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. makeba Houston TX

    I began this campaign with a resevoir of respect for th ex- president.
    That resevoir has dried up.
    It is clear that the Clinton's want to win. But more and more it seems they want to win for them, not for us.

    I will vot McCain or stay home if Hillary gets the nomination.

    Voting for her, rewarding her for the campaign tactics that she has used...
    would leave me absolutely sick.

    My vote is worth more than that to me.

    A woman would be nice. But not just any woman will do.

    And Hillary, that woman aint you!

    Obama, Edwards, McCain, Paul...anbody but the Clintons.

    This is coming from a life long Democrat. I have NEVER voted for a Republican...EVER.

    But the "times, they are a changin"

    January 25, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  2. Thomas, NY

    Kerry is nothing to me. I admire Clintons a lot. She will win the nomination of the Democratic candidate for the US President. Can't wait to see her becoming the first US Woman president.

    January 25, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  3. MediaJunkie, Washington, DC

    It's good to see that the infighting in the Democratic Party won't be a factor in the 2008 presidential election. Anyone other Dems want to jump into this fight?

    January 25, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. Pope, Houston, Texas

    It's high time someone stood up to Bill's lies!!! .......and to think he was once a president I liked makes me sick. He's true color stinks. well for Bill it depends on what "is" is. Tell it like it is John. The Clintons think they are untouchable.

    January 25, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  5. ABH

    Clinton has lost my support forever.

    I sincerely hope people see through the Clinton dirty tricks and Obama gets the nomination.

    I always vote democrat, but if Billary gets the nod, I will vote for ANYONE else.

    January 25, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. Rich In Seattle

    So if Hillary didn't have Bill Clinton, would she still even be a contender in this race?

    The only real record she has to run on is she was married to a president. Plus with Bill on the news every day as if he was running for President, it shows me they don't feel she could have pulled this off on her own without him.

    I don't recall Margaret Thatcher needing her husband to win, she won on her own. I'd like to elect the first woman president based on what she would do on her own, not on the simple fact that we like her husband.

    January 25, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. Gilroy Prince

    Senator Kerry, what President Clinton is doing now, answering allegations and speaking the truth is what you should have been doing when you ran for office in 2004. You kept quiet about the "swiftboat", no guts to stand up against the Republicans' attacks which we all know cost you & Senator Edwards the election.....YOU WASTED MY VOTE FOR YOU IN 2004!!!!!

    January 25, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  8. mountain man

    Does Obama really think having Kerry go after Clinton is a good idea? Kerry is a tool and is just going to bring Obama down if people have to choose clinton vs kerry they will chose clinton everytime.

    January 25, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  9. Robert Johnson

    What little respect for Bill Clinton that I have , is now gone. He and his wife have turned the state of SC into a racial frenzy. While they repeatedly that race is not an issue, Bill uses it every chance he gets. The plan to polarize the "black" and "white" voters has seemed to work, and I think it is the most disgusting thing I have seen (politically). They want the Black community to believe that they have our best interest at heart, when in fact they are political hounds with no interest for us , nor white voters for that matter.

    January 25, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. MB, Louisiana

    I find it ironic that former President Clinton, after heart surgery, got out of his sick bed to go and campaign for this guy when Kerry was struggling to hold it together. Thanks John Kerry, I'm sure Hillary appreciates your endorsement of Barack Obama.

    January 25, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  11. Caden

    Wow! How many Democrats have come out and said that Hill/Billy is using lies, lies and more lies in their campaign. The list keeps growing and growing.

    Hey Bill – don't you have a date with a blue dress right about now?

    January 25, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  12. Mark C. Eades

    I'm getting to like John Kerry a little more every day. Too bad we saw so little of his feistier side in 2004. The Clintons' antics in recent days may cost them dearly.

    January 25, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  13. AJ - Montpelier

    Kerry will say just about anything to knock Bill Clinton. Kerry wants to be the "leader" of the democratic party that he will do and say anything. We can all see what kind of a "leader" he was during the last election cycle. Kerry need to find a rock, climb under it and stay there!

