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. Courteous Wolf

    Senator Kerry, it takes one to know one! Neither one of you two has any value in the truth what so ever! Kerry lied his butt off about his Viet Nam service, and Clinton continually lies his butt off, just like his wife does. Hopefully, after Hillary gets her butt kicked in the election, we won't have to hear about the Clinton Crime Family anymore! And a question for the Black Americansm just what, exactly, have either Clinton EVER done for the black community! The answer is use you for your votes, and that's it! They are the plantation owners now!

    January 25, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. James A. Webster Santa Barbara CA

    This could be the crack in the dam. Everyone knows the type of person Bill Clinton is, but until his left wing buddies and the mainstream media turn on him and finally acknowledge his lack of moral character, he will continue to get away with his outrageous shenanigans because previously his targets have all been Republicans or erupting "Bimbos". Those targets were okay, but they don't like it when the gun sights are on them.

    January 25, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. John ny, ny

    I am not sure If I can trust kerry. He showed as that he is thankless who back stabbed Edward and didn't apprecite support clintons gave him. He should have stayed out of it. He is not anyone big so he should kept his open trap shut.

    January 25, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. Tim

    I supported Kerry but now I wish he would just go away and if he can't do that then I'd be happy if he'd just shut his trap. He adds absolute zero to the political fabric.

    January 25, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. benvictor

    Hey, I voted for this loser, John Kerry. So happy we do not have him running anymore. Does anyone wonder what his motive is? Is he still pissed over losing? If so, what does he expect to gain from his interference in this campaign? Come Super Tuesday, Hillary will hopefully have become the national nominee, and this guy will forever be gone from the political scene.

    January 25, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. Mary (CA)

    The Clintons are liars. That said, you Hillary supporters are asking for another 4 years of the Bush administration. Gee, their lies never hurt anyone...

    January 25, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. Hillary Will Win!

    Jyh1920 and others:

    Every heard of this....."anyone that's without sin among you should throw a stone at her."

    January 25, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  8. please

    Kerry is aloser, thanks for giving us 4 years more of Bush, wimp. Now he's not running he's going to act like a tough guy, haha, laughable. Bill would eat you for breakfast, and this is my senator

    January 25, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  9. D Mac Nashua, NH

    Both Clintons talk out of both sides of their mouths. Kerry is right for pointing out another swift-boat incident, heck he experienced it first hand.... I expect it from Repugnantcans, but not from Democrats.... Both Clintons are despicable and they always have been. I hope that Obama knocks out Clinton and takes the nomination (even though I was hoping for Edwards). Good luck Obama!

    January 25, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. Jeff

    More people in the Democratic establishment need to speak out as John Kerry has just done. I voted for Bill Clinton twice. What Bill Clinton is doing now is a complete disgrace. I am closer on the issues to Hillary Clinton than I am to Barack Obama. But there is zero chance that I would vote for Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama is clearly a person of tremendous character and integrity. Hillary Clinton is not. This is a woman who thought nothing of ruining the lives of any woman romantically linked to her husband. She does not deserve the support of women for that reason alone. I look forward to voting for a woman someday for President. But Hillary Clinton does not deserve to be President. Let's look ahead with hope instead of looking back and being involved yet again in the politics of personal destruction. Democrats need to say "enough" to the Clintons and throw their support to Barack Obama.

    January 25, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. tiger lilly

    Bill, let it go. I have lost all respect for you. The true Bill is shining through. The wifey stands by and let you play bulldog. Put away the wicked finger and write another book, or do something. Are you telling the American people that they are going to get two presidents for the price of one? I think a Bush ,Clinton, Bush. Clinton Presidency is frankly too much to take. You are turning me into an independent. Before I vote for Miss Hil, I'll write in the name 'Kermit The Frog.'

    January 25, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. Robert Julius

    This perjuring piece of feces should be in prison. He commited perjury. The impeachment wasn't about sex - it was about perjury - despite what the democrat loving press claimed. Hillary lied to congress about her billing records - that was also perjury.

    January 25, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  13. caywen

    Love all these Kerry critics attacking his record – who would just as easily sing him praises if he had endorsed Clinton. Hypocrites and liars, just like your candidate.

    January 25, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  14. Bev, Houston, Texas

    Ben, Columbus, Ohio You said?

    "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.

    The Clintons have done nothing for you but hurt you. I am married to a Black Man, a Democrat, and he knows the real truth.

    January 25, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  15. Tom from New London

    To a previous post: Its "loser" not "looser."

    To those that thought Kerry was a wimp in 2004, here he is standing up to the Clintonistas. And good for him, too!

    But he should be saying a lot more, because we all know, deep down, that the Billary machine did more to harm his chances in 2004 than help. Anyone thing they were setting themselves up for Billary in 2008? If my old drinking partner could see that, then the rest of us should as well. Bill Clinton and spouse are the worst things to EVER EVER happen to the democratic party.

    January 25, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  16. woot

    Bill Clinton has not done as much as a lot people think. He gave the riches people in America more than a 8% tax break in 8 years in office and so far G.Bush has only managed to give them 5% in 8 years. Then he sent a lot of jobs off shore as well.
    Tell me what he did for black people I really need to know ? It is time for change and this is a good time to make it.
    That's right, the Clintons are playing dirty and should be made to pay for it.

