January 25th, 2008
06:27 PM ET
14 years ago

Kerry blasts Bill Clinton for 'abusing truth'

ALT TEXT

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. GREG KLINE

    Thank you so very much John Kerry. You speak for many frustrated sickened voters, those of us paying attention, who do our political homework,who dream of better days and better ways. I hope your voice cuts through the Vegas fire story, so that voters can hear truth from a credible source before they vote. I have more respect for you than ever. Thank you for your honorable service to this country. Thank you.

    January 25, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  2. benvictor

    Wonder what John "the Loser" Kerry is hoping to gain by injecting himself into this race for the Presidency. Someone ought to tell him that he lost once, and that is enough for America. What is his motive?

    January 25, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. Elinda

    Kerry is such a loser ... and so very disloyal.

    January 25, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  4. Stella M. Rice, Carbondale, Il 63903

    I wish there would be less petty squabbling and more issues related to people.Of course, Mrs. Clinton is the most qualified so she should just let Obama be angry and shrill. She doesn't need to respond to his attacks! He's just frustrated, because he knows he can't win!!!!!

    January 25, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  5. Ryan

    Hey, when there was a Surplus in the american economy I didnt see you talking Clinton trash! Now think about, what have you heard bad about Obama, oh wait, the media is too scared to say anything, he might cry!!!!

    January 25, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  6. Justin

    John please sit down. While you're right in this instance much more perniciously you have attempted redeem your long record of falsehoods by portraying the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as liars. Thus your term 'Swiftboating". Amazing how your construction of this term turns the truth on its head. Changing truth into lies and lies into truth. Magic. With a healthy infusion of propaganda from the MSM you may actually succeed. One hopes not as this further degrades the health of American political discourse.

    January 25, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. Oliver

    The whole thing is "very unfortunate" for the democratic party because many Independents like myself are pretty much done with the democrats this go-round.

    The Clintons havewreally turned me off of the democratic party...AND I WAS ACTUALLY INTERESTED...BUT NOT NOW.

    Guess what?

    Gore, Kerry (former close friends) and many others know the truth, so the American people should wake up to the Clintons non-sense.

    By now everyone should be quite sick of the Clintons!

    January 25, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  8. hillbilly

    You watch, Kerry will vote for Obama before he votes against Obama...

    Go Hillary!

    January 25, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. Satan

    Who is Bill Clinton??

    January 25, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  10. M.S. Garcia

    I am not voting for the Clinton "s"....................
    One is just as wishy washy as the other.
    Their appearance together is a farce.

    January 25, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  11. Daniel Burns

    I get a kick out how Democrats suddenly appear dismayed and distressed to learn Bill Clinton is a liar. Welcome to the party. Now, if a goodly number of you will simply have the decency in November to keep these two from becoming, once again, the Distractions-in-Chief in our national life, everything will be fine.

    January 25, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  12. JC

    Oh come on! Kerry is a jealous loser! He lost and has never got over it! May I use the words of his wife, Kerry should "shove it". Maybe Kerry is hoping for the vice! Hmm!

    January 25, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  13. KH

    Let the two deocratic factions fight itout for themselves without someone elses 1c (which by the way was worth more when the Clintons were in power) worth of input/FUEL (could buy more of that per gallon in the 1990's)!
    Trying to get back into some kind of limelight John Kerry after LETTING Bush win the 2004 election? Mister Obama, what really is thsi change you have stipulated? What do you have to show and give to this saturated country? Your words show no action or credibility! If you were of another race would you have got this far? THINK people, don't take face value liek you have always done....America wake up!

    January 25, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  14. Shawn

    How can anyone say electing Hillary Clinton will result in no change. That's ludicrous. If she's elected it will be the biggest shakeup that Washington has even known. She's tough, she's got heart, and she's smart. She should win the presidency because of these qualities- it doesn't matter that she's a woman- she's the most qualified. Obama's idealism is also important for the process- but he's just not as sharp as Hillary. The debates tell it all.

    I like McCain too – he's honest. However she's got more of what it takes, except for the military background, to be a great president.

    And as for Bill- don't take off the gloves now- this is an election.

    January 25, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  15. ascencioncastaneda

    Shame on you John, They worked on your behalf and this is how you pay them bac. I voted for you but I would never ever again.

    January 25, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. ascencioncastaneda

    Shame on you John, They worked on your behalf and this is how you pay them bac. I voted for you but I would never ever again.

    January 25, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. Allison

    WOW !!! John Kerry where is your loyalty?? You asked Bill to campaign with you and then throw him under the bus. They have always said keep your friends close but your enemies closer. I know where you would be.

    Go Hillary 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 25, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  18. Gene, Dallas, TX

    John Kerry – how scary – Mr. Flip flop himself. I just never ceased to be amazed by people's stupidity. Who cares who Kerry endorses? Obviously, the man is full of himself but who cares? As far as Barack goes, oh Lord, please help us if he wins! Talk about racism reversed! All the people with the hands out attitude sure will be pleased.

    January 25, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. rafael

    to all of you "MORONS" attacking Kerry for saying THE THRUTH remember, bill "I did not sleep with that woman" never got over 50% of the vote in 92 or 96!!!

    January 25, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. Kim

    Humm, all that butt kissing, me thinks someone is looking for a VP bid. I don't know if I would want Kerry on my side after the last mess he made.

    January 25, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  21. always a democrat

    No matter how much you argue "Slow and steady wins the race.."
    Hillary has been campaigning since 2004..

    obama is "empty vessels make more noice"

    Go hillary...

    January 25, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. annoyed voter

    Obama's campaign is founded on distorting his own record, dodging the issues and hiding behind this empty "change" banner. Small wonder that he enlists the support of John "Waffle King" Kerry.

    January 25, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. Kenneth Dark Starr

    It's a strange day when I find myself agreeing with John Kerry but yeah, Bubba needs to get back to chasing skirts, saving the world from itself, and catching naps in church.

    January 25, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. JBH

    JOHN KERRY, look in your mirror and REPEAT THESE WORDS THREE TIMES A DAY:

    PRESIDENT HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
    PRESIDENT HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON
    PRESIDENT HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

    If heart palpitations occur, consult a cardiologist.

    January 25, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. Pam

    Bigdawg,

    They spew out this crap and they don't intend to back it up. Clinton had to address the lies as Obama is the media darling and they continue to treat him with kid gloves and not delve into his past or ask about important issues.

    Obama is one of the tailors who swindles the Emperor into appearing naked. Hopefully the majority of the people see through this rhetoric and nonsense.

    Obama has done more to hurt the Democratic Party than anyone I can think of by using the race card and others to spread his smear campaign. He uses the same tactics as Rove. He is not a uniter as he says in his speeches but a divider just like Bush with his "Patriot" card used to suppress questions he didn't want to answer.

    Charisma is also something used by very evil men. History teaches us this. This election is too important to follow someone using cult like measures. We might as well vote in Tom Cruise than Obama.

    January 25, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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