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. Souza

    Obama started the whole nit picking, is everyone forgetting that?
    Hillary is looked at with a fine tooth comb. Even the clothes she wears are evaluated.
    When is Obama going to talk about how he is going to fix the economic nightmare going on now.
    At least with Clinton we had 8 years of out debt. and had surplus money.
    As democrates we can all feel good that the 3 Top Canidates would all do a fine job. Poor Republicans have no one running that is worthy to be President.
    Obama is a fine candidate but his time is not now. A little more experience and I think he will be able to implement change.

    January 25, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  2. JSH

    I love reading the Clinton-bots attacking John DDDD Kerry. What a bunch of scum the left is. Eat your own. Hysterical.

    January 25, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  3. Tom Goold

    When did John Kerry ever tell the truth. This is the pot calling the kettle black.

    January 25, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  4. Julie Dean, Layton Utah

    I was stunned, when John Kerry publically endorsed Obama as a presidential candidate, rather than his extremely well-qualified Vice Presidential running mate John Edwards. Since then, I've begun to question what John Kerry says all the way.

    I believe Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards are both extremely qualified to be our president and look out for the welfare of our people and our country. I don't believe Obama is qualified to adequately handle the enormity of the task at hand, come January. He would be relying too heavily on certain advisors with their own agenda's just as the current administration has done since 2000.

    January 25, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  5. Trev

    Those of you who think that Bill Clinton is a divider need to think about his two terms in office. The GOP hated him, but they were also willing to work with him. The worked together to balance the budget for example (neither could have done it alone). Hillary is highly respect by the military and by other Senators. You don't have to like someone to work with them. You do, however, have to know where they stand. A guy who votes present 123 times is hard to get a read on. BTW, I know a rep in the IL legislature (on the GOP side unfortunately but a very nice person). Voting present that much is NOT normal. The tactic, apparently, is most commonly used to avoid taking the heat on a vote. Obama's excuse in the debate was contrived at best. If Hillary had done that, eveyone would be calling her a liar. I want someone as president who can negotiate, not someone who would give a great state of the union address.

    January 25, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  6. Stephen

    I think that as long the opponents draw Bill out front it gives the appearance of him running for his third term, rather than Hillary running for her first. This makes it difficult to sell the idea that she is the agent of 'change'. Instead it implicitly frames the debate with overtones of the 1990's. That's not moving forward.

    Kerry is just looking for a way to make himself relevant and possibly an Obama administration cabinet position. Who knows maybe even VP.

    January 25, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  7. amir

    You ask what Bill clinton did for Black People, nothing, nothing, nothing. what make you think he did something for Black PEople? well Use Them. Master Clinton. Is that what Black People want.

    January 25, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  8. Anthony

    Wow the FLIP FLOPPER is out of the bag john kerry is a sour old man who needs to sit down somewhere because his career is so washed up and finished that he would say and do anything to get back in the media BILL CLINTON is more of a PRESIDENT then john kerry can ever dream of being. he is mad because BUSH stomp the hell out of him in 04 so KERRY keep your mouth closed PRICK

    January 25, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  9. Josai

    To Ben in Columbus: Exactly what is any president supposed to DO for you? Give you everything and make you work for nothing? Clinton did something for Blacks? In the words of Malcolm X, you really HAVE been hoodwinked, run amock, led astray. It's blacks like you and your white apologists that keeps you in the seespool you're in you pathetic welfare sponge.

    January 25, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  10. mike

    why does the Communist news network (CNN) always keep negative comments made against the clintons on the ticker for hours, and take off positive news about Hillary , e.g New York times story It is quite obivious that they are pro poor OBAMA and will do whatever they can do to get him elected.

    I do not expect this to stay on because of the negative critisims to CNN oh well. I still enjoy the news though.

    January 25, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  11. Wayne Montanya

    The more criticism I hear about the Clintons, the more I want to vote for them. I am still on the fence, but If anyone thinks Bill Clinton should not be campaigning for his wife, they are wrong. Because one of his jobs in life was President of the United States, dosn't mean he can't back his wife. I'm 50 years old, and every Prsidential election I have ever been a part of, All the canidates had there wives/husbands behind them campaigning. Granted most of them were men, but this is 2008. That is lame ammunition. Tell me you wouldn't back your spouse.

