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. Midge

    Kerry, my name was on your email list for 4 years, but I removed it the day I got the email that you were backing Obama. I make my own decisions on who I will vote for, and your endorsement meant nothing!

    January 25, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  2. Myrna Ulrich

    Bill really blew it for me as well!! I totally agree with What Nick Nas said in His Post!! I Use to admire the Man, and His Actions really blew me away!! He should be ashamed of Himself Period...... Maybe some New changes regarding spouses and FORMER PRESIDENTS SHOULD BE PUT IN TO PLACE!! Can You Imagine what the Rest of the World is thinking ???? Shame on the Clintons.. !!!!! I am so thankful I am a Member of the Green Party !! Myrna Ulrich, Cross Plains Wisconsin

    January 25, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  3. Obama support in Iowa

    Al Gore spent 8 years in the White House with the Clintons. He has not endorsed Hillary. That speaks volumes.

    January 25, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  4. James springfield mo

    I agree with the ny times obama is bright but he would not konw where to begin.

    January 25, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  5. lisa

    When I say that Kerry will turn on a dime....watch out Obama....next he will endorse Hilliary Clinton. His word is meaningless.

    Go Hillary!!

    January 25, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. Ejesse

    Thank you, Senator Kerry.

    January 25, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. charlotte

    Kerry slapped Edwards in the face with his support of Obama. Must be looking for what? VP?

    January 25, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  8. Coleman R. Brice, Asbury Park, NJ

    Thank you for expressing such profound integrity Sen. Kerry and taking a stand on what's right.

    OBAMA 08

    January 25, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  9. stan pitts pa

    To all the hillary supporters lying that they will vote republican when hillary loses the nomination, dont worry obama will do awesomely well in a general election because independents and some disgruntled republicans will make up for the numbers, voting in record numbers for obama, and most of hillary supporters now will vote for him too, once the full truth about the clintons is exposed and they realize that hrc doesnt really care about them, she only cares about her familyin the white house, and winning at any cost!

    January 25, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  10. Sam Rechi

    I felt sorry for Kerry when he lost to an idiot like Bush and now after four years, I sorry for him again, it's just a different sorry this time. Poor Johny, can someone put a pacifier in his mouth, he might just cry again?

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

    Kerry is a loser, he's had his chance an blew it. Let someone else have a chance and keep your opinion to yourself

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

    billary is a two headed monstar, i think they both know what they are doing and it's just a test because obama got this, just stay the course they are only turning off people like me "voters" and who cares about the voting present, to me that just tells me he's not going to rush into any decision. does anyone know how i can get anderson cooper's autograph????

    January 25, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. Bart

    Bill Clinton not telling the truth? I'm shocked!!

    January 25, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. fabio S.

    Bill Clinton: you are dividing the democratic party in your hunger for power.

    Republicans in their debate are using the lines that you and Hillary are putting out there.

    Your wife geting the nomination, is the only way we can loose this slam dunk election. Hillary as a candidate is the ONLY thing that can unite the Republicans in an election when none of their candidates would otherwise have a chance. There's only one thing they all agree on: They hate Hillary. With Hillary as the alternative, you could get a even pro-life evangelicals to vote for Giuliani!

    You need to stop! I have lost all respect for you. If you continue, you will no longer be remembered as the great president that you once were.

    January 25, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. Diddy

    The question is why hasn't AL Gore backed his former Bosses wife? He's won the Nobel Peace Prize and still didn't make an endorsement. He should have first hand knowledge of the 35 years of contributions from Hillary...then again maybe that's why he hasn't endorsed her....Sounds like we should be listening to the Silence folks.

    Go OBAMA!!!!!

    January 25, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  16. John

    Bill and Hillary: both are political hacks and are using this political system to spread lies for their own personal agendas. They are the heroes of the ignorant. Let's Rudy in there to finally clean up this mess.

    January 25, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. Richard

    How does one "abuse" the truth? Either something is true or it isn't. I think Sen. Kerry is upset about President Clinton's opinion and perspective but I don't think Clinton is "abusing" the truth.

    January 25, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  18. caresaboutissues

    Well, I am an Independent and was leaning toward Obama, but bringing Kerry in to fight the battle (for that "together" reward?) has turned me off. Kerry apparently doesn't get it that turning his back on those who have previously supported him (both Bill Clinton and John Edwards) belies a character that implies that the Repbulican's "swiftboat" charges might have had some merit. To be honest, I was already turned off, because Obama, who claims he can unite the country, hasn't done much to promote unity in his own party. All he needs to do is stop the backward volley of accusations and criticism from his own side. If he could demonstrate the ability to reign in the overzealous in his own camp, he would show me that he is truly capable of leading this country in the right direction, but I am losing hope.

    January 25, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. TJ

    Will someone please primary John Kerry?

    January 25, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  20. Chris

    Kerry has a huge set to come out and say these things about the people that supported him in the past. In this atricle he does not even say what Bill said that was incorrect. He most likely hopes Obama selects him as VP, that is the only thing I can think of.

    Two for the price of one....Go Hillary!!!

    Chris from Staatsburg

    January 25, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  21. Texas Voter

    Paul Williamson:

    I totally agree with you. Unfortunately, these people will never admit this and will not vote for her. Hillary will always be a target because she represents the Democrats best chance to win back the White House. I think we will commit political suicide if Obama gets the nomination. Makes you think why Obama gets favorable news coverage - even from Republican commentators. Joe Scarborough is always
    praising Obama and putting him on a pedestal–every chance he gets. Joe is a Republican. So is Pat Bucannan but at least Pat remains objective and neutral unlike Joe and Chris Matthews.

    January 25, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  22. SJ

    Hey, ACT

    How old are you? 18-19? Until you've lived a little and raised children, don't begin to think you fully understand the way the world works.....By the way, the Untied States is not a high school....this is big people stuff.......

    FYI Age to Vote is 18

    January 25, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  23. Don

    Clinton supporters are negative? Obama supporters are frustrated? First, I wouldn't believe most of these people who write here. However, Clinton supporters in what I have noticed, do not resort to calling Obama names, bring up his marital situation, and call him nasty names. I can not same the same for Obama(?) supporters who have called Hillary everything under the bridge. Why are so many people scared of this women. I have researched her past,her record, and she is not EVIL. As for this continued re-write of history, Clinton never attacked Obama until she was attacked by him and Edwards, weeks before Iowa. People need to do their homework.

    January 25, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. Ron

    Once again we see there is very little the Clintons won't do to win. What I really find amazing is the number of people who can't see "IT'S ALL ABOUT THEM". Frankly, they turn my stomach. Americans always claim they want to get the crap out of politics, and then they fall for it HOOK, LINE, and SINKER. It's actually pretty sad....

    January 25, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. Obama support in Iowa

    I just had a very scary thought. What if Hillary won the nomination and then picked Bill as her VP runningmate. I think I'd leave the country.

    January 25, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
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