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. DB

    How do you "abuse the truth"? Does that mean blatantly exploiting the truth for one's own benefit? You either tell the truth or you tell a lie. It's as simple as that. At least Bill, Hillary, and Obama aren't weak sisters like Kerry, and it looks like you Dems are finally going to put up someone strong with either Hillary or Obama.

    January 26, 2008 03:47 am at 3:47 am |
  2. Khwaty


    Kerry is INGRATE indeed. He asked Bill and Hillary to campaign for him in 2004. He did not endorse his former runningmate.

    I can't believe i've voted for that ingrate and coward in 2004!

    January 26, 2008 03:52 am at 3:52 am |
  3. RJC

    Reality check:

    What made The United States a laughing stock was the national obsession with insignificant nonsense about Clinton's infidelity. Remember the glee with which salacious details were examined during the hearings? Gosh that was stupid, especially when you look at where George W. has brought us since.

    I only wish people would be one iota as outraged about the lies told by Bush/Cheney about WMD, implied connections between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, and how Iraq would be a piece of cake. Maybe fewer people would have lost their lives and limbs if Bush hadn't been such a great guy and had gotten rid of Rumsfeld sooner.

    Obama - lots of self confidence, not really enough experience but a really likable guy, people believe in him, he promises to clean up and change the way things are done in Washington, be a leader and a uniter. Sound familiar? Yeah, that's exactly the same profile as George W. Bush.

    Talk about abusing truth, huh? Kerry's probably looking for some kind of cabinet post since his Senate seat is up in 2008 and he figures Obama is his best option.

    January 26, 2008 03:54 am at 3:54 am |
  4. semaj

    I think the Clinton's are playig Washington politics. Obama's idea of change created media attention. How to defeat that momentum? Get him in the fray of old politics and then claim he is the same. Levels the playing field on who is the candidate for change if the Obama campaign fall for the bait, which they did.

    Bill's appearance on the campaign trail was minimal until the Iowa results. So, as even CNN pundits predicted, the Clintons would come out fighting as they see the presidency as their destiny or given right. Bill draws them into a fight and Hillary gets to recocile as if she is above the fray (after throwing in her jabs). It is Rove "ian", in its simplicity. Calculated and effective.

    Now Bill is saying that Hillary and John Mcain are friends. That is predictable old school politics. He is basically saying if voters are tired of the bitterness of the South Carolina debates then Hillary will be amiable with the Republican leading candidate. Just bait I say.

    January 26, 2008 03:57 am at 3:57 am |
  5. tomdavie

    Let me tell you all something very clearly. I post on bloggs on the Washington Post, USA today, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, AP, and the New York Times.

    CNN is the ONLY website to selectively crop which posts go up. The others have filters for swearing and whatnot, but dont go around picking ahd choosing which person is allowed to post or not.

    This is an outright fact. Dont believe me? Go to those sites , post whatever you like, and see for yourself.

    CNN is specifically choosing which posts it wil allow, and as we can see, it insists on 95% ANTI Clinton remarks.

    January 26, 2008 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  6. Angry Chinese Driver

    John Kerry THINKS a lot. But he can't be absolutely sure, can he?

    January 26, 2008 04:18 am at 4:18 am |
  7. Richard, Mckinney, Texas

    I grew up in Arkansas with Bill Clinton as governor the whole time..this is the way they are...they have their own mafia.....it's all able power....their ego's are driven by
    absolute power and nothing else...

    January 26, 2008 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  8. Ron

    America is just ending one family dynasty of Presidents. Does it really want to start another one? Are we moving from elections to coronations?

    January 26, 2008 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  9. HCollins

    Kathy from Austin: that's great!

    Kerry's a strange bird. He seems to have a knack for making people not like him.

    I suspect both Edwards and Clinton breathed a sign of relief when the "nod" went to Obama.

    January 26, 2008 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  10. JLS

    McCain new blood?

    January 26, 2008 05:05 am at 5:05 am |
  11. Murph

    If John Kerry is the tired past, that would put the Clinton's in hibernation! The Clinton's have done about as much for blacks as David Duke!

    January 26, 2008 05:05 am at 5:05 am |
  12. Brooklyn Born

    "As an African American, what has John Kerry ever did for us? He needs to stay out of this and just SHUT UP! At least the Clinton's have actually done something for African Americans!!! He couldn't even fight in the last election! Just be quiet and go make some Heinz."