    January 25, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  14. Margery Copeland

    Canada is watching the election down there. From our standpoint Hilary Clinton seems to have a sense of entitlement to the White House. Hence the frantic unfair campaign tactics by her and her husband.
    The Clintons have had their day. He left in disgrace. Obama offers a fresh approach to the Iraq mess and domestic policy..especially health care for all.

    January 25, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  15. Ivelisse

    wow... Mr. "I will not fight back" is critizing somebody who does...... hahahahaha

    BTW: this line is coming out of ALL of Obama's "supporters"as of late:

    "...being an ex-president does not give you licence to abuse the truth..."

    campaign soundbite!!!??????

    January 25, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  16. Monte Brown, New York, NY

    I am so tired of the double standards in politics. The Obama camp can throw as much mud as it wants and the media throws him a bone, but when Hillary Clinton states things that differentiates herself from Obama it is considered attacking. This is ludicrous and the Obama supporters are just trying to help Obam a win instead of helping the American people.

    John Kerry lost to George W. Bush because John Kerry did not know how to fight the reactionary spin machine, now he is aiding the reactionaries by supporting Obama. This is not fair. I hope South Carolinians can see this.

    January 25, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  17. Bryan

    So he's telling Clinton to do what he did last time.....
    Did he forget that he lost with that tactic?

    January 25, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. Q-round rock tx

    I agree Kerry. I use to respect Bill Clinton. However, now that he has attacked Obama for reasons he feel are truthful the respect has gone out the window. However, if Obama our future President resulted to this type of slander Bill it would only take a couple of words to slam you and Hillary. I believe Obama's wife said it, " Mrs Clinton can't take care of her own household". Let's start there. Well, Obama chooses not to result to these type of tactics. Bill just sit down and chill. Stop trying to get back into the white house you've had your 8yrs let your wife finish making a mess of this campaign. I hope our American people take a look at the issues. Watch as each candidate speaks. Obama speaks from his heart and not once have I seen him looking down and reading a speech. Hillary try to keep your eyes on the people. Learn something from Obama.

    January 25, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  19. Sarah R

    Hey Kerry isnt't that calling the kettle black. Give me a break-All you people on Capital Hill-all you guys is bully each other...and lie about each other. I am not a Clinton Fan...but, i am not a fan of yours either...Practice what you preach.

    January 25, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  20. ConcernedDem

    Kerry ran the most ineffective and useless campaign in 2004,kept completely silent when he was being swift boated.Now he gets up and attacks Bill Clinton the only successful democratic president in decades.Incapable sore loosers should know to keep their big mouths shut when it is not their turn.
    Bill Clinton is justified in advocating for his wife and comparing the records with her all talk no action rival.

    January 25, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. PoliTricks

    Who the heck is running here anyway? Bill or Hill?

    January 25, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  22. Angela

    like anyone cares what John Kerry thinks...go home idiot and shut up !

    January 25, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  23. Pope, Houston, Texas

    For the 1st time, lets elect an honest, intelligent and smart president in this country. I'm sick and tired of the Power drunk Clintons.

    January 25, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. Marcus, Independence MO

    As an African American I would like to respond to Ben from Columbus. Tell me what the Clinton's have done for blacks?? And don't tell me create jobs because the internet bubble did that. All Billary is trying to do is drive a wedge between blacks. The old v. the new. They keep this race thing going trying to convince white voters that we are only voting for Obama because he is black. Yeah I see what Bill's done for us. He's forcing us away from a viable candidate because he's our color. He's trying to convince us that.....just maybe our opinion is wrong and not factually based. I do know one thing he will do if he hasn't already done it and that is divide the black community and the democratic party.

    Go Kerry way to speak the truth. Sit down and shut-up Bill.

    January 25, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  25. Rodney

    Ben, we as african-americans need to quit expecting candidates to do something for us. DO FOR YOURSELF. I can't remember anything that the Clinton's have done for AA except use us. AA need to get off the CLINTON PLANTATION.

    January 25, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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