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. Sandra Poole

    Have lost all respect for both Bill and Hillary because of their behavior. They are destroying a chance for the Democrats to win the White House. If she is the nominee, I will not be voting Democratic for the first time in many years.

    January 25, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  2. independent thinker

    hurry CNN!!! Why does moderation of my comments take so long????????

    STOP HILLARY! (And Bill)

    January 25, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  3. Richard

    Obama and all his fellow Clinton-haters have learned their lessons well from Karl Rove. They failed when they tried to smear Clinton in 1998 and now they are trying again smear Clinton in 2008.

    The American people can see right through the smear tactics of Karl Rove and Obama.

    GO HILLARY!!!! GO BILL!!!!

    January 25, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  4. keep the peace

    Although Hillary is the one suppositly running for President, her husband is the one campaigning. This man sold technology to other countries that poses a serious threat to this Country.

    Whats wrong with people this is not a game. This is serious. The media makes mockery of this whole campaign.

    Bill Clinton should not only be allowed back in the White House, he has no right to praticipate in our governing process. HE IS A SERIOUS THREAT TO THIS COUNTRY ! ! !

    This man was impeached! How in the name of common sence is this man allowed to determine who will be the most important leader in the world! ! !?


    January 25, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  5. liz

    Well I hope this stream of TGIF BS is not a true indication of the Democratic party.
    Because those Republican are going to beat us from within.

    Lets show them what we are made of and unite to win.

    January 25, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  6. gene

    hey stan from pitts pa this is not about bill's sex life. its about the issuse do your homework. hillary 08 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 25, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  7. debbie

    Media manipulation at its finest!!! They point out how a big chunk of Black voters are for Obama and how little the number of Whites are voting for him AND THEN blame the Clintons for playing the RACE CARD!!! I can't even point out what it is that the Clintons are doing that is so out of the ordinary... Don't fight Obama's fight for him...he is a grown man, fully capable of defending himself...Thank you very much!! Don't insult the intelligence of the Black electorate!!!

    January 25, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  8. Bimmer

    Kerry might be thinking that only way to go to the White House is to as a VP with Obama.

    Some dreamer.

    January 25, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  9. Thinker, Newport beach, CA

    It is amazing how all the Hillary people here have the worst grammar, not to mention spelling. This is the same group of people who spends hard earned money buying lotto tickets. There is a reason most people with an education vote for Obama (this is a fact/ check the exit polls). People who have an education tend to think more. Look who voted for Hillary in New Hampshire, mostly uneducated women. I feel sorry for them.

    January 25, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  10. Jorge

    I think Bill is hurting her and hurting the Democratic Party... I will not vote for her even if it means voting independent or even republican... Look at this statement Bill Clinton just made, “The President is not called the 'Chief Executive Officer of America' for nothing. You don’t run the bureaucracy but you are responsible for seeing that your ideas turn into positive changes in other people’s lives.” When Hillary criticized Obama for saying "I don't think there is anybody in this race who can inspire the American people better than I can. And I don't think there is anybody in this race who can bridge differences ... better than I can. But I'm not an operating officer. Some in this debate around experience seem to think the job of the president is to go in and run some bureaucracy. Well, that's not my job. My job is to set a vision of 'here's where the bureaucracy needs to go.’” She attacked Obama at the Nevada debate about it. She said "I think you have to be able to manage and run the bureaucracy." "I think it’s important that we have a president who understands that you have to run the government,” Who understands them???

    January 25, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  11. Bag the Billster

    Since the CLINTOONS like Rezko so much, maybe they'll turn that double-wide trailer park that they plan to move into after the election into a SLUMLORD ZONE!!!! wwwaaaaaaahhaaaaaahaaaaaaa!!

    January 25, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  12. SEW

    Francois is swiftboating ex President Clinton! That is, telling it like it is. Swiftboating. To tell the truth. Francois, release your military record as promised.

    January 25, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  13. Gen

    Go Kerry!! It takes a lot of courage to go against the Clintons! Besides he received more votes than Bill Clinton ever did during his election!
    In the end, Bill is just making Hillary and her campaign look really bad.

    OBAMA 2008!!

    January 25, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  14. Mike K

    Save your strengh for your everyday job .Don't fight for Obama or Clinton .Final day will come very soon : A white amarican man is president

    January 25, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  15. Joe Boyer

    Clintons are shameless, faceless and cold blooded career politicians. They are excellent in "looking you in the eye, lie and lie". John Edwards is trying his best to follow in their footsteps. Edwards is working on getting the vice-presidency or some strong position in the cabinet. He knows he cannot be reelected as a senator again. It is ironic that Karl Rove tactics of lies and deception are totally exercised by Democrats. You think that by going for Democrat you may releive the country from Bush-Cheney-Rove trio. This is just an illusion. The forces behind the same trio switched sides to Democrats now. Perhaps we have to do the unexpected and put a Republican president into the White House again, until political independent movement becomes a reality. Otherwise, the vicious cycle of last 40 years will continue. America is waking up and getting more involved in politics. I have big hopes for the future unless people are again pushed to idiocracy by fastfood, TV shows and greed.

