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. Vic, Las Vegas, Nevada


    Someone else said it earlier...Kerry should stick to what he does best...Loosing elections and putting his senate buddies to sleep.

    The Clintons did more for African Americans than most people know.

    The Obama's are initiating a race war and Opra's right there fueling the fire.

    There was and is NOTHING about this race issue that comes anywhere close to benefiting the Clinton's but on the contrary, it sure does benefit Obama...AND THE REPUBLICANS! WAKE UP PEOPLE!

    Vote for experience not race.




    January 25, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  2. kevin from alaska

    All these people attacking Kerry.. who are you kidding? If he was running for re-election right now you'd all be singing his praise because he'd be the incumbent Democrat. Bunch of hypocrites.

    January 25, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  3. Frank

    Well, if John Kerry had more character and substance, he would have been able to win! Especially when he ran against a candidate that is not so superior in intellectual ability or knowledge! But again, Kerry and Obama have similar empty words! It is a good thing that John Kerry has a strong woman behind him otherwise he would probably be a no body!!!

    January 25, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. TC

    Notice that the Democrats who are criticizing Bil Clinton (Kerry and Daschle)...are the very one's who were unable to effectively COMPETE against the GOP's dirty tricks. CNN as barred Paul Begala and James Carville from appearing on their political programs, because they are PRO HILLARY.

    The fact that Obama ALREADY cannot withstand the rigors of the election process (generally, any scrutiny of his very thin record...), proves Hillary's contention that she is the candidate to take on the GOP.

    I was initially for Edwards, but have switched to Clinton. Far from Hillary politicizing the issues, Obama and Edwards are attempting to stay 'above' politics, whilst going for the top political job in the world. Both Kerry and Daschle lost with this approach.

    Go Bill!

    January 25, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    I can conclude that the Democrats doomed! Another term of Republican presidency is ahead. Democrats are divided. Guess what? It will be easy for any of the republicans to run against either Clinton or Obama. You can't imagine Clinton running against republicans. You all know the fact. On top of that, Bill is messing it up. Obama won't win republicans either. When you read the above comments, Clinton supporters are Obama haters. No question about that.

    January 25, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. Monique

    As Mitt Romney said " I would hate to see Bill Clinton with nothing to do in the White House."

    January 25, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. Senkump

    I think Clinton's have developed bipolar disorder ... it is time to quit politics and take rest. They have spoiled the ethics of election. People are not so dumb to believe their allegations. The more they blame Obama the more they are losing the votes. Obama becoming the next President is inevitable.

    January 25, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  8. Tlc

    I agree with Kerry. I must say that I am more than tired of hearing Senator Clinton claim she does not want this race to be about gender or ethnicity while her husband brings up gender and ethnicity at every turn. I can't respect hypocrisy

    January 25, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  9. fredo

    Clinton is the luckiest person I have ever seen. He seems to get away with almost anything. It is amazing his charm still works on Americans. There are some who even wish the law would be ammended so he could run for the third time. Well, I think that wish is being granted. Bill is running again.!!! All Hillary has to do, is to be a figure-head. And Bill will do the rest!!! Go Bill, your nemesis is waiting for you at the finish line!!

    January 25, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  10. Hillary Voter

    Obama 08:

    Oh, but it's okay to slam Sen.Clinton and President Clinton? Your comment sounds so plastic. Have a good weekend!

    January 25, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  11. Woz - Los Gatos, CA


    January 25, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. D-MT

    And the wheel on the bus goes round and round....now Obama's wife out on the trail speaking for her hubby, just like Bill speaking for Hillary, and there's nothing wrong with this in his case right? WRONG! What is good for one camp and fair for one camp is fair for the other, so if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen. I am so tired of Obama's constant whining and his constantly having others whining for him. His wife whines, Oprah whines for him, his supporters whine, he whines and HE HAS EXCUSES FOR EVERYTHING. To hear him speak, he never makes mistakes and could walk on water... GIVE ME A BREAK. The last thing we need is someone in the Whitehouse who cannot accept responsibility for his actions, who is incapable of making a decision good, bad or otherwise, and we sure don't need someone who can't stand up and be strong against candidates in an election with mud slinging. What would he do in a real threat situation? I am so tired of his image of being a uniter. Didn't George Bush claim to be a uniter, and look how well that worked out. Obama is a mess, unorganized, inexperienced, weak, and just not at all capable of taking the country in any GOOD direction of change.

    January 25, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  13. Karen SC

    Obama needs to quit acting like a victim and call off his whining supporters. He started this and the Clintons are only showing that he is not as pure as he pretends to be. He also attacked the Clintons on several occasions, smearing and manipulating the truth. Also, his campaign needs to stop making it about race. It is not. I wouldn't vote for Hillary just because she's a woman. I am voting for her because she is the best choice we have! If I thought Obama or Edwards were better, i'd be voting for them.

