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. Al, Los Angeles, CA


    Any one who won't admit that it is an unfair advantage to have a beloved former president playing with the truth 24/7, is not being honest.

    The extra media coverage alone is unfair.

    If we count the number of stories on CNN about him (only related to his wife's candidacy) versus Michelle Obama or Elizabeth Edwards, my total for the week is 7 , 1, 0.

    Where is the impartiality?

    Oprah may endorse Obama, but she is not campaigning 24/7. The former president's influence is more potent than his wife's.

    I predict she, NOT OBAMA will win SC because of her husband.

    When a president talks, people listen.

    January 25, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. John

    Kerry , you look ridiculous to say that.

    January 25, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. Braineel

    I am gonna have to agree. I grew up admiring Bill Clinton. I Went to college through the years when the Politically Correct was stampeding through the halls of the ivory tower, but at this moment in history, I would really rather not see cloying efforts to hold power against what even a hero of mine should see is in the best interests of this country. I have profound respect for the candidates of both parties but we need to unite the whole country not divide even the parties.

    January 25, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. norma

    Ah yes, the man who himself couldn't stand up to the Swift Boat people, did such a poor job of letting the rest of the candidates sweep him under the carpet, now,
    he's a turncoat to the very people that "almost" got him the Presidency, and is now an expert on who and what should be done to win.

    Thanks Mr. Loser, hindsight is 20/20, and you and your millions can back the only one of the 2004 campaign, and turn your back on the ones who support you.

    You and McCain should trade parties, whoops..........you already have joined their league.

    If you'd "gone over the edge, just a little bit, you might be President today yourself!

    January 25, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. Ken

    John Kerry is just bitter because his presidential bid fell apart. What is Obama offering him to be his attack dog? Anyone know?

    January 25, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. Truth

    BREAKING NEWS - Dennis Kucinich has dropped out of the race. Oh, wait. That doesn't have anything to do with Bill Clinton. Guess it won't be reported.

    January 25, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. zebrashirt

    Oh, please! Kerry is just showing sour grapes. I just wish all Democratic sides would concentrate on the issues and not give the Rethugs ammo for the main election.

    January 25, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. Terry, Lakeland, FL

    Wait a Clinton lied? How is that news? Now if they were saying Bill was found to be telling the truth that that would be front page news.

    January 25, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |

    how can we trust what someone who lied in front of a grand jury . I guess it depends on what the definition of is 'is".

    January 25, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  10. GP

    Jim in Orlando and Kerry need to go drink salt water...I am not sure what you called attcks...what is abusing the truth...until he (Kerry) can explain it...his comments are silly. You all are crying with Obama because his empty words of hope is now catching up with him. Clinton campaigned for Kerry in 2004.

    January 25, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  11. Armand

    Come on people, wake-up, Hillary is in it because she wants to go down in history as the first Lady President of the USA. Not because the cares about mainstream America. She has been in politics all her life and has not done anything outstanding for the people. This is about her and not us, us the people of this country.

    January 25, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. Timmy

    It's really sad that CNN would not post my blog!!!! It is all based on facts about the Clintons.

    January 25, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. wale azeez

    why don't all these people shut up and let the voters speak...yes that's right media,surrogates and all!!! just report objective news and stop telling us what is right or not...we don't need you to decide for us what is right or wrong!!!!

    January 25, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  14. Tracy

    Tell 'em Kerry!

    January 25, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. Glenn

    This man knows these people personally. Far better than most voters. Says what most of us know. Lets get past this & move on to a better country with a leader that isn't so divisive.

    January 25, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  16. Matt

    Kerry is a loser. Maybe he should have stood up to Bush, the Republicans and the Swift Boaters. Maybe then his opinion would matter.

    January 25, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. Jaime

    Why can't CNN do stories on how Obama is attacking Hillary Clinton? Obama isn't innocent! CNN makes Clinton look bad all the time. Has CNN endorsed Obama? because it sure seems like it.

    January 25, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  18. John ny, ny

    Kerry just go away. Take care of your chin

    January 25, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  19. Nyron cameron

    kerry, should really stand by his guns, that's one of the reason why you possbile did not win he election. Hillary is Clinton's blood defend your blood. he would be less of a man if he did not defend his wife. Kerry talk peace or back off. Hillary stood up for you , if you can't say good leave it alone. I believe both Hillary and Obahma are going to be the two candidates ,president & vice president, where do do you stand then. Becareful your words come back to arm you.

    Just an example, a parent gets involved in a child's realtionship and then the child and your spouse get back together, how you think that parent feel. Be careful kerry...

    January 25, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. Bradd Anderson, Columbia, MO

    Well said, Kerry! Those of us who have been in the country know that a chicken squawks the loudest when they're about to lay a big egg...

    I've lost a lot of respect for both Clintons, but especially for Bill.

    January 25, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  21. Shani

    Bill clinton is stating the facts!

    January 25, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  22. Adam

    You really want to match up Kerry with Bill as your surrogate defense.

    Ouch ok but make sure he doesn't go windsurfing and has a good script.

    Although you couldn't find a better person to singlemindedly blather about something than kerry. I mean that's what he did about the war for all of 2004 rather than remembering "It's the economy".

    January 25, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. Gee

    Kerry needs to go back into wherever it is that he has been quiet from. Who cares what he thinks. His opinion matters to no one. Hey, maybe if he keeps it up, he will lose his senate seat.

    Hillary 08

    January 25, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  24. Karen

    Kerry? Har! Har! Here comes the Obama hate squad.

    January 25, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. LB

    The Clinton's campaign mantra of the truth is what I say it is continues to ooze out unabated.

    How can you take anything they say seriously, their credibality is zero.

    January 25, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
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