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. Lizman

    With this race I see how America needs help... The smart America long time dreamed is over. Can anyone help this country to get out beyond the obvious.
    Please Obama why did you insulted your intelligence by joining these liars????

    January 25, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. ACT

    Well said ANDREA!

    "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 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. Michael

    Bill Clinton needs to take a break to cool down.

    January 25, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. Elizabeth K.

    The type of campaign the Clinton's are running goes against the very core of all that I see Obama is. Observe Obama...He is intelligent, uses wisdom, truth, and respect in 'all' situations. The tone of his campaign resonates who he is and how he leads....the way he leads is to be admired. His record of integrity & what he has accomplished coupled with his clear ideas and plans for our future, and his being so consistent in the admirable way he leads is what I'm noticing . Obama is getting my attention as his real concern for our country is rising above the Clinton's (concerned, too, I'm sure, for our country) tactics to win.

    January 25, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. Jim

    Not that I care what John Kerry has to say, he became irrelevant when he lost the election, it’s nice to see someone calling out Bill Clinton and the Clinton campaign.
    As a young person I don’t know a world without either a Bush or Clinton in a position of power. Bush Sr. elected as VP when I was a toddler, then 8 years later he’s president. Follow his 4 year term with 8 years of Clinton, then 8 more of Bush Jr. That’s 28 years of Bush – Clinton, to we really need to tack on a minimum of 4 more?
    Hillary’s out there claiming that she’s got 35 years of experience. Stretching it a bit there when she was elected for the first time in 2001, and spent 1977-1993 as a corporate lawyer. And does being a first lady really count as “experience?” Are you allowed to tack on your spouse’s experience as your own, because if you can I’m practically a CPA. Anyone trust me to do their books?
    And as an African American I can't see why I "should" blindly support Hillary. She wasn't elected when times were supposedly better for us. Bill was and he's not running (though some times it's hard to tell). Can't have two presidents and Bill seems pretty set on getting back into the White House.
    We need a change, no more dynasties in the White House. I’m a staunch Dem. but if she wins the nomination I’ll be seriously considering the Rep. nominee (and praying it’s McCain).

    January 25, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  6. Matt Davenport

    Shut it kerry

    January 25, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  7. me

    Now I lay me down to sleep, I HOPE my slumlord will keep me in heat and not CHANGE his mind and UNITE the money with Obama for another stump speech!

    It kills me to read people will vote for McCain if Hillary is the Dem nominee, what a load of it, who do you folks work for, Republicans or Obama?

    Anyone who will vote a war enthusiast like McCain who is just an older GWB is kidding no one!

    America is broken at home and abroad and the Republicans want people to believe Bill will roam the halls of the Whitehouse doing nothing, give me a break, Bill is very well respected in the world and he can do plenty to repair America’s with other governments! The mess the Bush and Dick show caused at home and abroad will see a much faster resolve for America with the Clinton’s team than any other candidate! Those who think that the Republicans are scared to face Obama are blowing smoke up a hole, they will rip him to shreds and Obama has proven he will sit there and take it just like Kerry did!

    January 25, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  8. Jeanie Washington

    I am glade to see Kerry, speaking up. its about time. how easy we forget about the damage Mr Clinton has done. Does anyone or they are just stupid forgot how Mr Clintion lied to the country, under oath. Now if he can do that. he will lie about anything, the sad part is . Hillary is apart of him if you stay in the same mud with someone long enough you are just like that person. I fell we will be sorry, if she gets into office. i WISH SOMEONE WOULD SPEAK OUT. IT LOOKS AS CNN IS TRUNING ON Obama. i wounder why this country is in such bad shape.
    Jeanie W.

    January 25, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  9. Kathy

    "......not have a license to abuse the truth....."

    I never thought Clinton told the real, honorable truth ....just told his own truth which we all learned was not the truth.

    During Bill's time as president – with the lies and deceptions he fed us – and his wife standing by him – when she did not leave him when he left office, I lost all respect for her and when I see/hear her lose her cool in the debates, when I see her shed tears – respect is still gone and if I cannot respect a person, I cannot believe in the person.

    When I look at how Hilary presents herself – I feel so deeply that I do NOT want her sitting in the White House. When I hear Bill talking on her behalf – I do NOT want him there helping her run this country of ours. I actually fear what night happen if they are in the White House because we all know they will be in there as a team. I felt the same fear last go around when Bush was running – and when reality hit – I knew my fear was valid.

    January 25, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  10. lisa

    Kerry's opinion does not matter. He does not know what is up or down unless someone tells him. He didn't make it the first run..........duh....that's a no brainer. The fact that he turns on a dime....watch out Obama.........that's a no brainer. As I stated earlier Kerry's opinion does not matter.

    January 25, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  11. Brian

    This comes from the man who, during the 2004 election, said kids should make sure they get an education "so they don't end up in Iraq." Mr. Kerry isn't exactly a Rhodes Scholar, is he?

    BOTH Clinton and Obama are "stretching" the truth. For example, Obama did say that the Republicans have "been the party of ideas," which Hillary stretched into saying he supported those ideas. Obama has done the same thing to Hillary. None of these are acutal "lies," but it isn't necessarily the "truth" either.

