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. Tyler in Raleigh

    I don't like Kerry and I did not vote for him.... but for once we agree. Bill Clinton has been a pain in the US for long enough, stop paying attention to him and maybe he will go away.

    Its tim for change... I am not sure if I will vote for Obama, a Repulican (if they choose anyone but Huck) or as an independent... but I sure will not vote for Clinton.

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

    Stop the Kool-Aide talking... Clinton's term in office was never noted for what he did for minorities. Care to compare the number of minorities Clinton appointed in government to Bush's? So one has to wonder, what is it that Clinton has really done for minorities? Which leaves us with the next Clinton.. Hillary. She as well has not got a track record of doing anything directly for minorities. Oh, just like the Bill, she opens her mouth and tells the audiences whatever will excite them, but there is no follow-up nor actual commitment. No action! Just pipe-dreams, promises, history re-writes and, of course the finger wagging.

    The Clintons are politicians not citizens of honor worthy of America's trust.

    Stop white washing and look at the facts.. not hte facts as presented to you by the Clinton propagantists! Look yourself and you will find a never ending trail of lies, crimes and coverups.

    January 25, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. clarke

    interesting turn of events. Kerri stands up and calls it as the rest of the world see's it and the last few writers attack him. So it is true, if you can not dispute what somebody says, then go after the one that says it. KMF, PAT, Skippy.... your all loosers in my book.

    January 25, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  4. c'est moi

    Kerry and the Clintons are so...generations ago.
    MoveOn, losers – and dot your orgs on the way out!

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

    Will wrote: "When we democrats tear each other apart, the Clintons win"

    The most succinct description of the Hillary 08' campaign strategy I have heard yet.

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

    Clinton has been "abusing the truth" for years now!! He even abused the truth under oath!

    This is nothing new; although, it is surprising to hear a fellow Democrat call Clinton on it!

    “How do you tell a Communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin” – Ronald Reagan

    January 25, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. Holly B

    To Black America, to African-Americans:

    Please explain to me concretely what Bill or Hillary have EVER done for African Americans....PLEASE tell me how they have improved your quality of life!!!!!

    January 25, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. Mike, TX

    Someone tell Kerry, a.k.a. Mr. Munster, that he had his time....shut the heck up. Why do all these old croanies come out now....Oh Yeah....it's free air time. Whataburger introduced a new burger for Kerry....it's called Whataloser...it's full of crap.

    January 25, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  9. Keith

    Courageous Swiftboaters?? Now let's think about that. What courage did it take to make commercials and accusations about a soldier's war record when those Swiftboaters were not even there? The men who said they served with Kerry were not even present when the action took place that got him his medals. Was anything they ever said proven? Actually not. A well financed pack of lies - brought to you by the Republican Party.

    Those folks are still fighting the Vietnam war, and they are still losing.

    January 25, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  10. Andrea Feodorov

    Who cares what John Kerry thinks? I can't think of a more ineffectual political figure.

    January 25, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. Mary

    I think the politicians forget that most voters consider honesty a strength not a weakness, that being candid and being a candidate doesn’t demand a skew of others positions just an exploration of the truth.

    The politicians diverge from the character of their voting supporters at their ultimate peril.

    I am looking for honesty in my goverment this time around!

    January 25, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. Amy in Iowa

    A vote for the Clintons is really just a vote for the Clintons. Because the only thing the Clintons did was help themselves.

    Vote for yourself by voting for Obama.

    January 25, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  13. Ames

    Bill Clinton so messed up negotiantions with North Korea that they went and built nuclear weapons? What makes you think Hillary is a foreign policy expert? What makes you think she is an expert in any areas of life other than deceptions?

    January 25, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  14. Tyler Durden

    "you need to chill Bubba, I am sick of these Repulican style attacks."

    "Repulican [sic] style attacks"? What the heck is that? Kerry is a democrat. So is Obama. The Democrats wrote the book on mud slinging and you have the ignorance to call it "Repulican [sic] style attacks"?
    "Hello. Kettle? This is the pot. You're black."

    January 25, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. From Sydney, Australia

    It is Saturday, 8 28 am here in Sydney, Australia......
    I can see people line up to cast their ballot......in Saouth Carolina
    Bye Hillary and welcome Obama !

    January 25, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. Guy

    He doesn't "seem" right... he is right. He was right then... and he's right now.

    As for experience vs. inexperience... your example of Bush vs. Obama proves that experience is irrelevant in the face of stupidity.

    January 25, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. Dilly

    If she lies to you now, she'll lie to you later! Just like a Bush!
    Former President Bill Clinton should be barred from the White House!
    We all know he's hiding under her skirt!
    Obama 2008!

    January 25, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. interested bystander

    John Kerry should explain how Bill C. is abusing the truth, rather than just claiming that he is. As usual, Kerry is ineffective and inept.

    January 25, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. Joe

    it's high time for change – change from the old politics of the smear (clinton et all) to the politics of hope and idealism.

    January 25, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. Injecting Race? please.

    So let me get this straight. The Clintons are racists for saying that the Presidency matters? Hell yes it matters. No one can tell me that President Barry Goldwater would have signed the civil rights legislation in 1964. No way, it never happens. Thank God LBJ was President.
    That said, Hillary never said that MLK did not deserve most of the credit for the civil rights movement. I for one am tired of politically correctness. If anyone was going to go ballistic about Hillary not giving MLK full credit it would be Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, who put his life on the line in the civil rights movement many times. He marched with King and spoke right before King at the March on Washington in 1963. John Lewis is a strong Clinton Supporter.
    What Hillary said was the truth, pure and simple. If people cannot accept the truth they are in trouble. It serves no purpose to rewrite history.
    If you are not old enough to remember theCivil Rights movement for goodness sake get a book. Thank God for people like John Lewis and MLK and LBJ.

    January 25, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  21. Jeff

    SO! That neocon thug John Kerry joins the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy's Attack Machine of HATE!

    I for one am happy to have him on board!

    January 25, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. Donna

    I voted for Kerry in 2004, however, now I see him as disloyal to John Edwards, who he selected to serve as his vice-president, and also disloyal to Bill Clinton, who campaigned for Kerry in 2004. In my opinion, Kerry is ungrateful and a hypocrite. If I had to choose between Bush and Kerry, I'd still choose Kerry and that's not saying much now. Two incompetent people in positions of power and we, the American people, are at the mercy of politicians like these. Scary.

    January 25, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. Mark

    It seems to me she was distorting his record, yet again. You may think that he should have been a more ardent supporter of pulling out of Iraq, but that doesn't justify her revising history to make a political point.

    January 25, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. DD

    John Kerry was a terrible candidate and didn't GET IT in 2004,so why doesn't he realize that you have to be a grown up,mature and experienced in order to run for CIC.
    It is pathetic that Obama has snookered all of the media that he is some messianic meta politician.Reality: he needs to answer questions about his record.He is slimy and America needs Pres.Clinton or Senator Clinton to point out the Importance of the two backgrounds and qualifications!!
    This country is at a horrible place and must have a STRONG, STEADY,EXPERIENCED, LEADER which is Senator Hillary Clinton not some WHINER.
    No one is impressed with your endorsement Sen.Kerry it was done in a hateful slap at your former running mate.

    January 25, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. NPA

    Well, its a little past four, so all you government employed liberal fascist can get ready to go home. Keep dreaming about the days before the new media and the lies told on nightly news were all yours for the taking, If any one of you think for one minute that any one of the democraps have a chance in hell of winning, you need to be drug tested

    January 25, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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