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. Bob

    His comments would mean more if he hadn't laready came out for Obama. He is slamming Clinton in hopes of aiding his chosen one.

    January 25, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  2. annie

    The Clinton big lies can't beat Republicans. Welcome to any idiot in this race for this America!

    January 25, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. Proud Californian

    Kerry not supporting Edwards who he chose as a running mate in 04 because he "believed that he's ready to become a president if anything happens to him" AND not supporting Hillary whose husband campaigned hard for him??? THAT shows what kind of a character this loser is. I regret voting for him in 04 !!!!

    Hillary and President Clinton have the guts to fight back unlike Kerry who kept quiet when the swiftboaters popped up!!!


    January 25, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. Bill T., San Jose, CA

    John Kerry is a disappointment to the Democrats party!

    January 25, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. Patty, somewhere

    Please........... I am getting fed up to the teeth of all Obama supporters calling Cinton a liar.
    This twisting of the truth by the Obama supporters to advance their own candidate is making me sick of listening to any of them and just wondering about the character of Mr. Obama himself who would allow all his minions to go and call candidates liars for him with twisted and baised facts to base those statements on..

    January 25, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. Joe, Wilmington DE

    How can the Democratic Party support people (the Clintons) who find it so easy to lie?

    January 25, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. AJ, IL

    When Michelle Obama speaks, she talks about mostly herself and Obama. When Bill Clinton speaks, he talks about mostly himself and Obama. Bill Clinton she be speaking of Hillary, not lying and spinning distortions about Obama. This type of politics is straight out of the Republican Karl Rove play book.

    January 25, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  8. Mauri

    Sorry John (Kerry), but you're going to lose again. Anyone that thinks every politician should be perfect should know that Bill Clinton heartily endorsed John Kerry in 2004 as evidenced in the photograph above. This writer did the same when every relative and neighbor disdained my support for Kerry and his wife. Perhaps he deserved the "swiftboating," and I know for sure he deserves all the criticism he's getting.

    January 25, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  9. Tou, Minneapolis

    The Clintons didn't do much for African Americans or any other minority group in the 90s. Where is the proof? Honestly, what did he do for African-Americans that is so meaningful that you guys can't seem to get his name out your mouth? Higher wages?? Wasn't Clinton who helped signed NAFTA, which costs millions to lose their jobs and drive down wages for people who only had a H.S. diploma? That doesn't stimulate the economy. The only reason why everyone did well in the 90s is because of the big Internet boom during that time. And let me say this, Bill Clinton didn't invent the Internet. The economy grew on its own because of e-commerce, creating more jobs, lowering unemployment not because some President made it so. Just look at what's going on in Michigan right now, auto workers there are out of jobs because they now make them in Mexico at a cheaper rate. I'm not saying Clinton wasn't a bad President, I'm just saying the guy or his wife shouldn't deserve that much praise because when it all comes down to it, all we really got was some good entertainment when Bill was about to get impeached. Wait a minute? We're about to put back into the White House, the same family that almost got kicked out. Does this make any sense?

    January 25, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  10. Carolyn in St. Louis

    It doesn't seem that the former President needs to say anything after the interview that I heard earlier...it seems that ther's a lot more the the Obama slum lord story than Senator Clinton eluded too – look out Mr. Obama – it will all be out there soon!

    January 25, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. Glenn, Cary, NC

    I have heard Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and now John Kerry call both Clintons liars. In fact, that seems to be the only campaign message that Obama has left. I have not heard any of them dispute an actual statement from the Clinton's; they are just calling them names. Isn't that negative campaigning? Isn't Barack Obama full of it?

    January 25, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. Scott

    Clinton Supporters,
    Go back and read the posts from your teammates about what Kerry said. You will see that without exception, there were responses in 2 categories: (1) Kerry is a looser or (2) CNN is biased and a junk-news organization. Not one is able to address the issues on there merits that Senator Kerry raises. Why? Because he's 100% right on the FACTS.

    And yet we hear so often about how anyone who supports a candidate other than Senator Clinton must be "immature." LOL.

    January 25, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  13. b.cushmeer

    Kerry needs to stop whining about Clinton and to advise Obama to "stay out of the kitchen if he can't stand the heat"

    January 25, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. Alex

    General Election: McCain vs. Clinton (NBC/WSJ Poll released 1/25/08) McCain 46, Clinton 44, Und 6 (McCain +2)

    General Election: McCain vs. Obama (Rasmussen Poll released 1/25/08) McCain 41, Obama 46, Und 13 (Obama +5)

    January 25, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. Kate


    January 25, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. Jim in Columbus, MS

    John Kerry is a bitter loser who couldn't even beat George W. Bush...the least popular Republican president since Nixon. Hillary Clinton is going to win and be 1,000 times better as president than Kerry could have been.

    January 25, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. joli

    Kerry you are such a loser!!!! You sat Idle while Karl Rove destroyed your own military service. Its easy to for Obama to claim someone is lying about him... buthe needs to address what the lie is... He hasnt because unfortunately for Obama these accusations are not lies. they are the sad truth... go back and finish your freshman term out in the senate and come back w/ experience in 8 years...

    January 25, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. Andrew Kenneth

    Mitt Romney hit a homerun with his comment,
    'I can't imagine Bill Clinton in the White House with all that free time.'
    Shades of brilliance

    January 25, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. Mike Longview, TX

    May I take back my vote for John Kerry in 2004?
    What a traitor!!

    January 25, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. Don

    John Kerry let us down in 2004 when he would not fight back against Bush. His word means little to me. He should have won that election. Now he wants to speak out. Sorry. Why would anyone want his endorsement?

    Go Hillary

    January 25, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  21. Lisa

    Uh Ben, I'm a bit confused. Name at least three things that the Clintons have "done" for African-Americans.

    January 25, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. Sharon

    I added a coment from 2:30 and it has not yet been displayed! CNN did you not like my comment? Well here is another one. I will not forget what the Clintons have done for this country through their public service. If fBill Clinton wants to campaign for his wife so be it! What's the big deal? Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama are doing the same thig. They don't get as much coverage but that's too bad. May the best man or woman win. Democrats we had better wake up! The Republicans are laughiing at us and licking their chops to take the White House yet again! I wonder if the idea to inject race into the campaign was Karl Rove's idea? Smart on his part. Well done Karl Rove you pulled one over the DEMS agaiin.

    January 25, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. S. Pennington

    And we should be at all interested in John Heinz Kerry because..........................

    January 25, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. Carol B., Maryland

    He's a long-faced, hound who has turned against BOTH Edwards and Clinton. Also, ANY of the top three Democrat candidates can do a better job than the status quo. Is there any other turncoats endorsing candidates?

    January 25, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. Frank

    Someone wants to be a vice president 🙂 His name starts with a K

    January 25, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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