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. Luke

    As much as I try not to bash, it's oh so fun sometimes...

    I hope Hillary comes in third in the South Carolina primary. Maybe we'll get to see both Clintons crying this time.

    2028 election prediction: Chelsea Clinton vs. George Prescott Bush.

    And finally, John Kerry, do you really think you're going to persuade a single person to vote for Obama?

    January 25, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  2. Ed Stack

    Kerry is one of my past mistakes....you would not qualify to be a dog catcher.....that should teach Clinton to avoid helping the helpless......especially the party helpless..............

    January 25, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. jm

    This makes me laugh because since that last time Kerry came out and spoke about how President Clinton was wrong for what he has said, President Clinton has not made any comments.

    Kerry once again comes out and complains about President after the fact. It sounds like his political Career to me.

    January 25, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. DD, New York

    If Obama can't take the Clintons' heat now, he should jump bail as how the heck is going to handle the GOP's heat if he wins the democratic nomination????

    January 25, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. Ron

    What I really don't want to see is another Republican in the White House. For some reason people seem to hate Hillary. They don't even know why. either they don't have a mind of their own or they want reason the matter out. This lessons her chance in the Gereral Election. Obama can not win the South and you can not win the General Election without the South. You want to put a Republican in office just support Obama for the Democratic nomination and see what happens. Edwards is most likely the best candidate to win the General Election. He is male, white and pretty much has the same score card as Hillary and Obama. I really want to see a Democrate in the White House and I feel that the long odds in the General Election lay with John Edwards.

    January 25, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. Frank, San Diego

    Let me see. Pathetic loser versus two-time winner. Who do I go with here?

    January 25, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  7. Penny

    There was once a time I had a favourable opinion of Bill and looked forward to Hilary's candidacy. But after seeing them up close and personal, esp hilary it is appaling and very scary that she could be become President.

    Obama is so much more real. So down to eart and unifying. What a fantastic president he will make.

    Go Kerry!

    January 25, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. jp

    Hillary as the Democratic nominee plays right into the hands of the Republican party.

    Wake up people.

    Obama '08!

    January 25, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. Felly

    Bill and Hillary are knuckle heads. I'm disgusted with the Clintons. They are so paranoid that they have added poor Chelsea on their campaign bandwagon. Who needs another Bush-Clinton dynasty? This is not Europe. Some Americans are so naive to be voting for Hillary– buy one, get one free. Go away Bill and spend more time with your concubines. You have diminished the office of the Presidency and your legacy in the anals of politics.

    Well done Kerry, at least you did not inhale!

    January 25, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. v.ananthan

    There is a differance between husband campaining and other political figures campaining.

    January 25, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  11. Katy Hill Prescott Az.

    Hurray for Kerry!! More people need to speak up and tell Bill to put a cork in it. He had his chance and blew it, literally. His wife may have 35 years experience dealing with a cheating husband, cheating friends and cheating businesses but that hardly qualifies her to be president.

    January 25, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  12. Mike

    I used to have respect for president clinton but now I have even more!! We love you Bill. keep up the good work. Oh John Kerry seems like an unlikely person to be giving campaign advice.... oh well my two cents

    January 25, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  13. Dara

    John Kerry speaking on Bill Clinton's lies....that's an oxymoron. Hmmmm, why does't he mention the numerous lies that Obama has made? Guess Kerry does't like seeing Obama getting spanked by Hillary during debates. She clearly out ranks Obama on SO many levels. It was Obama who started the attacks and answered every question with a zinger against Hillary. 
When pressed about his own record however, he was very defensive but later admitted that "no one was clean".

    Primaries are supposed to be a killing field. Their purpose is to finish off weak candidates and get their bodies off the field. Kerry is, was, and will always be weak – and so is his decision to support Obama.

    January 25, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. JT

    If "the Clintons" win, I will be voting republican for once. THAT's what independent voters will do. THAT's why Hillary could lose a general election. THAT's why Obama would not lose the general election.

    Obama will unite.

    Clintons will always divide. Always.