    January 25, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  14. john

    "Also when he was President black unemployment went down and black home ownership went up"
    That is debatable at best.
    If you look at the lower income bracket's, unemployment did not go up, and those that did i would say it was UNDER employment at best. Look at the number now...not then, becuase sustainable policy is what matters, not short term gains and band aid approaches.
    Homeownership! Look at the mess we are in now. This predatory lending did not just spring up over night, this was started with Clinton, continued with Bush and here we are. African Americans were targeted for these ARM loans, to boast minority homeownership......shame on all who have been president for the last 20 years.
    We need to break from the royal families in this country. Lets try some outsiders......

    Thanks for speaking up Kerry.

    January 25, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. Abi

    Excuse me, John what?? KERRY? Ooh please can someone tell the man to shut it? What has he ever done to the African-Americans, Clintons are household names there... who knows him?? LOSER is the word!!! Swiftboat!!!

    January 25, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. Douadavid

    I thought that I knew Jonh Kerry and support his play form when he won the democrat nomination for president. No , I did not know this guy at all . He was a big loser and will always be with a loser like Obama. You vote for Hillary and you be smarter. Hiiiiilllllllaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyy 4444444444 President !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 25, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  17. Robert Bell

    The Hillybots will no doubt say that John Kerry is delusional or a tool of the "far right" or some nonsense.

    The TRUTH is the TRUTH, and Obama NEVER SAID he "admired Reagan".


    Hillary HAS said on the record she admires Reagan.

    We have to stop this DEMONIZING of opposite political parties.

    It is NOT constructive!

    Hillary has cleary demonstrated she is a DIVISIVE character and cannot lead in a BIPARTISAN manner.


    Think about that. Hillary, on the other hand, is a treasure-trove of illicit activites.

    "The Clintons did more for African Americans than most people know."

    REALLY? Like WHAT? BE SPECIFIC. All this talk of "Clinton did so much for blacks" and "Hillary has done so much for New York" is very vague and nonspecific.


    January 25, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    If Bill Clinton did not enter into the fray on the side of his wife Hillary then you and others would ask why not and criticize President Clinton for not helping his wife.
    I suspect that Obama and his supporters expected to have the nomination handed to him once he threw his hat into the ring.
    Obama hasn't even served one term in Congress, he served in the Illinois Legislature, where being elected was determined more by your district and the political party you belong to than the person themselves.
    Even Obama's win as Senator was tainted, he ran against Alan Keyes who was brought in from out of State by the Illinois Republican party that was in disaray.
    Let Obama serve a term or two in the Senate to confirm his claims, before we trust him with leading the nation.

    January 25, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. Harvey

    Look your self directly in the mirror, and say this and repeat at least 10 times:

    "I am a loser".

    You are talking about the truth. Just like Obama, you could never sort facts from fiction in your head. I am not sure how you got to the national scene.

    We love clintons. Go Hillary Go

    January 25, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. Ann

    Kerry is a loser who imagines now he will get some advantage from Obama. Too late Mr. Kerry.


    January 25, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  21. sharon walker

    Dear Friends:

    Where is my comment CNN? Freedom of speech! Constitutional rights!
    Are you predjudice?

    January 25, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  22. Renee' Va.

    Democrats are childish, immature, and stupid. I bet if you had to use your real names you would be a little more careful in what you say. Gosh where are all the adults in the democratic party. Kerry has endorsed Obama so what that is his right. Democrats are losers all it takes is one butthole to say something ignorant and than you all fall in one behind the other trying to out think the previous poster. Stay negative, and weak sorry losers.

    January 25, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  23. Bruce, Harpers Ferry, WV

    As a Republican, I'M LOVING THIS!!!!! Bunch of loser Democrats.

    January 25, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. concerned

    it's so sad to see how biased CNN is against the Clintons. When Michele Obama says something – she is great. When BIll
    Clinton campaigns for his wife – he can't say anything right in their eyes.
    MSNBC is even worse – Saw Andrea Mitchell today interviewing someone from the Clinton campaign and she was down right nasty and making snide remarks during the interview. What has the cable network come to –
    They are supposed to give us the news not be biased.
    Won't watch MSNBC and leaning toward not watching CNN either.

    January 25, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. Bob

    John Kerry criticizing Bill Clinton. Unbelievable. Kerry 's a has-been. EVERY politician out there stretches the truth or spins it their own way. CNN and the rest of the media should put a lid on it all except the issues. This mud slinging by every bozo is sickening. Please stop. Someone have the guts to tell me why it costs me $80.00 a week to get to work, why a pound of American Cheese is $6.00, why corn and corn syrup is being put into EVERYTHING causing the price of beef to go up because the cows need corn to eat. I want to see a headline that says, "DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE PROMISES TO BRING SANITY BACK TO U.S. SOCIETY".

    January 25, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 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