    January 25, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  16. Bag the Billster

    Hey CNN (CLINTOON News Network)......why does it take so long to do this: 'Your comment is awaiting moderation'. Is it because we are trying to simply expose the CLINTOONS lies, deceit, crookedness, etc.? Are you trying to protect Shrillary and her Slickster husband for some reason? Is this truly the CLINTOON News Network?

    January 25, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  17. Lori

    What I'm really scared of is JOHN KERRY'S comment from January 10 when he said, "Obama isn't just going to break the mold......Together, WE are going to shatter it into a million pieces!" I hope he's not backing Obama in hopes that he can jump on the ticket as a Vice President...........that comment alone is making me have reservations on voting for Obama......... I want a leader that is quick on their feet when making decisions, someone who values everyone's opinions, will not get befuddled when challenged, will know when talking won't work anymore, and someone who cares about this country........I don't like it when race and gender is the focal point of any news article or poll.....And as a white women I am highly offended that they, the media, think African American women will have a hard decision on who to vote for.....I hate to tell you but these women are very intelligent and can make decisions.....I myself am going to vote for the candidate that I believe can do the best and that will definietly not be based on race or gender and I think most people will vote the same way...........................................


    January 25, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  18. sef

    Clinton haters, CNN the more you all try to pull Hillary down the harder she's gonna kick your behinds. If Michelle can campaign for her husband, Bill has every right to do the same. All the so called political analysts especially the females whose hatred for Hillary is so blatant should just spare us their expertise. Just facts, stop injecting your bias into this campaign.

    Obviously, you havent learnt any lesson from New Hampshire!!!

    January 25, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    As Americans we should see through the mess coming from both sides. As an African American I say we should not support People who just wanna give us a check each month. We need to learn to fish instead of begging. We are not the only community who have had a bad experience in our great nation. The Irish, Eastern Europeans, South Americans, The Chinese have all had a rough and tough time here. They didn't make it out by killing each other, refusing to go to school, refusing to get jobs and refusing to stop harming their own communities through painful ways. The greatest enemy of the black man in America is the black man. Bitter FACT. Obama represents a change he has values and experience desperately needed in our communities. And Whites can learn a lot from a black president lets all move on together as one great and mighty nation and let the healing process finally begin. This is a great country and together we can all make it even greater. Peace and Love to all my brothers and sister white, black, yellow and brown

    January 25, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  20. Fishsnot


    January 25, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  21. Beth

    Looks like Obama is leading in Georgia and Illinois polls...All other (20) states come super tues Clinton is ahead most double digits..mmmmmm I bet my money on Clinton...
    see if this post gets posted, since cnn favors Obama

    January 25, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  22. Catherine

    It looks to me as if the media is endorsing Obama. They seem to be casting him in a good light all the time, and baiting Hillary Clinton. Of course she is going to come out fighting. I wouldn't expect anything less. I think Barack Obama is a good guy. But I don't think he has the experience in government or diplomacy to lead this country. He gives very eloquent speeches, and is charismatic. I can't see anything else to recommend him for the job. In the very first Democratic debate, Joe Biden made the statement that the next President will have zero room for error. I think he was right. This country is in trouble because of the policies of the Bush Administration. Now is not the time for on the job training. Experience and connections DO matter. That's why I'm voting for Hillary Clinton.

    January 25, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  23. TF

    People should not resort to personal attacks here.
    Arguments don't change the facts. Facts are constant
    Obama has shown himself to contradict what he claims he is.

    About younger educated people going for Obama. The explanation is simple: He is young and very vocal and these xteristics appeal to young and educated people. Whether he is honest , sincere or competent is another matter entirely.

    Now that Bill has called a truce and went silent, no one is accusing Obama for still continuing the attacks.

    Up Hillary '08

    January 25, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  24. Oh No, Not Again

    What? Is that KERRY running off at the mouth AGAIN?!?!

    Why doesn't that loser go crawl back under his rock that he's been under since his drubbing in the 04 general election.

    This idiot couldn't beat Bush even after everyone knew he had lied about WMD. No one outside of his home state cares who he's endorsing or what he thinks about anything.

    January 25, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  25. Micahel Guinn, Ventura, CA

    Richard-When are you and the rest of the HRC crowd going to stop with your hate-mongering. There is NO comparison between Rove and Obama- but after the last two weeks, there seems to be MANY likenesses between Kommandant Karl and the Klinton Kampaign!
    We may have lost to the republicans-AGAIN- because of stuff like this!
    You beltway boys/girls, and the Machine politics has SEVERELY split this party!
    You have no one to blame but yourselves!
    You sound more like republicans than many of them do! SHAME ON YOU! SHAME ON BILL!
    Obama 08!

    January 25, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64