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. dianna, ormond beach,fl.

    John Kerry got money from Rezko too. What a chump Kerry turned out to be. No wonder he lost. Also his speech writer is now working for Obama. Boy, it didn't work for Kerry.

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

    This life-long Democrat is totally disgusted with the Clintons' tactics and lying. They will say ANYTHING to win. I will not vote for them if THEY get the Democratic nomination.

    January 25, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. JW

    Clinton’s attack changed my mind about Obama. Obama is too good to be true. Something like crossing party line and moving politics into another level will never happen in a town called Washington DC. If you really want someone who can do something good for democrats, you need a person like Clintons, tough, dirty and willing to do whatever it takes to win. Kerry is a dreamer, too elite and too soft. Obama is too weak. If Obama could not take Clinton’s attack now, how could he take the attacks from republicans?

    January 25, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. Skippy

    Ben, Columbus, Ohio January 25, 2008 1:05 pm ET

    As an African American, what has John Kerry ever did for us? He needs to stay out of this and just SHUT UP! At least the Clinton's have actually done something for African Americans!!! He couldn't even fight in the last election! Just be quiet and go make some Heinz.

    Typical liberal – "what have done for me"? And what has the Clintons done for you. Welfare reform? Yes, thanks to the conservatives. Here is a good idea, do it on your own, you might like it. And time to grow up.

    And not one thing the courageous Swiftboaters said about Kerry were ever proven false. EVER.

    January 25, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. Pat

    Kerri has just now found his voice. He couldn't stand up for himself, he is totally irrelevant.

    January 25, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  6. KMF

    Kerry is spineless loser and I wouldn't trust the Clinton's with walking my dog.

    January 25, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  7. Chunnie2008

    The clinton's are bulldogs. they will stop at nothing to bill a dynasty, idiot bush, idiot bush, immoral clinton, immoral clinton. are the american people so very stupid, have they forgotten the clinton years, the man was impeached!!!. I don't want hilly billy to stop, let them continue, that way dems like my self would not vote for the likes of them, and yes I said them, because Obama is right he is running against the two of them. what a disgrace, they made the country a laughing stock around the world for eight years, and they want to do this all over again, like george the idiot did not do enough. I WILL NOT, WILL NOT VOTE FOR HER IF SHE GETS THE NOD. no wonder the children are doing so poorly in american schools, compare to the rest of the world. Your loyality to the creeps are dumfounded, I cant believe what I am seeing, wake up people.

    January 25, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  8. Mike

    Kerry, shame on you. You should used your brain more to win 2004 election but you lose it. Now you start to talk again. I think you're the one who need to send to Iraq war because you don't study hard !!!!

    January 25, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  9. PresObama

    President Clinton is probably one of the most effective and likeable Presidents in modern American history. His achievements are many and the people of America know this. This was illustrated when Hilary was behind in the polls and the minute President Clinton got involved there was a measurable change in Mrs. Clinton's campaign numbers ... for the positive.

    There is nothing wrong with spouses helping in these campaigns as we can all see the toll they have on all the candidates. We saw it in the eyes of Hilary when a supporter asked her how she was coping. This is a hard process!

    One thing we all need to be clear about however, is that we are NOT electing Bill Clinton for a third term. We are electing Hilary for her FIRST or me for my first just like President Clinton was elected for his first ... and he came out of no where and did very well for two terms. It wasn't fantasy, fairytale or a dream ... he made a difference.

    If Mrs. Clinton's numbers shifted positively once Prseident Clinton got involved because of the efforts of Hilary, then I have no problem, but if it was because of President Clinton, I must remind everyone again that we are not electing him to a third term, even if I would agree this would most likely be a positive thing for America, it is not reality.

    Support from spouses is inevitable as long as we all understand that we are not electing my wife, Mrs. Edwards nor President Clinton to a third term.

    Let's keep this positive and real. Let us all respect the process and may the best person win, for the betterment of all of us regardless of race or the things that make us different. Let's find our commonality, let's find the things that make us one.

    My name is Barack Obama and I want to be the next President of this great nation we call the United States of America.

    January 25, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  10. kevin from alaska

    Bill Clinton was impeached for lying under oath.

    Doesn't anybody remember that?

    January 25, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  11. astounded

    For all you folks who relate dirty political tricks to Karl Rove, I have news for you. The politics of personal destruction was invented by the Clintons in 1990s when BIll Clinton first ran for President. Where was Karl Rove then?

