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. Jose Card - Independent

    Kerry is one Democrat that can speak the truth.
    These silent Dems in front of a reckless Bill remind me of the Republicans.
    The two parties are becoming alike.
    Be Independent!

    January 25, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  2. Polically Savvy

    When I look at the candidates, one of the most important traits I look for is integrity. Having integrity doesn't mean a candidate can't change his mind. In fact a person with real integrity will admit if he is wrong and change. Mitt Romney has done this. He has the highest integrity of all the candidates. Sadly, the leading candidate from the other party has lost her integrity time and time again and continues to do so–has done so for at least the last 16 years. Some of the other candidates have very strong points, but I have to say the Mitt Romney is the one real leader with the integrity AND the leadership skills AND the experience and know-how to get this country changed around.

    January 25, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  3. Jimmy

    Shut up Kerry!

    Keeping talk, Clintons.

    January 25, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  4. Kristy

    The World Loves Bill Clinton. Do you think that we are smart by trashing him? It will just show the world how stupid we still are by trashing him. If Barack has to whine and get others (MSNBC and CNN) to support that whining, Barack may win by getting a guilt presidency will show the world how weak America is. CNN and MSNBC are fighting to show how much they are liberal and that the Clinton's are the devil. Grow up, we are in a global ecomony. Do we really want to act like we don't care about the world? Apparently Obamamaniacs think that thier "non experiece" will be any better than France's new guy.

    Spare me the whining that Obama's campaign has been doing.

    January 25, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  5. Southoc

    CNN, your election coverage borders on the ludicrous. Although you looked good on the Daily show.

    January 25, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  6. Chuck G

    So let me see if I get this right: Bill Clinton's a liar when Democrats don't agree with him, but honest when they do?

    And of all people, John Kerry accuses someone of distorting the truth for electoral gain?

    Best way for the Republicans to win in the modern era: hand the microphone to a Democrat!

    January 25, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  7. papeehara

    Has CNN prohibited Clinton backers Carville and Begalia from appearing on CNN as political analysts because of complaints and pressure from the Obama camp????

    January 25, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  8. B Beckman

    Can you say, "VP material"?

    January 25, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  9. Justin

    Media is acting like money hungry meniac. They created Obama bigger then he his so they can make money .Now they love Mitt because he is the only one has money.

    Also leftist element of Democratic party need to learn from past.

    Mondel,Dukakis,Kerry. and now Obama.

    January 25, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  10. B Beckman

    Can you say, "I accept the nomination for Vice President"?

    January 25, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  11. papeehara

    CNN, my comment has not been printed...I wonder why...is it because it raises some serious concerns about the Obama political (chicago) arm twisting?????

    January 25, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  12. Jay

    Hillary, call off your attack dog. If you can't can't run this campaign without Bill's smears, how do you expect our support if you can't run you own show.

    January 25, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  13. Calypso

    There is one thing i know can't happen even in Afghanistan: Nobody will dare vote for a president who sheds tears like Hill with little challenge. Folks, have you considered your her possible reaction if she suprisingly encounters Bin Laden behind closed doors?? She'll definitely have a blackout!

    January 25, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  14. danielo

    Very few high profile politicians are willing to stand up to the Clintons when they try to abuse the process.

    I salute you J.Kerry!!

    January 25, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  15. Bob

    Obama says he did not really know Tony Resko but he bought property from him, Rezko served as a member of Obama's US Senate finance committee, and ABCNews says Obama did not disclose hundreds of thousands of Rezko raised donations....who's the liar now Mr. Kerry??

    January 25, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  16. jim, netcong nj

    the reason he said it was he felt the clintons didn't help him in 2004, because if he had won hillary couldn't run until 2012. thats the reason he also endorsed obama. 4 senators, all democrats, are trying to keep her from the nomination, kerry, kennedy and i forget the other two. so its noy about character, or 'stones', its about payback. john edwards was his running mate, but didn't carry his home state, also costing kerry the election. payback, thats always what its about with these guys.

    January 25, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  17. joze46

    For all America knows Laura Bush has been runing the Government for the past seven years, cause we all know George is too dumb to it.

    January 25, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  18. Wilfred Marlin Owens

    Bill Clinton former President counterfeit road scholar and accomplished pathological liar is quite full of himself, arrogant and vain. Apparently this idiot
    is so stupid he has casually convinced himself that we are all of inferior intelligence so mentally handicapped that we believe him! His integrity is so conspicuously absent the truth does not know him and he has never knew
    the truth! Since I have discovered who he really is I have forgotten the legacy
    of respect and love I once had for him and his tenure in office.

    This guy endured no injustice being the first President to be impeached since
    Andrew Johnson. Shame on this heathen sleeping through repentence while
    in Church. My Bible makes it quite clear that this type of individual will not tarry
    in the sight of God. Someone besides the Obama campaign, besides John Kerry
    should stand up and tell Bill that no one is foolish enough to trust him but
    Hillary and Chelsea. I do not want this power lusting family back in the White House. I do not want to lose the General Election. I hope that Howard Dean
    and the Democratic party are not dumb enough to make his wife Hillary the
    nominee. As a Black Man in America I have already voted for Barack Obama
    and walked away from the Clinton scam!


    January 25, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  19. Think aboutit

    You guys just don't realize why Kerry never stood up to the swift boat attacks? Why he never once denied the actual allegations from those ads????

    BECAUSE THEY WERE TRUE!!!!! Geez, figure it out. Do some of your own research, don't just believe what CNN tells you.

    January 25, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  20. Rolly

    Kerry in an ingrate. Let Kerry the loser infect the Obama campaign. Hillary will win the election in November.

    January 25, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  21. Darin Cox

    you liberals need to learn the spelling of "loser"

    January 25, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  22. jbhilt

    Clinton – McCain '08

    How quickly everyone turns against Bill. He did an amazing job as president and you can expect the same for Hiillary. We need another Clinton in the White House!

    It is nice to say that we actually have good choices in this election. I like Hillary, but Obama would do a fine job as well. I even think McCain would be a great choice. It's about time that we had so many strong candidates. It a shame that there is so much negativity directed at the candidates that you don't support.

    January 25, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  23. debbie

    Hi, Thinker in CA:
    I'm a pharmacist and I will be voting for Hillary. It's just another way of keeping people from voting for Hillary since no one wants to be identified w/ the uneducated.

    January 25, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  24. duan

    please , blacks (most) do not think of bill clinton as "the first black president".. that insanity began with tom joyner, host of the tom joyner morning show

    January 25, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  25. Scott

    Mr Kerry is the tired past. Who cares what he does? Why read this dribble?

    January 25, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
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