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. The only chance to win in 08 is Clinton

    Democrats have to unite to undo what has been done the last 8 years. Democrat's Independants and Republicans will elect Hillary in 08

    Hillary in 08

    January 25, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. Luciana Ferguson

    Kerry is just blowing air because he was not able to get the response the Clinton's get and he lost the last elections to a guy that has to be the DUMBEST individual on earth that is alone breaking this country economic status. More jobs have gone out of the country overseas to places like India during Republican terms than any other.

    We already know Clinton did a fantastic job while being in office. He let the country in good economic status, with no deficit, and with even a surplus in the coffers. Leave it to the Republicans to come and spend money which does not belong to them and take us into a senseless war which many of us will not have the luxury of seeing end, at least not in this century! Now, that same idiot which was placed in office by the Republicans, is trying to expand his war into Iran. Obviously, Bush will not be happy until he sends this country into oblivion by his actions.

    Does anyone really know what economic state we are really in? Or is anyone cognizant of the fact that the dollar is becoming worthless? WAKE UP and SMELL THE ROSES EVERYONE, BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE! Republicans will not take us out of the hole they have dug us in! Only CLINTON Can do that!

    January 25, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. reality Check

    One thing is certain, if Clinton is the nominee the republicans will win in November.

    I am a democrat-leaning independent. I will vote for Obama. But I will vote straight ticket republican if the democrats think they can throw up a candidate like Clinton who has displayed a lack of integrity and win.

    I want to vote for someone who is a true leader. Someone with vision, honor, and integrity. That is Obama. That is definitely not the Clintons.

    Clinton's 35% support from people who would vote for her no matter what is not going to be enough to save her in November.

    There is a minimum of 10% of the population who support Obama and who will NEVER vote for Clinton. That is reflected once again by the latest poll showing Obama doing better than Clinton against McCain as the nominee.

    January 25, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. Moises Lopez

    Kerry is hoping that if Obama wins he will be called to be the Vice-President. I am a Vietnam Veteran and Kerry is a PX soldier.

    January 25, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. norm

    John Kerry was too much of a wimp to stand up to the Republicans in 2004. So now he attacks Bill who is not running for anything. What a loser!

    January 25, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. BigKahuna

    Kerry was for abuse of the truth, before he was against it.

    January 25, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. UncleSam

    It is funny how these clowns think we are mice that will follow the piper. This is the year voters are looking for somebody who separates themselves from those dirty politicians, endorsements just help us voters see through these crooks.

    January 25, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. Joserus

    John Kerry is a loser that couldn't win a sure thing in 2004. He would screw up a two-car parade. I'm glad that he endorsed Obama, but he'll probably flip-flop and endorse Clinton later.

    January 25, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. John Steinbeck

    I just love how the koolaid drinking lieberal bedwetting moonbats will swallow the lies from these two serial co-dependent abusers and blame everyone else for their lies.

    My hope is that there will be enough vomit expelled by normal Americans when Thunder Thighs gets the nomination that she'll lose in a landslide victory for Romney.

    January 25, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. joe willy

    Its amazing that a guy who could not stand up for himself when he needed to
    is now critizing someone who did stand up for him.

    January 25, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. pam , s.c.

    you ignorant clinton supporters CNN is not responsible for the former president BILL clinton makes himself look bad . bill clinton has done nothing positive for blacks except for signing into law legislation that is responsible for more blacks receiving longer sentences and the reduction in welfare that devastated some blacks. only a few prominent dems have come to obama's defense too little to late.

    January 25, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. Peter

    "Courageous Swiftboaters?" They courageously cashed their checks from Bush's '04 campaign, paid for not having the capability for abstract thought. Those guys would have courageously pimped their own mothers for KKKarl Rove & Co. as long as they got their $300 from the tax cut. Hey, Skippy, what'd you do with yours? Start a small business? Go on vacation? Thanks for your courageous stimulation of the economy and invasion of Iraq. It's your fault, not Bush's.

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

    it's amusing to watch the democrats screw up a majority and destroy one another from the inside out.

    almost as funny as watching bush destroy the entire republican party.