    January 25, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  12. Robert

    Watching black voters give up the "race card" for the sake of Bill and Hillary is way beyond anyones logic.

    Must be Hillarys cameo impression of a Black Pastor that won their hearts!

    What an insult to anyones intelligence.......eating that up for a few Happy Meals!

    January 25, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  13. frank Honolulu HI

    Kerry once again muddies the water. Why does he take on the republicans? Is he secretly working for Rove?

    January 25, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  14. Tonero

    Being a stateman or going back to the WHITE HOUSE???
    Obviously Bill Clinton wants to go back to the WHITE HOUSE at all cost. Unfortunately this is telling hard, infact very hard, on Bill Clinton morally and healthwise. The good looking Bill Clinton is now looking more than 20 years older than his age, this is bad for Bill Clinton.

    January 25, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  15. cb

    Most men I know would defend their family against attacks and as far as I can see Obama dose plenty of attacking. How about you all stop whining and get down to what matters. Kerry should know better is he going to complaine when the Republicans go after him? This Attack stuff goes both ways.

    January 25, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  16. YesWeCan

    Thank you John Kerry!

    I officially hate BOTH clintons and if they steal the nomination , I will vote Republican in protest because there will be no difference between the Republican and Hillary anyway.

    Republicans are open with being evil

    Hillary is deceptive with being evil

    Both are evil.

    January 25, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  17. combatwoundedx2

    Someone said " just had a very scary thought. What if Hillary won the nomination and then picked Bill as her VP runningmate. I think I'd leave the country."

    I will be more scared if we put another republican in the White House..GWB is like a rock..only dumber

    January 25, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  18. Zohreh

    If kerry had any brains and knew how to campaign Bush would not have won in 2004. He needs to cool it and shut up.

    January 25, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  19. Rabbit

    Someone please tell me why Hillary did not run in 2004? Was it because she was not electable?

    January 25, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  20. henriettap

    I can't see what the Clintons did for blacks either so yes it would be good to have someone explain what they did.Iknow a bit of dirty work did while in the White House.A nd it 's funny how Hill @Bill have forgotten all the crooks they had as company.Norman Hsu the 850,000 donor.Then they had friends like Jorge Cabrera cocaine smuggler,Ng Lap Seng,bordello owner not forgetting the host of their friends that went to jail.Like Jim and Susan Dougal so I don't think they should say to much about Obama.If Hillary handles negotiations with other countries leaders the way she handles herself on the debates I'm sure we will be at war just as sure as she was ready to go war with BUSH against Iraq and Iran.At least Obama has the sense to think and to listen and reason what is the right thing to do.Not being persuaded by someone saying this is what we need to do, instead of saying lets see what are the other options first.

    January 25, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  21. Mrs.Leonard

    I was going to vote and support Hillary as an independent but after watching this from the NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF WOMEN Im changing my mind and voting for Borak Please watch the youtube video of Lorna Brett Howard who was a supporter of Hillary and becuse of this Hillary received lots of women votes...After Hillary starting lying about Obama Lorna changed her position...Hillary just hurt herself with the WOMEN VOTE!!! We democrat women need to show Hillary that Dis honesty is plain wrong. What a mess...Please go to youtube and watch the video. When you go to the web page just enter Lorna Brett Howard and it should come up.......This is a crucial issue to all women. Check out these videos featuring Lorna Brett Howard, the former President of Chicago NOW (National Organization of Women).In the first video, Lorna describes why she went from being a Clinton supporter to a strong Obama supporter, in the wake of Clinton's misleading attacks on Obama's record on choice...In the second video, Lorna describes how Senator Obama was a critical advocate in the fight to preserve choice in South Dakota...For more on Obama's strong…

    January 25, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  22. dd

    re "Concerned's" remark: it's so sad to see how biased CNN is against the Clintons...maybe because CNN are republicans and want Obama to win the nomination so the republicans can have their choice of president. GO HILLARY!

    January 25, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  23. N Shah

    Flip-Flop Kerry has no backbone!

    January 25, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  24. Simon

    John Kerry should be quiet. He is a loser. He made an unsuccessful bid for president.

    -Be quiet, a loser

    January 25, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  25. Mike-B

    sKerry calling b.j. billy a liar. How funny is that?

    January 25, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
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