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. sean

    I'm young, but I don't remember any other candidate whose spouse held the title "Leader of the Free World". His speeches, with Mrs. Clinton's indisputably strong personal, ideological, and political ties to her husband, do seem relevant. She cannot claim experience in Bill Clinton's White House when it suits her and dismiss it as unfair when it doesn't. If he claims it it comes with baggage. Just something we don't want again the white house!

    January 25, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. jb

    I'm a disappointed Democrat. I think Obama will one day make a great President and if the Democratic party had any brains, they'd groom him and help prepare him for this once he has more experience. They need to invest in giving him the experience he needs to do the job. Instead, he's being turned into a typical politician. I cannot stand the way so many people carry on about the Clintons. I had more money and my financial portfolio was better then than it is now. Take a chill pill and stop carrying around all that anger–you sound ridiculous.

    January 25, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. Beve

    Thank you Mr. Kerry! Seems like Bill Clinton is the one running for president again and will do anything to get back into the white house... which includes lying and who knows what other deceptions he will pull. As Jim, the first poster said, "Wake Up America"!

    January 25, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. jack lagrange il

    Hey Lurch , is this the same way you abused the truth in your antics with the Swift boats ? Don't seem to recall you getting that Million $$ for refuting any of the Swift Boat for Truth guys claims....

    January 25, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  5. Bridget

    It's clear that the Clinton's 'endorsement' of the 04' Kerry campaign was a farce. Their 'campaigning' for Kerry included things like Hillary Clinton emphasizing that Kerry supported "income redistribution". They 'supported' Kerry/Edwards insofar as they did everything in their power to help them lose- that's what allowed Hillary to get a senate seat- which would giver her the veneer of experience. Everything the Clinton's have done since 2000 has led up to this point...the woman is a mercenary.

    January 25, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. Marty

    If Mrs. Clinton wins the White House, she will be disgraced just like her husband. she is a narcissist and won't be able to stop herself

    January 25, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. M

    Kerry is is a sour loser. He is irrelevant and has no need to interject himself in this fray.

    January 25, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. jaygee

    Sounds to me like John "The Chin" Kerry is trying to position himself as Obama's running mate. I supported him in 2004 but think he is a total back stabber now. Get a life Kerry!

    January 25, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. MILES


    January 25, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. Debi

    I think Kerry should leave things alone and quit tearing the party apart, as many politicians on the same side do. Look back to what happened to Howard Dean when he spoke out while running for office. The Democrats were their own worst enemies. Join in and make things smooth sailing not sink ships!!!!!!!

    January 25, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. Jeff

    The war on Iraq was unnecessary and is bankrupting the country. We need to be sure the next president never repeats this mistake. Obama articulated sound reasons publically for opposing the war before it started whereas Hillary voted both for the Iraq Lieberman-Warner resolution in 2002 and the Lieberman-Kyl Iran resolution in 2007. It is clear she has not learned from her mistake and is much more likely to send us into another unnecessary war than is Obama. Also, even though one opposes a war, once we have commited shock and awe, trashing the country, breaking down law and order, and causing civil wars, one might have a sense of responsibility to try to repair some of the damage. Thus one's voting record, post war, may reflect different considerations, such as,making sure our troops are safe and gets what needed for it, safety obligations of contractors and u.s officials, etc.
    Hillary you are misleading America again and I don't think we are ready to go that road again.

    January 25, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  12. Robert

    Kerry is just like Obama, a whiner with no spine, it is not hard to see why Kerry would come to his defense. At least Obama's wife has some guts. Kerry needs to shut up and Obama needs to go back to Chicago and sit at Oprah's pool.

    January 25, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. SEH

    I question Kerry after he endorsed Obama instead of Edwards – his running mate! No loyalty! I'm tired of both Hillary and Obama. They both showed bad performance Monday and they both are distorting the truth like most politicians. Now I am leaning toward Edwards. He seems like a saint compared to their behavior.

    January 25, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  14. Ed Morley

    I do not think Mr. Kerry is an important part of this election.

    January 25, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  15. stan pitts pa

    if the clintons wanna be honest they will realize that the only way to move this country forward (which they claim to love very much by the way) is by electing barack obama, republicans dont like them and nothing will ever get done, we will only see more bickering and infighting, because to most republicans a vote for hrc is a vote for slick willy and they dont want him back!!!