    January 25, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. Robin

    Yep – there you go John Kerry being an idiot again. I actually voted for you. Keep your mouth shut, you are much better that way. Did you ever hear of political strategy – oh that's right – you lost to Bush because you had no strategy!

    Barack isn't innocent either – they all play these games, but stay out of it John. It needs to die down so we can get down to business and win this election. If the Dems can't win now in light of everything the Repulicans have done to this country – then they have real problems!

    In case you're wondering, I am undecided – I am either voting for Hillary or Barack. But let's stop the in fighting and take one page from the Republican play book that HAS worked for them in the past – show a united front no matter what.

    January 25, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. christine

    Bloggers: If you are saying "If Clinton wins... if Obama wins... I'll vote Republican" - are you really willing to cut off your nose to spite your face? The knee jerk reactions don't change anyone's mind. You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, but could we try to have some intelligent, well-thought comments?

    January 25, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. Jill

    I do not trust Obama whatsoever even more now that kerry is backing him.
    Leave Bill alone. He was a good president. So he lied about a sexual matter involving cheating on his wife. I do not care. That has nothing to do with how he ran this country. I am still not impressed with Hillary however she may be the best bet we have.

    January 25, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. John in DC

    How funny to see all the Obama surrogates from Dashle to Kerry coming out to defend their boy and criticizing Bill Clinton! Of course they want to protect their candidate that they all want to bring to the White House to keep their entrenched power. Kerry was a total incompetent that lose the last election for not fighting back hard to the Republicans. Flip flopper #1

    January 25, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  19. Jorge

    What is wrong with abusing the truht? That's wath we need the truth and only the truth. We don't want to be like those republicans that all they have done this past 7 years is abuing lies.

    Go Hillary!!!!!!!!

    January 25, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. karen south carolina


    January 25, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. Female voter for Hillary

    Never mind that Bill Clinton campaigned for him in 2004. Oh, that was okay back then. What Kerry has to say is irrelevant. Bill Clinton was elected twice. He couldn’t get elected once! And it sure wasn’t Bill Clinton’s fault. Kerry’s appeal was weak, not effective nor aggressive enough that is why the lost the election. His predicted voter turnout never materialized—young people didn’t even come out. More than 45% of eligible voters didn’t even turn out to vote—even in the pro Bush states. Glad he’s on the Obama side. Kerry is nothing but a billionaire who cannot relate to the average American. No matter how much he tries or gets up there and gives his speeches—he’ll never relate to the American people. Right now he wants the limelight and the media will give it to him.

    I never could get excited about the Kerry/Edwards ticket, but I reluctantly voted for him. I regret that I ever did. I should have gone with my gut feeling about him and Edwards, but I wanted my party to win. I have learned a valuable lesson though—I’ll never vote for a candidate I do not believe in just so my party will win. Can I take my vote back?

    January 25, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  22. Obama 08

    You people who are slamming John Kerry make me sick!! Tell what you have accomplished for your country before you call any one a LOSER (at least spell it correctly)

    Bill Clinton's support of Kerry was tepid at best, Bill Clinton avoided the draft, and John Kerry lost the election because he tried to run an honest campaign.

    Unfortunately he too was running against a "machine" but at least he learned a lesson and is willing to put up with this ignorant abuse to tell voters that the Clinton machine is dishonest, divisive and totally absorbed with gaining power no matter what they do to their party and country.

    January 25, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. Jim

    Do we want a president that voted for the Iraq war before they knew the facts? Do we want a president that will make decisions before they know the facts? Senator Obama is clearly the most intelligent and the only choice for president.

    January 25, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. Mark

    Kerry is still looking for a voice. He is the one who actually LOST to Bush!! Now that's something Kerry should be blasted for!!!

    January 25, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. Barbara

    If you look at the number of African Americans that Clinton appointed when he was President you will see that no other presidency compares. The people who are appointed can push agendas that support African Americans. Also when he was President black unemployment went down and black home ownership went up. Why shouldn't African americans support the Clintons?

    January 25, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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