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. John


    January 25, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  2. Dylan

    And why do we care what this guy has to say? He obviously doesnt know how to win a presidential election.

    January 25, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  3. wallopinwill

    Was it abusive for Clinton to question why Obama was comparing himself to Reagan? Was it abusive for Clinton to examine Obama's claim to an American black identity, when his only black relatives are foreigners who have nothing to do with black America's main religion, culture, or historic experience?

    January 25, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  4. DD

    The world has had lots of great men, and every generation has their own great men that suit and fit the moment of that. Bill, please give us chance to taste and enjoy another great man of our time. Leave Obama alone and your fanaticness about your wife winning at all cost may tanish your image forever. Imagin when Obama wins both Clintons. That gonna be a blow and he is going to win them.

    January 25, 2008 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  5. Ruth

    Why is CNN giving Bill so much coverage? Is Bill running for president too?

    Has anyone seen an article about Ron Paul? Does CNN control who we vote for?

    January 25, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  6. greg

    why would you have seen sen. clinton in new orleans when katrina made landfall????And bob ryan, yes i have seen sen. clinton meeting with heads of state, after all , she was the first lady during the almost entire decade of the 90's . and also as a senator of new york . i am sure she has meet a few leading leaders of this world,, SO WHY WOULD YOU BE SURPRISED

    January 26, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  7. Kathy from Austin

    Why is my comment waiting for a "moderator?" It was very simple really. A grammar lesson for those who confuse "looser" with "loser."

    Loser = John Kerry

    Looser = Bill Clinton

    An English language lesson! What is the problem, CNN???

    January 26, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  8. AtlantaVoter

    derek wonders if there is a dem who would vote republican rather than vote for obama? I know several. He is plastic. He sounds more like a preacher than Huckabee. I don't need to be motivated or 'set afire' by rhetoric. I can motivate myself. I need someone who can get the job done and so far he has not shown that he can. Sorry, he is a manufactured face and voice. Listening to him is like being on a high carb diet - very tasty at first but then you get that empty feeling and need some protein.

    as for kerry - could it be he is jealous that Hillary slugs it out for herself when she needs to? surely kerry knows by now he lost the election for us because he was to wimpy to go after the swift boaters.

    Hillary Clinton 2008

    January 26, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  9. Dveronda, San Diego, ca.

    Kerry has a lot of nerve saying anything bad about the Clinton's.
    Remember Kerry dragging poor Bill out campaigning for him in the last election that Kerry blew. Bill hardly got home from his open heart surgery when Kerry was desperate for help.
    Kerry ought to just stay inconsequential as he was in the last election. Lets hear it again" I actually voted against it before I voted for it".

    January 26, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  10. Jeff

    Thanks John for standing up to that pervert, Bill Clinton. if not for his pervertic behavour in office Gore would be President, AND THERE WOULD BE NO IRAQ WAR. Shame on u Bill, you are partly responsible for the IRAQ WAR. NO TO DINESTY, NO TO THE CLINTON DINESTY, YES FOR CHANGE.

    January 26, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  11. JAZ

    ^that not gonna be a blow – Obama aint gonna win.

    That said, Kerry was such a roll-over pansy in 2004 that the Worst President ever was reelected. With all that ammunition, Kerry shot himself in the foot. Several times.

    About John Kerry: Skull and Bones. Took his own camera to Vietnam so he could film himself, think about that. Threw away his medals in protest, only to wear them decades later saying the medals he filmed himself throwing weren't really his. Marries for money. When accused of being a self-absorbed money-grubbing egotist, he went wind surfing on Martha's Vineyard while Lovey Howell looked on from a canopied yacht.

    Yeah, he's a political genius that John Kerry. By the way, nice way to knife your old running mate in the back, John Kerry.

    January 26, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  12. Pete

    What is the difference between "abusing the truth" and "lying?"

    January 26, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  13. Greg Newson

    I knew we were becoming a third world country, but I didn't know it was
    Argentina>Evita Peron!!!!!! wife of a general became their darling.
    Hillary her only qualification is she married a hand-picked President, by
    the Fellow Travelers of the media.

    January 26, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  14. greg

    wilferd,, as your bible supposedly was teaching you,, i think you missed the point of FORGIVING,, never have a heart of hate,, wow,,glad i do not follow religion based on the hate of mankind,, believe , and it sometimes comes true...