    January 25, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. chris

    who cares what John Kerry said? That wimp could not achieve his dream now he thinks that he can win wiht Obama...what a jerk!

    January 25, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. Tim, Seattle

    Anonymous wrote: "Clinton supporters are Obama haters. No question about that."

    Lol...yeah..its funny. They will end up expecting the votes of Dem Obama supporters (me included) if Hillary gets the nomination. So the Hillary 08' folks will come to people like me and say...'oh sorry about all that swift boating, its just politics (nervous laughter) can you please pull the lever for me now?
    Um...NO! Not if you are going to continue to be a polarizing candidate.

    If you dont stop bashing Obama in posts like this, you are going to lose our support. To a lesser degree, Obama supporters turning 'Hillary hater' would be wise to do the same. They need each other for EITHER of them to win. Unite Dems.... Now!

    Hillary and Bill, please stop burning your bridges. You may get the nomination, but actually lose votes in the process. With a 47% national favorability rating, you cant afford to lose a single vote.

    January 25, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  16. Luejutz

    " Obama,Obama, can I be your Vice President"

    January 25, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. Lefty

    Kerry needs to shut up! We don't need an uppity negro in the Whitehouse and the Clintons are just the folks that will keep the negros in their place. Go Hillary!!

    January 25, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. Beez

    Ah, Schadenfreude!!! Watching the Democrats reveal that they have always been what they always claim the Republicans to be! Now we know why they are so ready to believe the worst about Republicans – because the root of projection is knowledge of one's own sick soul.

    January 25, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. Chay

    Hmmmm.....who can trust the Clintons......why should we vote for Hillary when she stands for everything that she argues against......on the executive board of directors for Walmart......who didn't want to cover their employees with sufficient health care and worked them as pure slaves (by the way, isn't she the "lets get all Americans sufficient health care" queen).....and now there is a photo of guess who.....HIllary and Bill and the famous "slum lord".....well guess who is in the bed with the slum lord and on the board with the world's biggest slum employer "Walmart"....Hillary, please shut your mouth and stick to discussing what's good for America....because all you and your husband is doing is killing our Democratic party with this foolishness, with your power struck egos.....chill out!!!

    January 25, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  20. Bill

    Am I the only one who thinks that John Kerry...he served in Vietnam you know...is angling for a VP nod from Obama?

    January 25, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. teresa

    give me a break kerry dont talk about bill hes my heroe now and forever

    January 25, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  22. Da Chise

    Hey John Kerry, why the long face?

    January 25, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  23. margie

    what an irrelevant guy. He is so shallow. He lost to Bush and he now has the gull to attack Bill Clinton, who by the way campaigned for him.
    I wouldn't trust Kerry with a barge pole. Obama can have him.
    Hillary 08

    January 25, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  24. Julia

    John Kerry needs to stay out this. He doesn't have a leg to stand on. As usual, he's shooting off his mouth and he doesn't know what he's talking about. It's just press. During Clinton's years, America did well economically domestically and internationally. The man left a surplus. (and who care about the women. So what? I'd rather him cheat on his wife than lie and get over 4,000 American troops killed). .What we have now is a MESS and it's going to be left to the next president and that can't be Obama. These guys touting him are hoping he gets on the ticket so that Republicans can get back into the White House - they know on a national scale, white Democrats will be reticent to vote for this man so they're crapping on Hillary. If he DID get elected, with his inexperience, the first thing that will happen to this man who is currently the media darling, is that when he makes some mistakes and starts falling prey to the lobbyists, they'll say, "he was so articulate, so educated, so together, yet look at the mess he's made! We have to get rid of him." And it will be the catalyst that will set any future viable African American candidates back for years to come. Right now, he's just a shiny new toy and we all know that runs out pretty fast. Hillary Clinton gets my vote. She can argue with him - whatever she wants. She doesn't have to be likable. She's asking to be responsible and to use the experience to lead this country. John Kerry needs to go back to doing whatever the heck he does with his time everyday and leave the campaigning to those strong enough to do it.

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

    since she cast her vote to authorize war, she has come around to Obama's side. I think the baseless attack is attacking your opponent for having a record similar to yours.
    Good for John Kerry for calling out Clinton on such a silly attack.

    January 25, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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