    January 25, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  16. deroy

    william "billy blythe" clinton is just like his uncle who trained him. he's an evil used car saleman from hot springs.

    forget the lies that he told you about hope, AR.

    hillary is just a nasty old dumb white woman. she failed the bar exam in DC and with no job prospects moved to arkansas with him to start hustling the voters.

    she is as unqualified for the presidency as barack obama, john mccain and mike huckabee.

    none of them have ever run or managed anything. their understanding of economics is ZERO. none of this group have any idea how the economy works.

    stupid people running a con on voters.

    veterans vote for john, women vote for hillary, christians for for mike, guilty wealthy liberals and blacks vote for "BARRY".

    January 25, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  17. George Ayub

    Kerry has no right to say this things. As some one who supported and helped kerry in '04, let me point out:

    1. As Donald Trump would say, "Kerry is a loser". He lost an election to George W. Bush. Do I need to go on?

    2. He was whiner. He let the republicans turn him into a cartoon. He was a war hero and he let the republicans swift boat him. Do you think, the clinton war machine will ever let the republicans do something like that?

    3. He tried to sabotage the 2006 election with his comment against the troops.

    4. He did not spend all his campaign money during the 2004 election.

    Just like our beloved President Clinton said in the '04 convention, republicans know how to run a campaign and how to hold on to power. We do not need idealistic ideots on our side giving another election to the republicans. We need the clinton war machine. It's time for Democrats to get tough. Bill and Hillary can certaintly stand up for our rights and win this election.

    January 25, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  18. shan

    Its such hypocrisy that Obama (via Kerry) calls the Clinton's views distortions – wasn't this after Obama criticized her for sitting on the board of Wal-Mart – the entire time she was on the board, the company considered her a "thorn in their side" because she fought for workers rights and their benefits, the role of women, and their policy views. She even gave them back political contributions because of their differences YEARS ago, while Obama only paid 300k for him million dollar mansion thanks to his buddy, slum-lord. Oh ya, and he just gave his contributions back over THIS WEEKEND. Talk about hypocrisy.

    He'll never be ready for the general election. Hillary is the dems best and only chance. You go girl.

    January 25, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  19. Zach M.

    "And not one thing the courageous Swiftboaters said about Kerry were ever proven false. EVER."
    Actually they were. Look it up. They were proven false by the New York Times, The Washington Post, Nightline. Boone Pickens offered one million dollars to anyone who could prove that the Swiftboat allegations were false. The next day John Kerry did. No surprise that Pickens reneged on his deal

    January 25, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. Mike

    Greg T you must be a repub because you called me a name.....nice touch. very mature. are you running for office? since you took me to the schoolyard. well, i am rubber and you're glue.....you know the rest.

    January 25, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. Joe

    Hey Ben. It's not what either candidate does for African Americans. It's about what they can do for this country!

    January 25, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. Barbara

    Al Gore won't be endorsing any candidate for President. Now that he has won the Nobel prize why should he lower himself to immerse in politics? Unless of course he decides to run for President himself.

    January 25, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  23. Chris , St.louis, MO

    If you want to get anything done in Washington .. you have to know how to fight .. Welcome to todays world
    Obama and Kerry both suffer from the 'softie' syndrome.
    Dear Mr. Obama, if you cant take the heat stay away. As for Kerry .. he is so obviously desperate for the VP spot it is not even funny
    Obama is a good man, just not the right man in the right place at the right time
    This is NOT his time to be President
    What we need now is a fighter someone who can pick this country up out of the crapper and make it what it deserves to be, the most respected nation in the world

    Go Hillary !!!!

    January 25, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. Brian

    As much as I dislike the Clintons, and that is quite a bit. I dislike OBAMA and his european socialist views even more. I hope they both lose, before the country is the big loser.

    January 25, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. Hill Supporter

    Lou Dobbs is the only one that understands and reports acurately the political gamesmanship of these two candidates. The way I see it Hillary has Bill; and Obama has his wife and Oprah. What's so unfair?

    Go Hillary.

    January 25, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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