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. Dallas Guy

    And by the way, to all you Oprahbama-ites, plenty of us Hillary supporters will also be voting Republican if Oprahbama is the candidate for the Dems!

    January 25, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  2. Andrea

    For all the Clintonistas spouting the line that "Obama is negative too," congratulations, you've been a tool and are being manipulated by Mark Penn and Howard Wolfson; that's precisely what they've tried to do the past 3 weeks is to drag Obama as far into the mud as possible so that people would say, "see, he says negative things too."

    Senator Obama was never negative until he was dragged into the muck but the B&H tag team. Just as anyone would do, he's not going to stand by and let a former President lie about him.

    As the saying goes, campaigning against the Clintons is like wrestling with a pig. You both get muddy but only the pig enjoys it.

    January 25, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  3. Joe

    John Kerry is correct and doing a service to the country to point out that former President Clinton does not have a license to abuse the truth. Here we might remind ourselves that the former president was often far less than truthful during his years in the White House. Indeed, we might wonder how truthful Senator Clinton has been during what she regards as her 35 years of experience. For example, we might ask if she really did just find those files pertaining to White Water Gate on her desk and have no idea how they got there?

    I hope that the voters will recognize the Clinton's as politicians whose abilities attract many and whose character flaws repulse many others to the point where they contribute to the polarization of the country. I hope they vote against the Clintons.

    January 25, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. Frank

    Well done Kerry, the Clintons work mafia style, and someone has to teach them that doing the right thing transcends personal interest. The Clintons are conduncting this campaing as a personal affair not as a country need. Thank you for put them in their place.

    January 25, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. Bob

    John Kerry is a loser and he should just shut up. If not for his imcompentent campaigning Bush would never had been re-elected.

    January 25, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. Mike, Seattle

    Kerry's just lobying Obama for the VP spot on the ticket. Wait for it. Obama/Kerry, I can see it now. God help America.

    January 25, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  7. JJ in NY

    How can you tell when the Clintons are lying ? When their lips are moving .

    January 25, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  8. SJ

    Sen. Kerry is just upset because he chose NOT to fight back 4 years ago....Had Bill Clinton fought for him as feverishly as he's supporting and fighting for Hillary, Maybe Kerry would have won....Kerry is a baby that couldn't stick up for himself and now only went to support Obama to tick off Edwards....who by the way blamed Kerry for losing the 2004 election by NOT STANDING UP FOR HIMSELF!!!!

    January 25, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. Jon Schenkemann New York, NY

    If Kerry had half the spine he is displaying now, he could've responded to the Swift Boat campaign...but he didn't and now he gives advice to others. Too funny

    January 25, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. nfy, texas

    What a jerk, Clinton was there for Kerry in 2004 like no other. But, who really cares what Kerry thinks.

    January 25, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. ACT

    It is obvious lot of these comments are coming from Clinton campaigners and staff, keep it up, this democrat will make sure Clinton will not get 10’s may be 100‘s of vote.

    Give it up imposters Clinton is too old for the problems and issues we are facing today. It is like asking your parents to fix the issues at your high school while you where a teenager. See that is a FAIRYTALE

    January 25, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. Rich

    I can't believe my party(democratic) is going to blow another election by electing Hillary as the the democratic candidate. No way can she beat McCain. Obama on the other hand appeals to more independents, and could easily put away any Republican candidate. I for one, would never vote for Hillary Clinton. I'd rather abstain, or vote for a 3rd party. But never, never, never would I vote for Hillary Clinton.

    January 25, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  13. Obama support in Iowa

    I see a trend here. In general, the Clinton supporters are agressive and negative (similar to their candidate). The Obama supporters seem frustrated because they can't understand why anyone would continue to support a candidate that has shown such reprehensible conduct. What would you tell your children if they were caught lying to get what they want? It sounds like some of you would probably reward them for that behaviour. Maybe that's why we're in such a mess in this country.

    January 25, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  14. IM4ULORD

    Some things never change. This isn't anything new.

    January 25, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. Chevyk

    This is the kind of man we need as vice prez. Yes dont be surprised by an Obama/kerry ticket. Obama has been very civil during this whole fray only defending himself when he needed to. Of course the mans not perfect but Obama is the best we have in america to be president. The clintons have LOST EVERY SINGlE OUNCE of ResPecT from me. I AM AFRICAN AMERICAN AND I BELIEVE IN BOTH OBAMA AND AMERICA>

    January 25, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  16. VA Democrat

    Geez – what kind of president is NObama going to be if he needs to get John Kerry to fight his battles?

    January 25, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. Brian

    We've already endured 28 years of Bush/Clinton in the White House. That's already longer than a hefty list of British Monarchs. Our forefathers endured weeks on ships with little food and water just to avoid such a system. Look at us! We're about to vote for a system that our ancestors and soldiers have given their lives to keep us away from. No two families should every be so powerful in a democracy. ANYBODY BUT BILLARY '08, but preferably Obama '08 🙂

    January 25, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. jm

    I'm so tired of the Clintons, did we not had enough of their scandals the first time around! And, honestly do their actions surprise anyone? As a repbublican I'll vote the party line if Hillary is on the ballot. Put Barack Obama on the ballot and I will consider voting for him as the next President of the U.S.

    January 25, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  19. Jeremy

    Did someone say John Kerry? yawwwwnnnnnn...........

    January 25, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  20. Anne

    Who cares what Kerry thinks? He's going to end up hurting the Obama campaign with his big mouth.

    January 25, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  21. Case, Savannah GA

    Dont you people understand that Hillary is not electable. Average independents will not vote for her over McCain. If you want a Republican vote Hillary. Sorry it is a fact. Obama is the only hope for Washington to change. Hillary will be more of the same. We have had 28 years of Bush and Clinton in the Exectutive office and our country has less and less ground to stand on. No MORE!

    Real change = Obama

    January 25, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. mary

    John Kerry is now endorsing a candidate other than the man he chose to be his VP running mate in 2004? Just when I thought he could not possibly lose any more credibility....he does.

    January 25, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  23. amandi anaeze

    John Kerry!!!!!!!!! so you are still upset that it was b/c of Hillary's comments when you mispoke about the America'n soldiers in Iraq that you had to shelve your 08 bid for the presidency???? Lets wait to see the next millionaire that you will propose to.

    January 25, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  24. Tod McGinley,Sun City Center, Florida

    I am ashamed of John Kerry since Bill Clinton supported him. If Bill doesn't support his wife, what man is going to back her up for this very important task to run our country. Olbama simply doesn't have the experience, & they both do, even though it does hurt. It has to be difficult for a husband to stand by, & see how nasty people can be to his wife, when she has done so much for our country, & he too. Wake up John Kerry, & swallow your pride. Thank you.

    January 25, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  25. lor maggia

    Kerry is the KING of FLIP FLOPPERS...

    January 25, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
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