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. John

    This coming from Mr. FlipFlop himself

    January 25, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  2. joe





    January 25, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  3. Michael

    Kerry is a loser....whose flip-flopping on the war exposed him as the spineless jellyfish we all know he is.

    Funny how John Edwards was good enough to be his running mate in 2004... and good enough to become President if Kerry were elected and then something happen to him....but now....Edwards isn't "good enough" to beat out an inexperienced 1st term Senator with no foriegn experience.

    Not to mention....asking the Clintons to support his Presidential bid in 2004... but now not willing to return the favor.

    If John Kerry endorses Barack Obama.....I see that as a CLEAR INDICATION that Barack Obama IS NOT the right man for the job.

    January 25, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. Karen

    John Kerry should be quiet. He made an unsuccessful bid for president. Nobody cares about his endorsement of Obama except to note that is showed complete tactlessness. If he could not endorse his former running mate he shouldn't have endorsed anyone. Now he is going to attack the Clintons??? He should stay out of this one before he does more damage.....what a sore loser.

    January 25, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  5. Amy

    Barack is really the only one who is best qualified to unite country and get things done for the country because he does not have the negative history that the Clintons have. This country can not afford 4 years of gridlock with Hillary Let's get to work with Obama in '08. He can make it happen.

    January 25, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  6. Erin

    Finally some gumption! Tell that rediculous power tripping socialist couple to shutittt because everyone is sick of their antics.

    January 25, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  7. JT, Denver

    Kerry is an idiot too. All these people need to just shut up!

    January 25, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. Kris

    This isn't good for Obama at all. Kerry is not someone you want to be front and center at any part of your campaign.

    January 25, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. Democrat from NY

    Senator Kerry ..I dont really admire you but what you said is so right.

    January 25, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. Chris, SC.

    Amen John! Thank you.

    January 25, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. MB, Louisiana

    As if anyone cares what John Kerry thinks.

    Sounds more like Kerry running to Obama's defense to try to sheild him from the big bad Clintons.

    The more these men come out against the Hillary the more tough she looks to me and the weaker Obama looks.

    January 25, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. Ted

    Kerry 's a fine one to talk about abusing the truth .He blew the 2004 election !!!
    You talk about a LOOSER .And a Obama backer.Kerry know Hillary has a better chance of winning than he did in 2004 and he can't stand it .

    January 25, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. Jenny

    He's right about Clinton, but the same could be said about Obama who has too many ties to corrupt interests like Tony Rezko, no matter how he tries to lie his way out of it. Last night it was all exposed.

    Thing of it is, John Kerry is guilty of this too, he lied to displaced tech workers in '04, and all the while, Kerry owns more stock in outsourcers like Microsoft than any other member of congress, republican or democrat. He made profits from voting to give Bill Gates more visas for foreign workers, knowing full well that there was never a worker shortage in the US. He's scum in my eyes and I voted for him in '04.

    I will never vote for either Clinton or Obama, I'm voting for Edwards.

    January 25, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. W James

    The democrats just can't resists the temptation to snipe at one another.

    January 25, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  15. r sisk, nevada

    Gee, what a surprise that Kerry who backs Obama is speaking out against Clinton.

    January 25, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. Ron, TX

    Kerry is 100% correct. The Clintons are losing their minds. It's disgusting that an ex-president would abuse his power by outright lying about a fellow democrat's positions and statements.

    January 25, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. carol

    CNN and the other channels – all of you need to take the word "NEWS" out of your titles. None of you report News – you have a select group of self absorbed announcers that go through a mindless exercise you report as interviews with a bunch of has beens that you dig up from the coffers and throw the entire country into a tizzy.

    Hillary '08 and '12

    January 25, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. Darryl

    Finally the truth comes out...

    January 25, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  19. J.J

    Bill is lying and that is why many democrats worried about. He and his wife are't helping democrats to win the white house in 2008. They are smart but disshonest.

    January 25, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  20. Todd

    So, what is new? Bill Clinton "abused the truth" for his whole eight year term. Why is Kerry making a stink about it now? Why wasn't Kerry standing up for what is right when he had the chance several years ago?

    January 25, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  21. Alisa

    I think we would all do good to remember that Former pres. Clinton has a habit of spinning the truth "I did not have sex with that woman" not that long ago we had to decide that he really didn't know how to tell the whole truth. Many forget that the problems in this nation did not start in 2001 when Bush took office he (Bush) inherited many of the problems neglected and brought forth by the Clinton administration. Bush choice to ignore many domestic problems and therefore only let them breed. Do we really want another president who will ignore local issues.

    January 25, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  22. Paul

    A president with the lowest approval rating in memory; A notoriously unpopular war; an economy in the tank and the Democrats will still find a way to lose this election with their infighting. Please, for the sake of us Democrats waiting for a sign that you morons will get your act together, try to save this election. Makes me sick to listen to any more of this. I will certainly go to the polls and vote but I may vote for another party. Guess which one. Yep, McCain is looking pretty good!!!

    January 25, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. Jay

    Here we go again. Obama and Clinton finally yesterday calmed down on the attacks, and now we have Kerry starting it up again! These are typical Obama tactics to start another round of fighting. Clinton shouldn't take the bait.

    January 25, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  24. Roxanne NY

    Somebody ought to tell Kerry that all of this, the candidates put behind them when they pulled their respective ads. I understand that he's dreaming of that job as the Secretary of Defense in an Obama administration, but the Clintons didn't rain on his parade when he had one, he ought to just not remind us Democrats too much of the loser he was. The guy suddenly found his guts now in another's campaign. What makes him think that we Democrats like him more than we do Bill Clinton. All that we see, hear and smell when the name John Kerry comes up, is how he chickened out in challenging Ohio during the last election.

    Great that the coward has finally found his voice, but it is three years too late. John Kerry, disappear!

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

    and again why are we still talking about Bill Clinton. can we stick to only the candidates CNN and the real issues. This is getting ridiculous. CNN= Clinton Negative News.

    January 25, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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