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. Ann

    John Kerry needs to zip his LIPS. He ran the worse campaign ever. He will be a jinx to Barack Obama. Wouldn't want him on my team. Who needs help to lose?
    Whether it's Barack or Hillary...the DEMS will turn out in record numbers on Election Day! The media and GOP will not dictate or steal this election!!!!

    January 25, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  2. Chin

    Bill Clinton continues to be a disgrace to the presidency even after he leaves the whitehouse. Anybody remember George Bush conduct himself other than in a dignified manner even as his son withstood attack from both democrats and republicans this past few years? An ex-president that would seek to divide the country by injecting race into the elections just to give his wife an advantage is a disgrace? Shame on Bill Clinton!

    January 25, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  3. BGraham

    What? Bill Clinton not telling the truth? I'm shocked.

    January 25, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  4. truth

    I agree with BIggdawg – In what way does Bill Clinton abuse the truth? The Obama camp cannot even spell out the specifics! Even more strange – the reporters never ask! They just go along with bashing Clinton!

    January 25, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  5. Ted

    Hillary reminds me, and many, many other men, of our ex-wives. Shrill, overbearing, narcissistic, ruthless, cackling, .... In the end, we're going to put that memory in our heads, march to the ballot box, and do to Hillary what many of us didn't do to our ex's for years before they left us, or vice versa. This message endorsed by White Males for Barack Obama.

    January 25, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  6. Carl Hackert

    John Kerry's got guts and some dislike for the Clinton's. If Bill had fought for him maybe he would have one in 2004. Bill did not support Gore or Kerry because that would have made it more difficult for Hillary. George Bush was elected in 2000 becuase the country was sick of the Clintons. Bill's bringing it all back! I thought Obama's crack about Bill Clinton's dancing ability in order to be a "brother" was insulting and racist. Imagine the reaction if Tom DeLay had said that...

    January 25, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  7. Margarita


    January 25, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  8. Jimmy, Oklahoma Feb. 5th

    I wonder if President Clinton told the truth when he was campaigning for Kerry in 2004. How soon one forgets. KERRY WAS UNPOPULAR WITH THE DEMOCRATS AND STILL IS> HE IS UPSET BECAUSE HE IS NOT POPULAR LIKE BILL CLINTON.

    As for South Carolina suggesting wheater or not Obama is for real. Hardly the vote in South Carolina is all about race thanks to Jim Clyburn.


    January 25, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  9. TF

    John Kerry is bad news as far as I am concerned.

    He had the best opportunity to beat Bush in 2004 but he fluncked it. Bush won in 2004 due to lack of competition.

    This was a man for whom Clinton dragged himself from his sickbed to campaign for ( against doctor's advise)- during his surgery.

    In fact the republicans had to say ' The democrats are so deperate to campaign that they dragged a former president from his sick bed to campaign'

    This was a man Hillary Clinton defended for his flip flopping by saying ' John Kerry changes his opinion to fit the facts but Bush changes the facts to fit his opinion'.

    Now he is now campaigning for Obama and interfering with what is a family issue. He should take care of his own political career.

    I think he will end up losing face like Gore did when he endorsed Dean

    Up Hillary '08

    January 25, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  10. BNS

    Kerry's worried now because he came out for Obama and Obama may not prevail.

    You'll see how he changes his story depending upon how big Obama's win is in South Carolina.

    Actually, I believe that Obama has more to lose in SC than Clinton. He not only has to win, but he has to win big. If he doesn't and Clinton can claim that she still has at least a small influence in the black community, then Obama loses no matter how many delegates he gets.

    It's a shame, but this is the truth. Just as throughout history, members of minority groups have to prove themselves by doing BETTER than the majority just to claim being average.

    January 25, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  11. Dave

    I find it strange that a former US President would interject the way he has during this campaign. I voted for him the fist time, and feel the "Clinton Fatigue" that many Americans feel. I also find it strange that the folks who talk about the politics of personal destruction, have been loose with the facts when it comes to Mr. Obama. I think if this type of mudslinging form both camps continues, the Democrats are going to be doing a lot of back-tracking to unify the party for the November election.

