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. Ryan

    What exactly is an endorsement by John Kerry worth? Prior to the 2004 election (which he lost) and in all the time after, was he ever talked about or influential? Why should I care about his opinion?

    As for Obahma, he seems like a good politician, and will undoubtedly make a good President... one day... after he has had some more experience. I don't "hope" for change, I believe in a plan and the experience to see it through. That being said, I for one am enthralled to see the "Clinton machine" in practice. What a dynamic duo! I hope the win it all!

    January 25, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  2. Richard

    Is John Kerry swiftboating the impeached former president who was videotaped lying under oath?

    January 25, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  3. James

    John Kerry, stay out of it. You blew it in 2004 and again in 2007.

    January 25, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  4. Jane

    Guys, don't you see how the Clinton's have dealt the race card to derail Obama?

    92% of those who voted for Obama in Iowa were white.
    What's wrong with at least 92% of African Americans in S.C voting for Obama too?

    They have set the stage so that if he wins in SC on Saturday, they would insinuate its because he is a 'black' person.

    The Clintons have truly set us back 30 years.
    The Clintons have succeeded in dividing us all and dragging us into the gutter with them.

    It's working for them though, because most of the electorate is not particularly smart.

    It is not a coincidence that Clinton supporters are not particularly educated – they are the ones that can only comprehend a one-sentence sound bite (the message is put in their minds). Bush did it and succeeded, why not the Clintons?.

    Clinton signed off our inheritance to NAFTA
    Bush sealed the deal with the war in Iraq.

    Between these two families, we no longer have True Democracy.
    Yet, some people still want them at the White House? At OUR White house?.

    We are in bad trouble.

    January 25, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  5. Matt Davenport

    I hate kerry he messed the democrats over

    January 25, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  6. BILL5321

    If Hillary were president and Bill got sick. Would Hillary be able to make a decision?

    She does not seem to in charge, but Bill is. Hillary is is totally dependent on Bill's

    Not sure she would make a good president if she cannot do her own talking.

    January 25, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  7. pazzinthru

    I am apalled at Mr Kerry, trying to swift boat the clintons!!! Truth is a relative thing , and everyone has a right to his or her own version of it, Kerry talking about twisting truth is like the pot calling the kettle black,
    The swift boat veterans know well how Mr Kerry already adjusts the facts to his own liking

    January 25, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  8. harrison gbenu

    Why blasting kerry for standing up for the truth at least hes not a sell out , johnson of Black Endangered Thief (BET) . the very REV AL who claim hes black but act like a dog who only play where there's food for him.they all play towards the clinton and still say blacks are minority. AMERICA wake up against all this fake black african leaders.
    The real issue is what we all should be talking about how to get out of the many problems BUSHED will be leaving us all with.

    January 25, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  9. Clinton Fatigue already

    Don't agree with Kerry too often, but he is right on here. Gutless Kennedy does it behind closed doors, at least this guy shows some guts.

    It's not the Republicans fault, no vast right-wing conspiracy or a media driven story sheep, this is FELLOW DEMOCRATS who are calling your King and "Queen" out day after day after............................

    Even as a Conservative I applaud them, much like Obama, they are speaking the truth.

    January 25, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  10. DA

    I'm a Democrat through and through but, if Hillary gets the nomination I will not vote in the general election. The tactics she is using are no better then what Bush used to get into the White House, and look where we are at folks. When some one will do or say anything to win something then something is really wrong.
    I tell you just go out and look at her action during the campaign. In the beginning when every media outlet had her as a shoe in for the nomination, she could care less about using Bill or other dirty tactics. But, wow look at her now, she has used tears, Bill and lies to tarnish a threat!! Therefore I ask you, what you think they will do if they get back in the White House? I mean the 90's they were good but, it's time to move on and not look behind. To win the White House is really just another notch on the Billary belt of political achivement!!! Therefore I say wake up people vote for anyone but her!!!

    January 25, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  11. Milton

    I to was a fierce Clinton supporter, but the comments, the back and forth from the Clinton camp has really turned me off to the Clinton's, If they will do and say anything to get into office, there will be no telling what she's going to do once she gets in office. Thank god Barack will be there instead

    January 25, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  12. Tara

    I think Obama and his supporters will grasp just anything surrouding them and claim it is good and relevant:
    – John Kerry's words.
    – Republican ideas.
    – Couple-year experience of living in a foreign country at the age of 10.
    – Drug use.