    This campaign is just more of the same and should illustrate well just what the Clintons are and always have been – amoral narcissists who will say and do literally anything to get power. They pose a clear and present danger to the USA.

    January 25, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  12. JD California

    The Clintons are not going to get my vote, now or November. I am disgusted at their way of suppressing a newcommer in the Democratic Party, Obama.

    January 25, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  13. Diana

    Hilarry would do anything to get elected! That includes destroying every shred of respect and credibility that her husbant had in the eyes of so many Americans (democrats or not) – myself included!

    I agree there should be some rule against former presidents campaigning and launching dirty attacks on behalf of their wives, family etc. If anything like this would have happened in a third country – say, Argentina, do you know what our press would have said? The "US is a shaky democracy, under the control of the Clinton and Bush polical dynasties, who do not hesitate to use dirty tactics to trash their opponents during elections" Or course, I am convinced US is a great, strong democracy. But we really don't need the Clintons and their political tactics again!

    January 25, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. Sarge in Florida

    Kerry is nothing but a WIMP that is why he lost the race in 2004...Couldn't even defend himself against the Swift Boat ads. Now he's picking on Bill. Hmmm is Obama maybe looking at Kerry as his running mate if he gets the nomination?

    January 25, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. Angela

    While the Democratic GOP's are bickering at each other , they need to try to stick to the topics at hand. We don't want to hear things about the other candidates personal issues, we want to hear what they are going to do, if elected. So please and I do mean please, stop down grading each other and try to be civilized people.

    January 25, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. Bill in Canada

    Don't sweat it Jim, even an analog clock is right twice a day. Perhaps it's so obvious it's nearly impossible to dismiss Clinton's behavior. I do wonder if he would have the moral character to condem the ex-presidents actions if he was on the team. Clintonian politics is never dull that's for sure.

    January 25, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  17. Marianne, NJ




    January 25, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  18. stan pitts pa

    yeah kerry might be a loser but at least he doesnt cry in front of cameras and bad mouths a state for not voting for him!

    January 25, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  19. JA

    Obama has a better shot at beating a Republican than Clinton – this is coming from a "moderate" registered Republican. I would vote for Obama, I will vote for anyone other than Clinton. I'd put W back in office (I just threw up a little bit in my mouth) before voting for Hillary. Hillary has it easy, if she wasn't to say something disrespectful she just has Bill do it... The Clintons are shady... can't be trusted.

    January 25, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  20. Mr. Jim

    To our African American colleagues;

    What exactly did the Clintons ever do for African American voters? Didn't Bill make the biggest entitlement cuts in history, essentially undoing the last of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society initiatives?
    What they have done so magically is convince every ethnic group in America (with words not deeds) that they were soley responsible for every civil rights act since the American Civil War.

    January 25, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. TrueConservative

    I love the acrimony in these posts. I was expecting something like this to happen, but feel free to tear the party apart yourselves. People like Kerry and Bill will take care of everything for us republicans, and we will have another four years in the white house. Except this time around it will be a little more blissful. Stir that pot, shoot yourselves in the foot, here come the elephants for another 4 years.

    January 25, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  22. Jack Donovan


    January 25, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  23. Habs10

    Way to Go John, it is about time the leaders of the democrate party call these buffons ( the Clintoons) what they exactly are – the most unthetical, lying, and desperate goons the USA has ever seen. Hopefully more of your collegues can show the guts you just have – I doubt it though – they are all scared of the Clintoon Machine that will destroy everything in their wake.

    January 25, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  24. Charles

    What has Bill Clinton done for blacks that hasn't been done before? As far as I am concerned I owe Bill or Hillary nothing. If he loved blacks so much, why did he allow thousands of Rwandans and Liberians to die while he was president? He was a beneficiary of an overheated economy that was fueled by the dot com boom; of course that's why he had the luxery of balancing the budget and thus neglecting the safety of the United States from terrorists. I'm not going to be sold on the Clinton kool-aid. GO BARACK!!!!,GO HUCKABEE, GO MCCAIN, GO EDWARDS!!!!!!!!! Anyone but Hillary

    January 25, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  25. Brian

    The idea that former president Clinton is standing up for his wife against the Obama attacks is laughable. If he truly respected his wife, he wouldn't have been running around behind her back. I actually admire former President Clinton for the positive things he accomplished while in office, but he can't play the protective husband role. It rings hollow. Put the gloves back on and encourage the candidates to speak to the real issues: health care, diplomacy, and the environment.

    January 25, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
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