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. Jeff

    John Kerry should just keep his mouth shut!

    He is four years to late to be fighting battles. If he was this vocal four years ago when HE was under attack–he'd be President now! Four years later–just go home and be quiet. Let's not even get into how he stabbed both John Edwards and the Clintons in the back after all of their hard work and support for him, including defending HIM, while he was keeping quiet four years ago.

    January 25, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. PS

    "Don't Taser Me, Bro!" Finally, some words of wisdom worth hearing from Kerry!
    Mit Romney brought out the stained blue dress at last night's GOP debate. America does not want to go back to hearing the definition of "it." Obama is the best and the brightest. He has pulled up his own socks his whole life. The whole world is watching and since we need to continue to borrow oodles of cash to dig out the U.S. economy, we'd better vote Obama and invest some political capital in some self respect!

    January 25, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. nostradomus


    January 25, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. Jess

    John who? Oh yeah, the loser who hasn't even gotten in to the White House once. Good thing he's endorsing Obama. Barack will need his advice on how to gracefully lose.

    January 25, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. Dr. Wayne Sturges

    Scott Said: January 25, 2008 1:54 pm ET

    "As an African American, what has John Kerry ever did for us? He needs to stay out of this and just SHUT UP!"

    The blacks in this country will never be satisfied, no matter who is President.
    They continue to move the goal post back even further after every opportunity has been met and provided over the last 41 years.

    If blacks are looking for a mentor and an example of how far a black person in this country can go and achieve in his or her own life, then look no farther then Barac Obama. He has taken every advantage afforded to a black peron, and made a name and career for himself.

    January 25, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  6. Marie

    If John Kerry didn't have the gumption to fight the Republican machine when they came after him and swfitboated him , it's funny he's found his cahones to try and defend Obama.

    Obama needs to defend himself. Trying to find some to defend him makes him look weak against a woman.

    If he can't handle it now, if he becomes the nominee, the Republicans will tear him up..

    January 25, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. Walt, Belton, TX

    Talk about the kettle calling the pot black......................

    January 25, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  8. Glazed, Detroit metro

    Support from Kerry signals the kiss of Death for the Illinois Guys. Losers bring only more of the same. This contest ends Feb 5th. At that time someone will have to pay the air fare back to chicago – may be an from the frderal pen.

    January 25, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  9. Bill

    Hey folks, listen: Obama will lose because of the ugliness of his wife, Michelle O. She may be a very smart woman but her physical feature is terrifying to watch especially for the Hicks in the South. Take a good look at her face alone. If Obama's wife was a beautiful Black woman or a White woman, the voters would vote for Obama. It pains me to say those things but it's true.

    January 25, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. Justin

    Didn't President Clinton also tell everyone, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman"?

    January 25, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. West Villager

    Why, again, is he getting in between the contestants?

    He still comes across as frigid and bitter – which, unfortunately, only helped Bush I'm sure to get re-elected.

    This is like the Dr. Phil & Britney Syndrome.... He must be desperately wanting to become Obama's VP.

    January 25, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  12. wayne christie

    bill clinton needs to live in china with his wife

    January 25, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  13. colene from new york

    hillary is the tonya harding of politics.

    after eight years of "organized deception", do we really want four more?


    they are using you selfishly and shamelessly!!!

    the reason the economy was good in the 90's was the INTERNET!

    January 25, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. joe

    i used to like kerry but im glad he never got elected. He's mad he could not beat bush. Kerry is worse than mitt romney.

    January 25, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. Jane


    January 25, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  16. checkyourhistory

    I am amazed at how many people (Dems of course) who are sickened (as I am) by these tactics seem to think that this type of campaigning was invesnted by Karl Rove. Face it - the Clintons were doing this kind of thing way back before KR hit the scene. In fact, such conduct was for a long time referred to as "Clintonian" (or, at time "McCarvillian").

    January 25, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  17. LAW

    Although I know that this is wishful thinking, perhaps the loyal Democrats can now finally see the underhandedness of the ultra-liberals when their tactics are aimed at their own kind. I can understand how it would be easy to agree with those who are throwing rocks at those whom you don't like (the enemy of my enemy is my friend type of mentality), but could this possibly convince some of you that the lies and dirty tricks that pour forth from those such as Clinton & Kerry might at one time have been aimed in the same way at all Republicans as well? Or, were those attacks always justified, honest, and above board? It is worth considering, if you care to be honest with yourself.

    January 25, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  18. Sin

    No to "Obama Nation"

    January 25, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  19. Terry

    What Senator Clinton does here, and as she has continually done, is focus the attention on an adversary to take the focus off her own record. This is right out of the Bush/Rove playbook.

    No honest evaluation of history would validate her claims. Taking bits and pieces of sentences uttered does not a fact make. It is bad enough that she refuses to admit that she made a mistake voting for the war resolution, (and, may I add, supported the war vocally and strongly throughout, actually using the president's own words that 'we must stay the course', until polls showed it was overwhelmingly unfavorable, and there was a presidential bid to think of), but to distort and re-write history.. well, maybe she thinks we were all asleep at the time.

    January 25, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. Joe J.

    The interesting point of Kerry's comments are has he forgotten how phony he was and why would CNN give him so much space for a man well past his time in the limelight. kerry says it time for change because he failed and it is past his time what a empty suit he is.

    January 25, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  21. John W from Boston, MA

    Oh, God
    John Kerry, Again ! What a loser ! Big mouth ! Shame of you! Remember his famous quote " You will be sent to Iraq if you do not have education" which means our soldiers who are fighting for our country are NOT educated and stupid. I voted for his presidential bid in 2004, but I will NOT vote for him in next US Senate re-election.

    January 25, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  22. checkyourhistory

    I am amazed at how many people (Dems of course) who are sickened (as I am) by these tactics seem to think that this type of campaigning was invented by Karl Rove. Face it - the Clintons were doing this kind of thing way back before KR hit the scene. In fact, such conduct was for a long time referred to as "Clintonian" (or, at times "McCarvillian").

    January 25, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  23. Grace Marshall

    Barak Obama started this fuss. He didn't expect such a strong response. Good for Bill and Hillary for responding to the constant barrage of mean-spirited nit-picking of the Obama group. Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States. We need someone who has intelligence and a plan, not someone who can lead a cheer on stage. Glad Obama's fired up and ready to go, but first he needs a plan to run this country. Doesn't appear that he has one.

    January 25, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  24. Donn

    You libs are funny. The Clinton's do nothing but lie, you continue to blame the VRWC, which doesn't and never did exist. By the way, the word is spelled loser, not looser. Get a grip on reality

    January 25, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  25. T

    Haha. Who even cares what Kerry thinks? Kerry is the reason that America was forced into 4 more miserable years under the worst president in history – George W Bush. If Kerry were to stand up in this election, even Kucinich would beat him. So who really cares what he thinks?
    Ofcourse Kerry wants Obama to win now and will say anything against Bill Clinton to make Obama win – Kerry is too ashamed of his loss in '04 and doesn't want to be part of a "losing team" again. Too bad though – cuz Hillary's going to be the next president.
    Hillary '08.

    January 25, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
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