    As a black American I think the same could be asked of the Clintons. My success has more to do with my personal choices (i.e. education, marketable skills, money management) than who occupies the White House. I do not look for much of anything from the GODvernment, in fact I just want to be left alone to succeed or fail on my own. Only children worry about what is in some other guy's wallet. That is why I left the democrat party and became an independent. For all your complaints about Kerry, I'd bet money you voted for him just the same.

    January 26, 2008 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
  13. John W Fort Worth TX

    zookyu January 26, 2008 1:20 am ET

    "As an African American, what has John Kerry ever did for us? He needs to stay out of this and just SHUT UP! At least the Clinton's have actually done something for African Americans!!! He couldn't even fight in the last election! Just be quiet and go make some Heinz."
    And you need someone to DO something for you?? F' n loser……….

    Why don't you make a real truthful list of what the Clinton's have done for you, it'll be shorter than the list of truthful people in the US Congress.

    January 26, 2008 05:24 am at 5:24 am |
  14. Sam Dontwanna

    Ahhhh. A Democrat finally acknowledging that Bill Clinton is a liar. That's wonderful news. I hope that more Democrats come out against the liar.

    January 26, 2008 05:53 am at 5:53 am |
  15. yerneighbor

    Zookyu: Concur.

    I saw that one too and wondered exactly what what Bill did besides PADER to (so-called African-Americans). He certainly didn't teach them to drop the African crap and be 100% AMERICANS.

    The other one I liked was... the Darth guy who is tired of Bill's "Republican Style Attacks". OMG, It is just amazing how people do not see themselves as others see them. Where's he been the past 8 years?

    Signed: 100% American with European ancestors who fought against the Negro Salve Traders.

    January 26, 2008 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  16. Gavin

    GO AWAY KERRY YOU LOSER – you lost to BUSH !!!
    ...and we're supposed to take you seriously?

    January 26, 2008 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  17. molly

    Gosh! Kerry again! why can he not just sit in his sofa, and watch soccer.
    Ungrateful manner i would say. i would advise him that he should have played neutral instead. because he saw that obama has a potential to win at that time, his vested interest came out. it was very clear to american people.
    hillary clinton was right, when he lost to bush, she said because they made some mistakes out there, in the campaign. and now kerry is making mistake again for enforsing obama.
    common kerry be more smart next time.

    January 26, 2008 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  18. Jane

    My friend's daughter has applied for internship at the White House.
    If Hillary is the nominee, she will withdraw her daughter's application.

    How about you guys hmm? Trust HillyBilly enough to have them around any of your female family members?

    Then what is the basis of your support?

    January 26, 2008 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  19. Ken

    Four years of Bush, Eight years of Clinton, Eight more years of Bush does anyone really want another four more years or more with the Clintons. Time for a REAL CHANGE.

    January 26, 2008 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  20. rusty

    The Clinton's represent "All the King's Men" politics. America simply can't afford this kind of junk anymore. We are quickly running out chances to get it right. A Hillary nomination will mean a Republican election, no doubt about it.

    January 26, 2008 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  21. RedState

    Okay, so as a person who will be voting Republican...I'd just like to say that I want the candidate from the Democratic party to be a good person for the job as well and Hillary seems to be driving most of y'all away. Sure, that's good for John McCain followers, but c'mon, let's get a REAL showdown going this year. I want to see two people who will run a clean campaign and focus on the issues and Hillary Clinton is clearly worried about herself while Barack Obama spends his time pulling out the race card and letting his crazy supporters like John Kerry run around and hurt his campaign...hmm...I think Democrats should take a second look at John Edwards.

    January 26, 2008 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  22. S Smith

    I don't recall ANY democrats raising issues with Bill's "abuse of truth" when that abuse was directed toward republicans.

    Welcome to reality democrats – this is Bill Clinton, it's not anything new.

    January 26, 2008 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  23. The Observer

    Kerry should shut up. There is enough fuel on the fire without him adding to it.

    January 26, 2008 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  24. charlotte

    What does abusing the truth mean? Why not say lie? Does it mean stretching the truth, what? Does it mean hurting the truth. If you abuse your spouse, you beat them up. So does that mean it is true, just beat up? Splain it to me, Lucy

    January 26, 2008 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  25. cal - from San Jose

    Sorry to say that Obama really look like somone.............
    BUt he doesn't look like a president of USA at all.
    Be real, I'm not support him to be a unitedstates president due to his talk and no solution. Any body can say CHANGE, CHANGE, CHANGE. but how can he changes? No such as good plan!!!!!
    Hillary will get my vote for her Health care, Economies and Security Plan

    January 26, 2008 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
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