    The biggest lie out there is when one of the candidates (or their surrogant) pretends like they're innocent of being negative. Grow up Hillary and Obama - you're acting like Republicans!

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

    They have a license to abuse the truth when they're campaigning. They have a license to abuse the truth while they're President.

    Most of them DO stop abusing the truth after they're done... but then, most of them don't have a strong self-interest that compels them to lie once they're out of office and on the gravy train for life.

    January 25, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  13. Lizman

    A smart man like Obama can work effeciently anywhere! Why did he joined US politics dominated by big lies and big money without real people interest. Obama deserves more that being insulted by some idiots because he went in thiss race.

    January 25, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. Madar

    Go Obama Go.

    it is clear that you are president in waiting and new dawn for United states of America.

    January 25, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  15. Jeff

    I really can't afford it and I dislike Mr. Obama's socialist agenda, but $25 is on its way to help him fight against Billary. We've had 16 years of lie after lie after lie. We don't need 4 more or god help us 8.

    Please, just GO AWAY Billary. Go back to cattle futures and book advances and snapping thongs.

    January 25, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  16. Patrick

    Correct me if I'm wrong, being a Canadian and all..... I understand Obama is running for the democratic party nomination, I even understand Hillary is running for that too. But I don't think Bill is, even as self centered as he is.......

    I would love to hear from Gore and who he supports. Even though he was Bill's vice president he never got any support from them when he ran for president. Probably because he would have gotten in the way of Hillary's and Bill's aspirations of her being president. The Clinton's thinking of the national interest, I doubt it, more likely just thinking about themselves........ Again.

    January 25, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  17. maynard


    January 25, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  18. Frank Chase Jr,

    Be very afraid of the Clinton and Bush family rule in America. This dynasty must come to an end simply because it didn't work in Great Britian. America is becoming a Monarchy. When two families have controlled this nation for 16 years, and then there are those who blindly want to add four more years on the Clinton regime, I'm afraid, very afraid. Wake up people!! It's time for a change. I'm voting for Obama not becuase he is black. He's simple the right person for the job and that's the bottom line. The status quo must go. One man doesn't make the office of the presidency so stop using excuses that Obama is not ready. The country is run, the Excutive branch, the legislative branch, and the Judiciar brach. This is what makes up the presidentcy.

    January 25, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  19. Mark

    Bill Clinton lying?!?!?

    how is this news?

    January 25, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. Wanda Kelley

    There was a time I was very undecided between Sen. Clinton, Obama, and Edwards. The more the Clintons are attacked, the more sure I am I will be
    voting for Hillary Clinton. I do not believe it's the Clintons making an issue of race. They have always been for the black people - Should Obama be above criticism just because he is black? Should President Clinton not be allowed to speak up for his wife as all the other spouses do because he was once president? I am a democrat but I will not vote for Obama - and I was once a fan.

    January 25, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  21. CTS

    ...and Kerry always tells the truth!. Have you ever seen an honest politician? I don`t think so.

    January 25, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  22. David, Chicago, IL

    I do agree that President Clinton has been a little moody lately, but listen to what he says. He gives solid facts. Why is it Sen. Barack never has any facts to defend himself with? All bickering aside, Sen. Barack is a great guy but now is not his time. America has huge wounds to heal and Hillary, like it or not, has the experience and will power to bring Americans together to heal these wounds. I have lived in Chicago for four years and really liked Obama until I started watching the debates. He never seems to answer a question. He elaborately dodges the question. He's great looking and very inspiring, but we need a president with experience this time around.

    January 25, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  23. The only chance to win in 08 is Clinton

    Anyone saying they would change there mind from Voting Democrat to vote Republican better get to stepping dont let the door hit you on the butt on the way out we dont need your sorry butt.

    The Democratic party stands for turning around this mess the Republicans and ignorant Administration of George W. Bush. If you dont get that then take a thick stick and beat yourself with it tell you do. Look around everything that was a positive from the Clinton years has been screwed by the Bush years and War.

    We had so many Higher paying jobs and the deficit was paid and had huge surplus. You could open a news paper and see job after job and not low paying jobs but really good paying jobs.

    If you are stupid enough to think others will vote with your republican buddies who have screwed up the economy the War and just about anything you can name that important. Blame yurself if you vote with them hopefully you lose your job first if you vote republican,

    If you want to win and turn things around for the better Vote for Hillary in 08 she can win and will with our help. Democrats Independents and Republicans United behind a winner.

    Hillary in 08 "Ready on day one!!:

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

    Make no mistake, Bill Clinton is running for president again. People should wake up. This is pratcially a violation of the law. Are we really going to put a president that has already served two terms BACK into The White House?

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

    Its amazing to see how the media continue to feed the public this type of nonsense and it gets eaten up with a shovel. First the talking heads get embarrased by the polls in NH then they continue to bring in the race card and now they are calling it "negative" when you ask someone "RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT" what their record is?? Are you kidding me America!!?

    No wonder you got Bush last time. WHAT about the issues? Isn't anyone concerned with substance and who can right this global catasptrophe that started with the weak US market? The world wat you Americans to elect a doer, someone with a track record of success not fancy speeches..STOP listening to this type of "National enquirer type" coverage.. Im a Canadian and we like the rest of the world need a Strong and prosperous America! We are counting on you!

    January 25, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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