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. john smith


    January 25, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  2. David

    If John Kerry spent half as much time attacking Bush four years ago as he does attacking the Clintons now, he'd be up for re-election today. I find it amusing how Obama and his backers can applaud Reagan but diss Bill Clinton. Comparing Clinton unfavorably to Reagan and Nixon? Brilliant campaign tactic Obama; that's going to win you brownie points with Democrats.

    Talk about dividing the party!

    January 25, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. blueshift

    "...the voters can see through it...."

    Methinks he gives the voters far too much credit.

    January 25, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  4. Steve

    Bill has been abusing the truth all of his life!

    January 25, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  5. Gordo

    Sorry John Boy you had your chance to be relevant, but YOU would not stick up for yourself and look where that got all of us. Maybe if your wife had jumped in on your behalf the world would not be such a mess?

    January 25, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  6. hatecnn

    CNN is a looser chanel. Their report got blasting from Bill Clinton , so they are going crazy with them.
    If OBAMA's wife campaing on his behalf u put praise her like something great but if bill clinton does the same you report against him.. stop doing that .. we can see whats happening

    January 25, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |

    ENOUGH ALREADY......John Kerry you should be a shamed of yourself ...have you forgotten your own presidential race and how your spouse defended you!!!! She had a big mouth too... Your loyalty and support is misplaced.

    January 25, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. docrock,tx

    Like anyone cares what Mr.Heinz says.Talk about hippocrits!He begs Bill for an endorsement on his presidential run,then stabs Hillary in the back.I think he's looking for a W.H. job in case Oprama wins.It's the closest this moron would ever get to the Oval Office.Unfortunately,the Opramites think this is a good thing.Go figure.

    January 25, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  9. Andrew

    Bill Clinton, a man whom I used to greatly admire as an icon and role-model, has disappointed me TERRIBLY!!!

    The American people took it for granted and made a huge mistake by pointing Al Gore, a true leader, to the exit...and look what Duby's done to the country!

    This time around; I sure hope they have their eyes peeled and ears wide open!

    January 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. Andy, Evansville, IN

    The Clinton supporters kill me....they attack anyone that disagrees with them. Amazing how more and more of the Party establishment is coming out against the Clintons. Face it folks.....they ARE dirtbags. One poster said he wouldn't trust the Clinton's with walking his/her dog....I wouldn't trust them with the poop bag either.

    January 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. Clay C

    Swiftboating somebody in your own Democratic Party! Bill Clinton, you ought to be ashamed. It just goes to show- you two will do ANYTHING to get elected!!!

    January 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. Ray

    When John Kerry was attacted by Bush, he was such a good listener that he did not bother to respond. Is he trying to get even for his loss to Bush by attacting Bill?

    January 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  13. Barbara

    Kerry couldn't win against the draft dodgers Bush and Cheney even though it has been documented that they lied 935 times about Iraq and as a result thousands of people have been killed and injured and has cost our country billions of dollars.

    January 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  14. Tom Z

    It looks like a lot of you are "swiftboating" Kerry again! Way to go!

    January 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  15. JJ ATL


    January 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. kevin from alaska

    Bill Clinton is unconstitutional.

    The power he is flexing right now is exactly why there is a two-term limit.

    January 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. Floridian Independent

    I have no party affiliation; but I don't remember anyone complaining when Bush Sr. came to Florida to support George Bush Jr.; or when G. Bush Jr. came to Florida to support Jeb Bush. The talk around here was just as aggressive as Mr. Clinton's.
    Get real, politics are politics, and it will not change now.
    Get on the real issues people!

    January 25, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. Gina

    Does anyone even care what Kerry says? The Dems hardly had a choice but to select him as the nominee in 2004. Kerry couldn't fight the good fight then, and now it's just hilarious he's suddenly able to do it for Obama. Maybe because Obama doesn't know how to fight his own fights either. These two are quite the pair.

    January 25, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. john taylor

    surprised both canidates are not talking much about universal medicare for the country.. We have it here in Canada and it works well..No one is left behind.

    January 25, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  20. Jufus, Milwaukee, WI

    Looks like Kerry is looking for a future position in the fairy land presidency of NObama...

    January 25, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  21. Bob Devlin

    Same ol' Kerry. Lots of bluster, never any facts. What are these truths that he is abusing?

    Did you ever release those military records? Whose medals did youthrow over the fence? Did you ever actually respond to the Swift Boat veterans' charges?

    How about this – just shut up and go home to Terrrrrrrrresa. We don't care about you any more.

    January 25, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  22. Jake D

    Ben – What have the Clintons ever "did" for you?

    January 25, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. Marino

    Well said Senator Kerry. Bill Clinton and Hillary represent the "old" establishment, well known for its lies. Furthermore I don't think the American people want Bill Clinton back in the WhiteHouse, not even as the first spouse.

    January 25, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  24. Ed

    Could some please explain to me what it is that Bill Clinton did for black America, other than exploit and use us for political gain. What specifically did he do to help
    African Americans while in offfice?

    January 25, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  25. Tola Badejo

    I sincerely hope that Kerry does not end up being a liability to Obama's campaign.

    January 25, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
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