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. Jae

    After his presidency, Clinton has done(still is) doing many many great thing for human nature and for the stability of this world. What makes you think that he won't do it with Hillary? Think about the whole picture.....Obama will have his chance later in life...I admire obama but I think he should step down and wait for his chance....

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

    I do enjoy seeing one dishonest democrat attacking another dishonest democrat. The irony is "Shakespherean!" Maybe that bastion of moral clarity, Ted Kennedy will bless us with his reknowned veracity.

    January 25, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. Jufus, Milwaukee, WI

    Dez January 25, 2008 1:28 pm ET

    As a Black Man, I don't care what the Clintons have done for us, that does not give you the right to turn this into a Race War. Like I have heard many people say "I am not racist" Yeah until you date their daughters. The Clintons loved the blacks while they are not a threat to them. Now, they could care less. That is unless you are fool enough to vote for them.

    I Challenge every Dem to stand up and say, If Hillary gets the vote I am taking my vote elsewhere! Let's start to count, Who's coming with me (1)


    If you don't understand what the Clintons have done for all races, especially African-Americans in this very RACIST COUNTRY... you are not BLACK, just a REPUBLICAN PLANT posting a divisive and racist comment...

    January 25, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. stan pitts pa

    hrc has been using bill for sometime now, we should have seen the writing on the wall, thats how she won the senate seat in newyork, on the her husbands record, what a shame, pls America dont make the same mistake newyorkers did! her candidacy which ought to be a thing of pride to women, is actually a shame, she sets the the feminism movement 50yrs back, by relying on her husband to help her win the presidency! not a good example!

    January 25, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Jean, Park Ridge, IL

    Looks like John Kerry is looking for a job!

    January 25, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. Combatwoundedx2

    No matter who wins the democratic nomination we definetely don't need another republican in the White House.

    January 25, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. jenifer paker

    john is saying the trust
    bill clinton is only showing support to his wife

    January 25, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Gail

    Let's stop this nonsense. Kerry has a lot of nerve – he lost – no one likes a bad loser – Grow up!

    January 25, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. Archie

    In the 2004 Presidential derby, Bill Clinton publicly campaigned for Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry and John Edwards was John Kerry's running mate. This time in 2008, John Kerry showed his lack of reciprocity and of shame. By blasting Bill and turning his back on John Edwards, he has shown again the very reason he lost in 2004 Presidential elections. True to his flip-flopping character, while he was with Bill and John Edwards in 2004, now he is against both. With his flip-flops in 2004, John Kerry miserably lost his credibility. His misery over his 2004 defeat lingers to this day. With his latest flip-flop shown on this ticker, his credibility loss is further aggravated. Senator, with what remains of your credibility and with your seething bias against the Clintons, surely you have no license to abuse the minds and patience of the American people who since 2004 have lost their trust in you. Obama should distance himself from you, lest you bring him down to an equally miserable defeat.

    January 25, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. WW - New York

    The only “so-called” dirt Hillary had on Obama was Tony Rezko… Well did any of the Hillary supporters see the nice little photo with Hillary and Bill smiling and at peace in a picture with “Tony Rezko”? Hummm, oh I forgot Hillary said she didn’t know him.. Amazing how she was looking right at the camera and he was in the photo with “just the two of them”. Therefore, it wasn’t a company photo. Now tell me this.. How will the “go Hillary” people spin this.. Ok let me guess she will say.. “I never had a photo relationship with that man”. I beginning to think America is afraid of change.. I really hope Obama wins this primary “this will be our only chance at change”. I hope America wise up and see the Republicans want her bad.. Why? Because they can through “16 years” of dirt on her! I still don’t understand how the Republicans were after her for 16 years. If memory servers me MR. Clinton was the president.

    January 25, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. stan

    The devious duo – Clinton looks like he just broke a baraaaack and Mr. Ed's trying to get away from the smell.

    January 25, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. Larry, VA

    John Kerry is a rich bumbling idiot. He does not know the first thing about loyalty. Kerry's mother even stated that John was a mistake that would have been better off cleaned up with a wash cloth. First he turns on his fellow vets and then turns on those that got him to the democratic convention four years ago. Kerry is pathetic.

    January 25, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. cazamatic

    Like one of the posters early on said. "If Kerry likes Obama, maybee Obama isn't the right candidate". I'm gonna consider that as a great observation. Also, I like Hillary and believe her to be THE most qualified to be President BUT........what will life be like for the VP with Bill running around the White House ??? Who would want to be that person ?

    January 25, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. Mark


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

    None of these candidates has earned my vote yet, but what Clinton can't get around in this debate, and what Obama's camp has failed to focus on it its most simple form, is this: Obama's initial vote AGAINST this war, when doing so came with much more risk and derision and marginalization, translates into a track record that says, "Obama is more likely NOT to get us into another debacle like this in the future." That's what Obama should keep it on, because if he does, the entire issue goes away, Clinton can't address it, because her initial vote tarnishes her record, both politically and morally, forever - and in a manner any voter can read with caution. As for ending this war, and how their votes have mirrored each others, it means nothing. Clinton helped get us into this, Obama didn't. While one can easily argue Obama hasn't done enough to get us out, Clinton has no ground to stand on when it comes to initial judgment and chances of future debacles.

    January 25, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. RWB

    If I were Obama I would have told Kerry to get lost.

    January 25, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. kim

    Kerry defending Obama obviously means something, but something entirely different. Since we can never know exactly how they will act as president in the future to end this war, we do know how they HAVE acted and voted in positions of senatorial power when faced with starting a war.

    January 25, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. Spiffy

    Who cares about what Kerry has to say. He's just a sore loser defending another sore loser!

    January 25, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Robin

    What are the truths that are being abused, exactly? This is just more empty rhetoric, conveniently lodged from the mouth of an empty surrogate one day before a primary that Obama must win. How pathetically transparent.

    January 25, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  20. Placidkath

    I am so tired of hearing how bad Bill and Hillary Clinton are. Every has been and never was is supposedly backing Obama. Truly, what is Obama's experience? A few years in politics? If anyone thinks that he is not calling in all his markers in order to put down the Clintons at every turn, then they deserve Bush and all his cronies. Open your eyes people. Politicians are afraid of Hillary. I would no sooner listen to Kerry's endorsements than I would Bush's.

    January 25, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  21. Holly B

    Well, congratulatons to the Billary Clintons. They have not only succeeded in polarising and dividing a nation – Democrats against Republicans, they have now succeeded in polarising their own party!
    I will happily vote for one unifying man with the capability to lead us to a better world rather than two very nasty, selfish, power mongering and divisive politicians like the Clintons. Experience means nothing in this race if it is the experience of dirty politics at which the Clintons excell

    Please South Carolina, Please America, ELECT BARACK OBAMA!!!

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

    The Clintons are incappable of being anything other than critics. They are not positive people unless they are tooting their own horns...I mean look at poor Bill...life would be so much easier if he had a button on his forhead that he could just hit! toot toot Look at me! I may have no morals, I may have dissapointed all the children in this country by having sex in the oval office with someone other than my wife but HEY LOOK AT ME!

    January 25, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. Nik T, Houston, TX

    Kerry is a loser, I only voted for him because of Edwards. Now he even betrayed him and endorsed Obama instead. That's ridiculous. Kerry has lost all credibility with him. Hey, Kerry!! Clinton won TWO terms, how many did you win!!??

    January 25, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. Chipo

    I supported Kerry, until he married Barrack. What a pair, they both need to go home.

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


    January 25, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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