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. Don

    I love the terms these guys can INVENT for calling
    each other LIERS....

    where i grew up "abusing the truth" was so much
    more simply put: LIER !

    and btw how low must mr. clinton be to be called
    a LIER by mr. kerry...its the pot calling the POT black !

    January 25, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. Steve

    All this is: Is a man (Kerry) standing up for another man (Obama). Have we all lost site of how important that is??? No wonder the Clinton's do so well...

    January 25, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. deann

    Kerry was a loser, run on no ability for USA president, he also is not a good man and you would see how he treat John Edward.

    January 25, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. Ben Schilinski

    Clinton is helping his wife and Mrs. Omama is helping her husand. Kerry should stay out of the family feud.

    January 25, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  5. Bridget

    Former president should have the manners of a "Diplomat"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The "Clinton Empire" are not showing any respect for the common people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    "Corporate Giants" equals the "Clinton Empire"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Why does a young fourth grader get to live with the memory of not being considered "Good Enought" to speak with a young person from the "Clinton Empire"?????????

    January 25, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  6. John Seattle, WA

    Agree with Rex wholeheartedly.

    I like Bill, but truth telling is not one of his strengths. Let's get real people...Bill has been distorting the truth like crazy. That's what he does. That's what a lot of politicians do. The only difference is that Bill adds a little more drama and finger wagging to make you think he really is telling the truth.

    January 25, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. Dave NY NY

    As already mentioned in comments above – stop the in-fighting. Democrats need to stop the bickering back and forth between each other and start going after the republican candidates – why aren't we seeing headlines about Clinton going after Romney, Obama going after McCain? Instead we get to hear about the former, losing Democratic nominee from 2004 giving an unflattering opinion of another Democrat who supported him back in 04....

    And for all who keep throwing out the old Bill Clinton impeachment garbage(lying, etc..) at least he didn't send 4,000 soldiers to their deaths, wound even thousands more soldiers, and kill an incredible amount of civilians (in a foreign country, no less) based on his lies to the American people and congress – get a grip on yourself if you have the audacity to even mention Clinton being a 'liar.'

    January 25, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. ees

    Mr. Kerry, after you lost, you retreated to the silence of defeat. You could have been a strong voice for the American people against the wrong policies of GWB. But Hillary chose to be that strongest voice of the party and for the American people. I wonder if you have done thorough research about Obama before endorsing him. Some things in his background that are now apparent does not support his standing as " a breath of fresh air " in American politics that the media has reported. Our country will be better off with Hillary as president. Go Hillary '08.

    January 25, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. Julian

    Bill should cool it, Barak will unify the country, while Bill will only succeed to divide the democratic party. Clintons have to dig into Obamas' past to find the least little thing, and try to make a negative. He is not a truth teller as witnessed by his impeachment, for lying under oath. He is not under oath now and lies even harder.
    Hillarys' experience is exagerated, she wrote a childrens book, for the start of a presidential run, then had tea partys at home and abroad. Hillary wants to share Bills' successes, will she share in his impeachment, did she give up her law license because Bills was revoked.
    Who will want to be vice president, with Bill in the way. Kerry has a right to speak out, he had more votes than Clinton had in 92 and 96; even though he lost in 04.
    One thing is clear is that the Clinton team is willing to divide the party to win the nomination, only to lose the general election. You can be sure that the young and black will sit this one out if Barak loses due to Clinton lies and dirty tricks. Hillary can not afford that with her high negatives to begin with. The only thing that Hillary can unite is the republican party to turn out and dems to stay home election day.

    January 25, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. Marty

    Ben, Columbus, Ohio January 25, 2008 1:05 pm ET: "As an African American, what has John Kerry ever did for us?"

    Hey Ben,

    It's "what has John Kerry every done for us?".

    January 25, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. Tracy

    Please tell me that most of you who are posting comments are not reasonable adults because the Kerry, Obama, and even Hillary bashing/slandering is childish. You are the reason why this country is in the state it is...

    Its okay support your candidate but not at the cost of respect.

    January 25, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. pat

    When will we put an end to the dynasties in the US? If we give Hillary the nod, come back with Jeb Bush, why in 16 years Chelsea will be old enough to be president. When does it end?? I would say we should end it now.

    January 25, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  13. J P

    That did it. I am a long standing Conservative Republican, and I just MIGHT change to a Democrat DURING the primaries and vote for Obama to stop the clinton slime machine. Let's just say I will do this for the "cause".
    Then I will vote Conservative during the General.

