been thinking about both Clintions.
    This country may be ready for a women pres. but she's not the one.

    January 25, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  6. ov, ca

    Kery tells the truth. No more Billary!

    January 25, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. me

    It is really too bad Sen Kerry didn't open his mouth in 2004, then we wouldn't be in the mess we are in now! Sen Kerry's disgraceful campaigning abilities gave Bush a second term and now we have to still listen to him?

    Maybe Sen Kerry should spend time apologize the the American people for opening the door and handing the keys over to Bush to destroy America at home and abroad, before he goes around being critical of candidates who are campaigning with fight and vigor he never had, or does he think the Republicans won't pull another "Swiftboat" again! Remember something Sen Kerry you are talking about a "former President", a title you will never have because you blew it when you had the chance!

    January 25, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. Mike, Richmond, VA

    Did the democrats and republicans switch tactics for this campaign? And where is the reporting on the issues? This year’s election is a joke thanks to the politicians themselves and the media.

    January 25, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  9. H.ROSS

    300 thousand below the market price. What thats all about?

    January 25, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. Eddie

    Clinton is a man's man. He knows how to fight fire with fire and obama is really to much of a wuss to fight the republican spin machine.

    January 25, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. backbone

    "This whole thing could be settled if the Clinton's would step forward and help a fellow democrat. " ....eh? What you mean John?

    January 25, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. andrew vadasz

    Bill Clinton should have left well enough alone. Why is he so desperate to have Hilary win? I think the answer is obvious. He wants back in the limelight. As well, with all eyes on the two of them, it's been cramping his style (if you know what I mean). If she wins, she's in for 4 years no matter what he does at that point, and he's free to roam the White House once more looking for new adventures.

    January 25, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. Franklin

    Bill is getting old and Barack should just address the issues and pick his battles very professionally. It's not appealing for either to argue about irrelevant issues in the media and the American people are in such a bad position. Let Clinton talk himself to sleep(literally). Move on.

    If you know the accusations aren't true, for as hard as it would be to not say anything...ignore them or put out an Email addressing the remarks. Email is a powerful tool. The facial expressions and the way you publicly handle yourself in the public's eye speaks loud and says so much to the public and media(some gestures become abused and mistaken).

    If you say you're above the behavior then show it. Jesus had all sorts of things said about him but he never really reacted in a state of frustration.. he was quiet most times and the truth spoke for itself down the line. A quiet answer calms a heated remark. They can't argue with themselves. Keep your poise Barack, they win if they move you and your character to respond in anger or retaliation. It's not pretty. Hillary vowed to end the bickering on the Michael Baisden show yesterday , they're waiting for you to do the same.

    Let Bill have his time, maybe if he could regroup his character and quiet himself he could get some sleep and stop sleeping on the job. He's better when he's sleeping .. more peaceful.

    January 25, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  14. Bob, Seattle

    Kerry should know all too well.

    January 25, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  15. Tino

    ONE QUESTION : WHAT THE HELL DID THE CLINTONS DO FOR AFRICANS-AMERICANS ? Please i need a real answer.

    January 25, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  16. James

    I think it's highly funny that Kenny is slamming Clinton, but didn't say anything to the Swift Boaters. Shows you what a loser he really is

    January 25, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  17. stan pitts pa

    greg you said it best! John kerry is a war hero, who didnt dump his fellow comrades or brothers-in-arms he fought for them and with them, he is a true leader, anyone who has served this country and fought for our freedoms is a true hero to me!!! unlike some others who did all they could to avoid serving and defending this country !!besides as noted above just because someone made it to the super bowl and lost doesnt mean they were a bad team!

    January 25, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  18. Liar Liar

    Let's stop the "abusing the truth" etc. The words in plain English are "lie" and "liar". Yes Bill, this means you!

    January 25, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. Eith

    I question if the Clintons or the Clinton machine has any moral values. How can one stand before the same nation and public whom they shamed, so publicly and globally?

    What will their nomination, if they do win, say about Americans to the World? That nothing shames u - even our public, government (political parties) or our legal courts when we so blantely lie to them, at the highest office of the nation?

    Go Clintons. We need your disgrace around the world. We will be a nation of liars and wrestlers who will tell any lie and say anthing to win, in the land of the shameless - America.

    January 25, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. stan pitts pa

    the republicans will chew and spit out hrc, they have got way more ammo against hrc than obama, at least obama all of his are out there and he the public is well aware! they cant wait to go after her! white folks in iowa showed us the way America, by voting for the best candidate, we all have to follow their lead whites/blacks /hispanics and make the right wise choice to actually not just give us a fresh start, but to get something done, somehow i dont see the republicans waiting with open arms to work with hrc, tooo divisive, vote obama!

    January 25, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. Zach

    Don't force-feed us Obama

    January 25, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  22. Denise

    As fas as I am concerned, the Clinton's have lost my vote and if she becomes the nominee, I will be voting Republican for the first time in my life.

    January 25, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  23. Eith

    I question if the Clintons or the Clinton machine has any moral values. How can one stand before the same nation and public whom they shamed, so publicly and globally?

    What will their nomination, if they do win, say about Americans to the World? That nothing shames us - even our public, government (political parties) or our legal courts when we so blantely lie to them, at the highest office of the nation?

    Go Clintons. We need your disgrace around the world. We will be a nation of liars and wrestlers who will tell any lie and say anthing to win, in the land of the shameless - America.

    January 25, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  24. Joann, Cranston RI

    Before you people go trashing the Clintons you need a reality check. Watch all of their debates and "criticized" speeches and ads once more. they said nothing wrong or racial yet the Media spun everything out of proportion. That's who we should be blaming – not Clintons nor the Obamas. Neither side intended for mud slinging or bring race or gender into it. The media unfortunately took every word they said out of context and that's all they chose to air. Obama isn't a saint and I'm sure you'll see that in the near future. Go Hillary.

    January 25, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  25. Jack

    John Kerry, is a jealous person. He had a chance in 2004, which hes lost to George Bush. During the 2000 election Bill Clinton won over George Bush Sir. Kerry, needs focus on his act and leave the Clinton along. Why he did not support his running mate John Edwards? Shame on you.

    January 25, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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