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. James Martins

    A presidential election between, say, McCain and Obama - both positive and honorable candidates - would be better for the country. A race between McCain and Clinton would be better for the Republicans.

    January 25, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. Rick

    I just read today about Michelle Obama going out and sumping for her HUSBAND. Ain't that about nutt'in, they complain about bill and the whole time Mama Obama is out on the trail for her beloved hubby. How on earth does this differ from Bill stumping for his wife? Get real with this Obama freaks. The problem teh Obama camp has with Bill is that they know what the rest of the country/world knows, Bill Clinton is without a doubt the best politcal campaigner we have ever had the good furtune to witness. I would probaly be a whinny baby to if I had to go up against he best there is knowing that I am a wet behind the ears rookie. You go Bill!! Obama and friends, get over it the Clinton machine is fixin' to chew y'all up

    January 25, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |

    John Kerry you had your day in the sun.You are a loser ,you did not get elected an I think that you would hate to see Hillary be come President or any other woman,weather Democrat or Republican.Just goes to show what kind of graditute you have for people,that helped you!

    January 25, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. Vivien, Ca

    Kerry is just ticked because he backed Obama as a swipe at Edwards, Now that Hillary is winning states and continuing to rise in the polls, and Obama's not looking too good, Kerry comes in and accuses Bill Clinton of "abusing the truth". What the heck does that mean? Does he mean, Bill's lying? I haven't heard Bill lie or go "over the top" in his efforts to campaign on behalf of his wife. I will say though, Kerry has first-hand knowledge of a spouse going over the top. His wife caused all kinds of uproars for REALLY going over the top during his campaign.

    January 25, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Pete

    I wonder who's ...... he borrowed, he sure didn't have any during his campaign. If Obama can't handle the pressure of an election how in the world could he handle being President?

    January 25, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. katharine ryan New York New York

    Kerry should talk. If ever there was a hypocrite, he is one.

    January 25, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. James

    Kerry needs tp shut his mouth. Nothing that comes out of his mouth has any weight. He betrayed his own running mate by endorsing Obama. What has he done to his country that comes anywhere near what Clintons have done for this country so far. He will go wherever wind blows. No one can abuse truth. Truth is truth. So take it when it comes from the Clintons.
    He abused and betrayed Edwards. So shut up, sit in the cornor and eat some Ketchup.

    January 25, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. NickNas

    The REALLY sad part of Bills ( I used to admire him) recent exposure as a "desperate do anything to get back to the white house co-runner for president" He TOTALLY BLEW his image to the rest of the world when no matter WHO won the white house he could have done TONS of good internationally to repair our image that Bush has ruined. Now he looks just like one of them.


    January 25, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  9. Matt

    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."

    "Together" says Kerry? Does he think Obama would put him on the ticket? Kerry has proven he can't win nationally. The presidency was served to him on a silver platter in 2004 and he still managed to muddle it up. What a loser! Please go away already.

    January 25, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  10. KRS

    CNN is abusing the truth by saying Kerry SLAMS Clinton, and Kerry BLASTS Clinton. All he did was criticize him, give me a break, it's a common practice in politics, I think CNN is being over the top with their adjectives.

    January 25, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. tom

    What a complete collection of losers. Is it any wonder why there has been only 2 dem administrations since the '60's?

    January 25, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. Lori

    This country is in a nose dive, we need a young President like Sen. Obama that is in it for the long haul. A new face in Washington, fresh blood, new perspective, different direction and real action. Support Obama!

    January 25, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. DB

    Who is Gore going to support? I heard that he has distanced himself from the Clintons, and there is no love between them. And I believe he has the power to really sway the vote.

    January 25, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  14. Jay

    January 25, 2008 12:26 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    At one of Bill Clinton's appearances in SC on Wednesday, an elderly black man stood up and said "black people are voting for Obama because he's black. But he can't win and he will make sure the Republicans win in November." Clinton showed "concern" while a few others nodded.

    After it was over, reporters tried to get the man's name. He refused to identify himself and left with his BODYGUARD! Now, tell me. How many people attend town hall meetings with bodyguards, especially elderly black men in SC? This guy was a plant by the Clinton campaign used to continue to play the race issue.

    The thought of BILL CLINTON walking around the white house with nothing to do

    January 25, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. Chipo

    Tell Kerry to back off, he lost one election for us, now he is trying to lose this one too.

    January 25, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. Corey

    John Kerry makes me so mad. What is wrong with him? As a democrat I feel as if people like Kerry are poorly representing the values of being a democrat.
    Working together? Whatever happened to that?
    He should be ashamed of himself for what he has done to John Edwards and for causing such a brew ha ha in the democratic party.
    Obama – he's not doing you any favors.
    Bill Clinton – you need to be quiet.

    January 25, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Is John Kerry even relevant anymore? Kerry, remember when the Clintons supported your candidacy despite the fact that nobody liked you?

    January 25, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  18. Pope, Houston, Texas

    It's high time someone stood up to Bill's lies!!! .......and think he was once a president I liked makes me sick. He's true color stinks. well for Bill it depends on what "is" is. Tell it like it is John. The Clintons think they are untouchable.

    January 25, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  19. P.Wong

    Seems to me that John Kerry has no loyalty at all to his friends and those who campaigned for him when he was running for President. Just because he lost he seems to make sure his friends does not make it.

    January 25, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  20. andy

    Go Boll and Hillary !!!! Its to bad that you can not handle the truth and when it is said that you roll into a ball like a child and say wawawawawa!! I wish American would get some back bone gesssss! what is wrong for us to know the truth about all the persons running for office ? do you think that some are saints and have no faults and that they do not have issues in there back grounds or are you all the naive why dont you go fire a round at Obama!! Kerry ! oh thats right we do not know what you did in vietnam ??? and if you would not have made you race negative when you ran for president you might be in the white house today !!!

    January 25, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  21. Bill

    Kerry, what did he ever win. Like Clinton would take advise from a luzer. Kerry woudln't know the first thing about acting Presidential. What a FLIP-FLOP.

    January 25, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  22. George

    Kerry lost the elections to an idiot. He needs to stop telling people who to support. I do not hear anybody telling Michelle Obama or Elizabeth Edwards to stop supporting their spauses. Bill just happens to be Hillary's husband. Whose side would you want him to be?. Stop the cracy talks about Bill and let him support his wife. She is the only one with experience and the interlect to be the leader of the free world, especially after the 8 idiotic years.

    January 25, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  23. John

    Kerry needs to put a sock in it. We're threw with him...thankfully.

    January 25, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  24. Aron, SC

    Oh... poor Kerry... who cares about what you say.?.. You couldnt even beat the worst president of our history. You must be worse than the worst.

    January 25, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  25. jw, canadian,ok

    Shut up John, go back to sleep – you ain't no Bill Clinton.

    January 25, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
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