    January 25, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  14. Mauricio

    Hold on now- ALL Politicians have licenses to abuse teh truth!!

    January 25, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  15. Tom

    So, John Kerry walks into a bar and the bartender says "Hi John, why the long face?"

    January 25, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  16. ursula

    Regarding Mr. Kerry's comments about Mr. Clinton, I am now finally very glad that he did not win in 2004!!! He is just spiteful and wants to make noises.Hillary is it and he better should get used to it!!!

    January 25, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. cellularcoffee

    Kerry who?? Is it the guy who got beaten by Bush Jr. in the past election?

    January 25, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  18. Ilene, Livonia MI

    A am shocked at the number of people who say Kerry is a loser. Actually the losers are the American people that had to and still have to suffer thru another 4 years of Bush. Maybe the losers are the people who didn't get out and vote.
    As for Bill, I can't help but notice that it says that Obama does better with educated people. That about says it all in my book. You would have to be stupid to fall for Bill and Hillary's lying lips.

    January 25, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  19. John, NC

    OBAMA Supporters:

    Listen Up!

    See, your man is not ready yet to be president. He lacks INTELLECTUAL STRENGTH, and this is always borne up during the debates. He cannot withstand the strong board room back and forth that a president has to deal with in a cabinet meeting, etc.

    Sorry guys, this is HILLARY's TIME. Obama's last stand is SC, and we might even sneak a surprise on him there!

    Go HILLARY 08!!!

    As for John Kerry, .... i forgive you, man.

    January 25, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  20. Jean

    I am for Obama over Clinton anyday, but REALLY, John Kerry?! However, if some people will listen to him and vote for Obama, it will have been worth utlizing the blowhard.

    January 25, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |

    I finally understand why Mr. Clinton said "GIVE ME A BREAK" what HILLARY said regarding MLK and Johnson was a positive fact in history – THE TRUTH however you look at it is when you are educated – about facts! Since then OBAMA and his campaign have accused both clintons of the worst – not cool! I'm voting for HILLARY because she is the best human for the job – and as for Ed... if you are such a GROWN UP, how come you have to say you are – you don't need the FBI or the CIA to know that the real offense is how uneducated people are in America and how much of a rude awakening how sad that OBAMA is just as human an uneducated as anyone else in politics. Vote for whoever you want but accusing the clintons of all this B.S. does have to stop or those accusing will realize they only ending their own chances to win – this is not a WO-MAN VS MAN issue or has anything to do with race – it's the human race – get a clue people...

    The educated voter will be the winner!

    January 25, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  22. Across the Street from the Capitol, Sacramento, CA

    I'm a young independent. The reason I am independent is because instead of identifying with one particular party, I see ideals in both that appeal to me. What does NOT appeal to me is the negative campaigning. I am tired of the bickering, and I tire of the misrepresentation of the facts by all.

    I will not be voting for Clinton because she does not represent my values properly. I have yet to decide if I will vote for Obama or a McCain– I am waiting for breadth of their races. I like the thought that Obama will bring something fresh to Washington. His race is not a factor to me. He represents for me, the changing face of America. He exudes what Hillary fails: Warmth, Genuine Excitement, Enthusiasm, and Change.

    Many of you have said that what one does in their personal life does not matter in their campaign for presidency and I believe that is false. If one has a habit of making bad decisions, they will more than likely continue to do so. I think Hillary makes bad decisions based on the state of her household and her time as a NY Senator. I do not trust her husband, as he lacks the innate credibility of a spouse and leader. He is neither loyal, nor genuine–and U.S. history reflects the awful flaws of his character.

    I think many women across America are disillusioned. They seem to identify Hillary as this strong woman who has, with them, changed along the decades. She is not. Unlike many of you, she does not have the ability to maintain a happy and productive home. She has no experience coming out on top when situations get rough. She simply hides and diverts her path to another road. America needs unity in our time of crisis and Hillary does not come across as a unifying figure. Washington needs something new, and she is not new, but rather a re-run of what has already been.

    January 25, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  23. Dan Reed

    The Clinton's: Hillary and Bill are conning America. Their agenda is for themselves. If Americans cannot see this we are in deep trouble. I'd like to see someone altogether new in office. No more Clintons and No more Bush. let's get real and move on.

    Arizona Voter

    January 25, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. RAP

    Who is John Kerry to be the democratic judge,

    January 25, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  25. cj

    I never would have voted for him had I known what a back stabber he is.

    January 25, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
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