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. lickerlip

    the joke's on liberals. liberals cannot, cannot tell the truth. period!! and if anyone thinks otherwise, just think grand jury!! dirt bags!

    January 25, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. Rex, Houghton, MI

    Ben from Columbus. You say Clinton has actually done something for African Americans.

    FACT. More African Americans went to prison for life under laws created by Bill Clinton than any other time in history.

    FACT. More blacks were killed in Africa through military operations (Somalia) directed by Bill Clinton than any other time in history.

    FACT. More blacks were prevented from entering the U.S. (via Haiti) and drowned at sea through operations directed by Bill Clinton than any other time in history.

    Whatever you think Bill Clinton has done for blacks is smoke and mirrors – and lies.

    January 25, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. Lynn Ensley

    Well, Well what kind of a Democrat do we have in you Mr. Kerry? You sure do have a short memory sir. You of all people should know what unjust malignment feels like, I know you didn,t like the Swiftboat fiasco now did you? Man am I ever glad they sacked you, where were the feathers and tar? Your good fortune Mr. Kerry,held up I suppose. Mr. I will spend a good while thinking of a way to retire you. The wife is working well enough, but i'm sure she needs some additional help. The least I will do is the most popular thing down South, "don't buy Heinz, ever."
    If I sound terrible Mr. Kerry it's because this situation you helped set up turned me this way. I am glad you lost however, you are dumber than ole Hallygeorge. You have ruined my day.

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

    The elephant in the room is the attacks the GOP will haul out on Team Clinton. Since BIll is running as faux Co-President his ethical lapses will all be front and center and unless he recedes to the background fast, Hillary Clinton will have 50%+ negatives by the general election. Obama has not touched any of the obvious material.

    January 25, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. Tom, Boston MA

    The unholy warmongering alliance of multinational corporates / neo-con ideologues / financial industry / military industry / bigoted zionists will do everything to silence and discredit Kerry: his anti-war imperialist war message just might rekindle the progressive movement...

    Thanks to Bush who has made everyone's color show clear. We might be getting closer to hitting the bottom, so that we could get it right this time.

    January 25, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. Copeman

    Who cares what Kerry thinks. He obviously doesn't know how to win an election. Why isn't the Obama camp telling him to pipe it down?

    January 25, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  7. Scott

    Basically, not what Democrats should be about. Shame on the Clintons for brining our party down into the mud!!!!!

    Obama 08!!!!!!!!!

    January 25, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  8. Steven Frederick

    I love seeing Bill do this, diminishing his undeserved stature and tarnishing his joke of a legacy. Keep it up, Billy Boy!

    January 25, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  9. maximillian

    Just what this nation needs Bush Clinton Bush Clinton. And they think they are agents for change. Fact is her negatives are 58% among independents. Even as a Democrat I dont like her and well Bill, I used to like him..now im not so keen on him.
    Once again the Dems are shooting themselves in the foot. We could have had Obama.. maybe we still can.

    January 25, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  10. Robert in Albuquerque

    John Kerry wanted both clintons to help him run for office when it was his turn but suddenly he's anti-clinton. SHUT UP KERRY and get a life!

    January 25, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  11. May

    Now I know why John Kerry is fighting for Obama because he wants to be his VP and which will never happen. Anyways, Kerry picked Edwards as his VP and Edwards disgraced him and now he moving over to Obama to salvage is defeat so that loosers keeps good company.

    January 25, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  12. Mark Stallin

    Finally, John F. Kerry says something worthwhile. Hopefully he'll keep saying it. I'm surprised CNN (Clinton News Network) didn't censor his comments.

    January 25, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  13. tellmemore

    Hey bigdawg.. .he has been answering the questions but he shouldn't be, the Clinton's questions are like the old “have you stopped beating your wife yet", it doesn't matter how he answer the question is intended to make you look bad, this is basic Clinton 101. Finally the left get to see what most reasonable people have known all along, the Clintons are power hungry, duplicitous, unprincipled, ruthless, devious, and corrupt. We need them for another 4 year?…wake-up people.

    January 25, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  14. Pratik

    Guess what? Kerry did turn out to be flip flop as Bush had accused him to be. Did he forget that Clintons had campaigned for him when he was running for president? Where was Obama at that time?

    January 25, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  15. S.L. Lewis

    Normally I don't agree with Kerry, but he was right on about this. Go Obama!

    January 25, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  16. Laughing at Demos

    I don't get you demos. First, you cannot win against an unpopular president (that's what CNN says) during an unpopular war. Now, you try, repeat, try to nominate an unelectable Hillary, who is doing all sorts of damage to someone who might make an OK president, running against a Tax and Spend liberal. Why not nominate Dean and just be done with the election, instead of just going on and on destroying yourselves through a slow death. Looks like another republican in the office!

    Are the demo powers just stupid, or arrogant? Out of touch and arrogant!

    January 25, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  17. Steve

    The Democrats are imploding.

    January 25, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  18. billdski

    Kerry is hardly an authority on the truth. BUT it is astonishing watching the first black president orchestrate the slandering of the man who could actually be the first black president. While the Clintons pretend to be advocates for African-Americans, they have their campaign continually bring up drug use, slum lords and most wonderfully "that Obama will win in SC because it's a black state". Even the biggest moonbats must be uncomfortable with this.

    January 25, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  19. charlotte

    If Hillary wins he could say I was for Obama before I was against him????

    January 25, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  20. Kerry's a liar

    If Kerry is so "concerned" about the truth – why did he tell congress Vietnam Vets were a bunch of rapers and murderers?

    He's a proven Liar along with his Traitor Bud Hanoi Jane Fonda

    Vietnam Vet 173rd Airborne Bde 68-69

    January 25, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  21. gator

    What does "abusing the truth" mean?

    January 25, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  22. Roy Harmon

    i don't like the clintons or obama as far as politics goes, but it's pretty obvious that the opportunistic flip flopper is looking for a spot as v.p.

    January 25, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  23. Joan

    “When Clinton and others on the left attack Obama over this interview, they are only demonstrating why we need a change.”

    Amen to that!

    January 25, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  24. mark

    I think Kerry Was out of touch with reality in 2004 and again in 2008. All Kerry want is another Republican in the white house and make our country suffer for another 4 years. Kerry is a loser and who listen to him. No one listen to him when he was talking for himself, who cares when he talk for someone else. Let Hilery and Obama run this compaign the way they want. If Kerry want he cant answer about Swift Boat now.

    January 25, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  25. GiveMeABreakInTexas

    Uh Oh...another wheel came off the Clinton machine.

    January 25, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
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