    January 26, 2008 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  15. john

    Obama is inevitability.

    January 26, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  16. Matt Kennedy

    I used to love President Clinton. Hilary was my candidate of choice. They now DISGUST me. Now I realize the Clintons are an illusion. They have no integrity and lack ethics.

    My vote is for Obama! Clintons you lost my vote.

    January 26, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  17. greg

    kathy. as profound as your statement was,,, it is viewable

    January 26, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  18. Angie

    Ginny, there is nothing wrong with voting for a Republican if you feel that the Republican nominee has more character and integrity than the nominee chosen by your own party. It's not just about the party anymore, it's about the COUNTRY. All this partisanship is what got us in this mess in the first place.

    I'm with you Dez (4). I was once a Clinton supporter but the tag-team campaigning and dirty tricks have shown me their true colors...they are just as bad as the worst of the Republicans. They only care about themselves and will step on anyone to get back to the White House. How disgusting!

    January 26, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  19. Charley

    Kerry must be very jealous on Clinton's success. I'd like he stays at home not comes out to talk about other people. Why did he lost in 2004? Because he does not know to respect all of American people not some who is not strong enought to become the present, like Obama.

    January 26, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  20. Grace

    It's very obvious what Bill and Hillary Clinton are doing: Bill is distracting Obama to the point where Obama can't give his full attention to debating Hillary because he has to answer to Bill's never ending lies. Bill is back to his dirty, sneaky tricks that he used to get elected President.. When he was confronted with all the lies and campaign promises he used to get elected, he explained that lies and campaign promises were just part of the getting elected process.

    Hillary has a campaign commercial that is running in Arizona in which she says she has 35 years experience.... in what?

    January 26, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  21. greg

    Well, lets remember that Clinton's anger at reporters is rare, because most reporters don't want to be blacklisted by the network producers and their rolodexes.

    Takes a lot of guts to criticize the press...because they will UNLIST you in a heart beat from their rollodexes like they did others...including a couple vice presidents who foolishly took on the fourth estate!

    Politicians who take on the press are destroyed in the press. We've seen more than a couple vice presidents who have been denegrated to nothingness for criticizing the press!

    Don't you notice how careful cable talking heads are of NOT criticizing their hosts for their stupid questions or their one-sided theatrics? No cable news guest wants to be blacklisted for making a network anchor look bad! Fastest tactic in the world to get yourself removed frm the public access. Never pis off a network if you want to be invited back on their air!

    News consumers should always realize that, and realize that this fear will keep many interviewees from crossing the points of the hosts, and tellling what they REALLY think. Remember, cable news is actually about reinforcing viewers' CONVENTIONAL WISDOM! No network will get ratings by suggesting something new to their viewers because viewers stick around to have their viewpoints REINFORCED, not CHALLENGED!

    January 26, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  22. Sameer Gupta

    I am an impartial observer from India. I believe that if Bill Clinton was the Black Man's President. Then I would believe that Barack Obama should be and must be a White Man's President. He is a guy who honestly wants to speak the truth. He has made it a point by mentioning his teenage drug use in his book. Truth is the ultimate celestial arm and anyone who sides the truth wins. The presidential campaign has a Black Man who has sided the truth for once and doesn't fear standing up against lies. He is a deserving candidate. He is a candidate that believes in himself and the God Almighty. He will definetely win and my prayers are with him.

    January 26, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  23. Mark, Chicago, IL

    Obama supporters are in fairy land! Stay there and we'll have Romney or Huckabee in the White House next year since Obama has no bones about destroying the Democratic party based on a happy cheerleading squad! That's the problem with Democrats – they are a bunch of fairy tale dreamers without wanting to put the hard and difficult work into it. Now all you Obama supporters listen carefully, "Click your heels and I promise you it will all go away, We will find the great land of Oz and live happily ever after with our happy thoughts."


    January 26, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  24. observer

    Kerry looks and talks like a used car salesman.

    January 26, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  25. Ken in Miami

    It's just politics. Kerry is betting on Obama to win. If Kerry's right and Obama does win he sittin' in tall cotton, if Clinton wins he's persona non grata. It's a risky move this early in the game.

    January 26, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
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