    January 25, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  12. Jakie

    Kerry has no royalty and he is a sore loser, I used like him but now I am happy he did not win in last election...

    January 25, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  13. kerry should crawl back to the senate

    I supported Kerry in 2004, but his recent childish behavior makes me wonder why. He should just keep his chauvinistic mouth shut.

    January 25, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  14. IndependentObservation

    I love how everyone is attacking Kerry's past. How he couldn't stand up to the swift boating and how he lost the election in 2004.

    Can we also go back to Bill Clinton's past? He lied under oath and got impeached. He was the worst role model by having a illicit sexual relationship while he was still a president......the list goes on.

    But lets face it. It's not about the past. Its about our future. The reason why our country is in this mess today is because it has been politics as usual in Washington. We split the country along party lines and nothing gets done. We need a different approach. Hillary Clinton is a great senator. But she has a tendency to split people along party lines. And the last thing we need is the kind of partisan politics that Bush has been playing for the last 8 years. We need to bring the republicans, independents and democrats together. And Hillary just cant do that. Obama CAN.

    I've always been apathetic towards politics because I feel that nothing gets done when we play along party lines. We need to forget about our parties for a second and choose the best candidate that will bring our country together. And I think that is Obama.

    January 25, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  15. Joe brown

    What is wrong here
    I think a lady should be in a dress ,not pant's all the time

    January 25, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  16. niknak

    I just like that Bill Clinton is defending his wife. That is a good thing. Considering Bill was not always faithful to her. I like that Bill is standing with his wife aggressively.
    How does Kerry know truth? He is an idiot.

    January 25, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  17. Andre Marentette

    This stimulus package is not going to work. I have questions such as where is the money (150 Billion ) coming from? Is it being borrowed from the US Federal Reserve which is a private corporation owned by 12 Federal Reserve Banks? Will that amount be added to the Federal debt? Has the federal government created the money at no cost to the taxpayers as former President Franklyn D. Roosevelt did every year of his 12 years in office. He created 11.2% of GDP for 12 consecutive years and spent it into circulation which was a tremendous help to bring the great depression to an end. No president before or after FDR created so much money to the benefit of the economy. That is the kind of stimulus package we need today to repair our decaying infrastructure. Government created money is permanent and Bank created money is ephemeral and only stays in circulation as long as someone is paying on it. Our economy is 95% BCM (Bank Created Money) and I would say lees than 5% GCM (Government Created Money).
    The US Constitution gives Congress the Power to create money and establish the value thereof. Look it up

    January 25, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  18. skip

    Who the hell cares what John Kerry thinks or who he endorses? The man is a loser.

    January 25, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  19. scman

    South Carolina African American voters! Please think all the good things that the Clintons have done for your community over the years. Can you name anything that Obama has done for you. Don't believe him. He is all talk nothing inside. He is selling snake oil by uttering the words of CHANGE and HOPE. Talk alone can't bring about the change. He is so weak, when it comes to judgment and decision-making. Don't waste your vote by siding with him.

    January 25, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  20. Budd

    We had a Bush, then a Clinton, then another Bush. We do not need a Clinton again, this time around.

    January 25, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  21. v.ananthan


    January 25, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  22. NYC, New Yorker, NY

    I am glad i am not voting for another Skull & Bones Member

    January 25, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  23. sharon


    I don’t think Clintons ever said anything- CNN did alter the story. They are almost campaign against her.

    You are listening to the altered story from media.


    Listen to actual conversation. Why Kerry and CNN has endorse truth when its out there

    Hillary 08

    January 25, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  24. raghu

    Mr. Kerry please go back to sleep you were in . You couldn't defend yourself from swiftboating and you make fun of Iraq war . BTW, VP place not open for you if that's what you are trying for. Bill did serve his nation well not like you.

    January 25, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  25. James

    Hey Kerry, This just proves I was right when I thought the ticket was backwards in 2004.

    Oughta be Edwards this time also. Smartest and best one out there.. Again.

    January 25, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
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