    January 25, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  13. Marcia, AZ

    The only reason anyone voted you was because John Edwards was on your ticket...shut up, John...nobody cares, nobody's listening anymore.

    January 25, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  14. jake dog

    Hilliary is a fake and this is simply chickens coming home to roost. Why is she a NY Senator any way- she was born in Illinois and lived most of her adult life in Arkansas and D.C.

    January 25, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  15. Marge Hibbing Mn

    Oh dear Obama has another member of his slime patrol...too bad Kerry did not come forward and fight for the American People, when rove and bush were going after him. And too bad he didn't fight for the American People and requested a recount in Ohio...but then he has Obama to hide behind and shake his old jelly balls pretending to be somebody.

    January 25, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  16. Vivien, Discovery Bay, CA

    To Thinker, Newport Beach, CA: Hmmm. . .Newport Beach. . . Orange County, the very epicenter of conservatism. Obviously you are a Republican so why are you wasting your time here? Why are you not somewhere else, posting messages about your own party and its candidates?

    Your demeaning, elitist comments are without merit. Don't waste your phony sympathy on the women of New Hampshire. You show enormous arrogance in labeling them as "uneducated". And FYI, I am an educated woman with a Doctorate in Education and 30 years experience in teaching and school administration. My daughters are well educated also: one a clinical psychologist, the other a school administrator. Believe it or not, we are able to read, think, and analyze the issues and qualities of the major Democratic candidates. Because we've paid attention and done our homework, we are firm supporters of Hillary Clinton.

    January 25, 2008 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  17. nancy harding

    Kerry is a joke , just like all the dems.The only way they win is to take from hard working people and give it the do nothings of the country.

    January 25, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  18. ash

    STOP this all, Pleaseeeeeeeeeeee!!!

    January 25, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  19. Tara

    Thinker, Newport beach, CA.

    poor, uneducated people tend to support Clintons because they believe the Clintons can bring them changes that are so real and related to their life. They did once taste the changes and addicted to them.

    those so-called well educated Obama's supporters only like the game of politics to be played differently, more excitingly. That is the only change that they need.

    You said Obama supporters know how to think or think better, then think about it: who are really in need, and who is needed by those in need.

    January 25, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  20. Bill, IL

    So...Bill Clinton's campaign tactics were ok when he was campaigning on YOUR behalf, but now that he is campaigning for someone you don't like, he's the devil? I have voted for democrats in every election for the past 20 years. Yes, John Kerry, I even voted for you against my better judgement. But know this: YOU ARE NO BILL CLINTON! He's the man and you are nothing more than a wannabe.

    Waffles anyone?

    January 25, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  21. Justine McCormick

    I can't figure out why women are for Hiliary. She made a great investment while at Rose Law Firm in a very short time. The lost papers were found much later on her end table. She worked with much success at distroying any women that had an affair with her her playboy Bill .
    I think Kerry found the only reason that Bill got into power was his looks and being a great speaker. The worst thing anyone did was vote for Ross P. so Pretty Bill was able to kiss up to young voters. Thanks Mr. Kerry for waking up to the way the Clinton's work/ Mr. & Mrs. President again. Justine

    January 25, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  22. Monsur

    I waste my money and vote supporting John Kerry -2004. I know why he is supporting Obama he know America is not ready for Black president so he will have another chance 2012.Dream on John.

    January 25, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  23. SL4UCLA

    I expect this from a guy who didn't have the sack to challenge the 2004 election... How easily we forget who had our back... I guess you only liked the Clinton's when you needed their support, without it your run for President would have fallen on it A–!! I guess you are a what have you done for me lately kind of guy..... I am sorry I voted for you.. I had no idea what kind of loyalty you have for past friends... Enjoy your wife's money... You will need it in obscurity...... Thank you for your time.

    January 25, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  24. Pete

    Kerry is like the pot calling the kettle black, he's a liar, Clinton's a liar, Hillary's a liar, Edwards is a liar, Obama's a liar, this entire Democratic parade of charlatans
    is a joke and nightmare foisted on the gullible American people.

    January 25, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  25. Mac Greensburg, PA

    I once again admire Senator Kerry for speaking truth to power. He did this in his 2004 campaign and when he stands up for what is right and just, it makes me sad all over again that this great leader is not our president right now.
    Mr. Clinton has been over the top and IMO it is more about maintaining power than it is about really supporting his wife. The Clinton's anything for a donation and anything for a vote. I am tired of their brand of politics.

    January 25, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
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