    January 25, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  17. James

    The sad part is that Obama just might win.....and if he does he will stand no chance against the republicans when he dosen't have the media (specifically Matt Drudge) to defend him. Oprah can only carry him so far. Avoiding real criticism can only go on for so long.

    The truth is the Clintons are criticized for EVERYTHING they do....he has been a master at avoiding this for a while now and mark my words, the truth will come out soon enough. Obama has skeltons in his closet (or the Republicans will create some) and he will have to learn how to play the real game of politics. Its time to move from the kiddie pool to the deep end.

    GROW UP OBAMA!!!!!!!!

    January 25, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. AJ, IL

    The Clintons have got to be pissed-off at Kerry for endorsing Obama, when they endorsed Kerry in 2004. And poor Edwards just got dissed from his running mate of 2004. Kerry understands America is hungry for a politician like Obama, and he is impressed with Mr. Obama.

    Hillary and Bill are trying to get Obama off message by inappropiating linking him to Rezko's illegal activities. Obama's response should come from his campaign and be swift and to the point. It only hurts Obama more when he and the Clintons go at it because the Clintons have a stronger hold of the Democratic Party. Obama is already getting support against Bill Clinton for leaders in the Democratic Party. Let the party surrogates handle Bill Clinton, and he should stick to running against Hillary, as the agent of change and Hillary as the status quo.

    January 25, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  19. mikey


    January 25, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. The only chance to win in 08 is Clinton

    If Hillary did chose Bill as VP I think it would be a landslide Victory for the Democrats so huge that it would go in the history books. That would be an excellent choice to stomp the Republican Candidate whoever it will be down. Which we are going to do anyway no matter who runs against our Democratic nominee "Hillary Clinton" We Democratics Independants and Republicans who have seen the light.

    Hillary will of course chose Joe Biden as VP or Possibly Al Gore!!! It wont matter because whoever she picks us as Democratics Independants and Republicans who have seen the light will support Clinton.

    Clinton in 08

    January 25, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  21. Nomad

    Attention disgusted Democrats: Come on over to the "real" party for America - the Republican. How much more of the Clintons can you stand? And you think Obama is a viable choice? Hillary and Barack have been trying to "out-program" each other - it's just funny money now to GIVE America all these billion dollar programs – what's a few more billion in deficit spending!!! ??? Lord, please give us a leader who knows economics and will cut back on spending and expect people to do SOMETHING FOR THEMSELVES!!! Everyone wants the best of everyhing, the most expensive material things today!!! If we'd all just live on what we EARN instead of spending MORE than we earn ... we'd have money, we wouldn't get into financial trouble, we could afford our OWN INSURANCE! We all can't have what Paris Hilton has - it's clockwork orange today in America - buy it BEFORE you have the money. Let's live within our means - buy what we can AFFORD!!! Don't expect Uncle Sam to bail you out if you made a bad mortgage decision!!! I know the industry - the mortgage lenders "disclose" the details of those buy-down mortgages that can escalate and they tell you how much and when!!! It's the law!!! Full disclosure is the law!!! If we sign a bad contract, we have to live with it!!! America is broke - we can't bankrole you!!! Help us Republicans ... GO MITT ROMNEY – 2008!!!

    January 25, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  22. Sue

    John Kerry's presidential campaign was destroyed by the lies orchestrated by Rove and company. Kerry chose the high road then because he thought that people would realize the "swiftboating" was a bunch of lies. It did not work. Because of that experience, he advised Obama to fight the lies being told about him. I'm not sure that was the right choice either. However, you need to remember that Hillary and especially Bill Clinton started this mess. They are ruthless campaigners. Also, please remember that a number of ranking Democrats contacted Bill and advised him to tone it down. Michelle Obama's speeches are not anything like what Bill Clinton is saying. Comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges. However, unfortunately, the Democratic Party has always been known for the ability to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.

    January 25, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  23. Mary

    John Kerry can all that now, but when he was campaigning he never said Bill Clinton was abusing the truth. Just because you lost doesn't mean everyone is looser like you. Just enjoy your wife money and let those who knowns politics do the work. Obama or no Obama, NY Times has spoken and that is the bottom line.

    January 25, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  24. Ted

    Kerry is always putting his foot in his mouth .First he slams Edwards his VP candidate then he slams Clinton who campaigned for him many hours and raised thousands of dollars for he .He's a sleezebag !!! Kerry needs to go swift boat some more !!!!!

    January 25, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  25. Ed

    1. remember that people hear wat they want to hear and the clintons know that.

    2. bill is not a racist but sometimes does not tell the truth, but obama is standing in their legacy. anywaz, they love black people, but won't allow anybody regardless to overshadow their dreams.

    3.The media loves to hype things and this is one of those were they just can't help it.

    4. kerry is doing this because he has endorsed obama and has to say something coz obama might lose. By the way white people can still vote for a black man just like Iowa. That should still make the country proud.

    5. I love Bill and Obama, like Hillary coz of Bill and I don't care who becomes the nominee. But am disappointed, as a former president, to take a stance like his doing. maybe the media wanted him to lose and he had no option.i also like Huckabee.

    January 25, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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