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. R S



    January 26, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  2. PW Va

    I'm thoroughly disgusted with Bill and Hillary and their back-room dirty politics and tricks. These two are neither brillant campaigners or true Americans. They are liars through and through. My disgust is beginning to seep over to those of you in the Democratic party who would support Hillary. She's a charlatan of the worse kind.

    As a life-long Democrat, if Senator Obama does not clinch the nomination, I (along with many, many others I know of) will take a look at the Republican candidates and be done with the Democratic party for good!!! I've had about as much sleaze (Clinton-style) as I can stomach!!!

    January 26, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  3. David young

    I will like to advise the people of america and the entire world that, clinton and his wife should go home and never return again, imagin bill clinton calling obama skinned man or sorts of dirty names is against the law and human race.
    Hillary clinton will be a looser and will continue to loose in all her helpless effort.
    My advise to obama is let him be strongger every day, clinton family are fighting in vain, the peoples choice round the globe is barac obama, obama is the book of life while clinton is in the book of hell.
    The peoples choice is the choice of God almighty while the hell perish in hell.
    Obama is the peoples choice ordained by God.

    January 26, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  4. JEM

    Bill Clinton has abused the President's title since he was in office. He and Hillary
    have made this campaign one of the worst slur campaigns in history. Thats all the Clintons know how to do, is put the blame on everyone else but themselves.
    They need to clean there own slates before running for any type of office.
    God help us. if Hillary get in as President. Bill will have another 4 years to screw up the White House and tarnish it name and Hillary will probably condon his actions. She did the last time.

    January 26, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  5. Kevin

    Kerry,didn't do good. He is a looser. He could have won in 2004 if had little more sense. We will do it, we should do it I, we have to dot it. Should know more than that.

    January 26, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  6. Shatner

    There is No HOPE for Obama! No experience and his connections to Islam either through his rearing or current church will be torn apart by the unwanted republicans.

    Just because he is an excellent presenter, he lacks in every other area.

    The only reason he will do good in South Carolina is because of race! Face it... that is not a racist comment it is reality. The same as poor old Oprah! She turned her back on her "women" just for a racist stand! And now she is facing a major lose of followers.

    With all of the democratic slinging, even the republicans are looking better.

    January 26, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  7. Allen Tennessee

    Another time Kerry makes headlines. He thinks Obama will make him his VP. As the old saying goes, People in __________ want ice water. JMO

    January 26, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  8. j.p

    Sen .Kerry look in the mirror , there's "something" on your nose!

    January 26, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  9. Alice, VA

    What an OXYMORON, to use "Truth" and "Clinton" in the same sentence! The goings on in the Democrat Party is no shock to many of us that do not respect Clinton. He may be regarded as the greatest living American politician, but is that really a compliment?

    That's like calling someone the "greatest used car saleman".

    January 26, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  10. Baseball_Notsy

    Who cares? The Democratic party has forgotten what the issues are. The issue is NOT John "Helmet Head" Kerry. Hillary and Obama. Neither one of them are qualified. As a matter of fact, none of the Republican knuckleheads are either. We are at a quandry in the election of the next President of the United States.I can't imagine any of them "leading" my country anywhere.

    January 26, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  11. Ann

    Kerry and others are simply feeding the fire. I've watched the news and listened to the candidates, and this business of "racially fueled" by Clintons is just nonsense.

    I kept looking for the horrible things the Clintons must be doing and couldn't find them. No facts to back up this nonsense.

    Therefore, it must be a strategy. An old one, too. Let's hate the Clintons.

    These guys should be ashamed of themselves for being this darn obvious.

    January 26, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  12. billyb

    What former president Clinton should do is rise above the political fray and say nothing. He should have the honesty, courage and moral integrity to let his wife run on her own merits. Former president Clinton cheapens the office of the president with his involvment but then that is one area that he excells at!

    January 26, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  13. SCOTT

    OH! If that's not the pot calling the kettle black!!!!!!!!!!! lol!

    January 26, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  14. John ny, ny

    Hi everyone
    If Obama is on the ballet I will vote republican.

    January 26, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  15. Dean

    Kerry is a loser. I do not care what he has said. My vote is for Clintons. I think Barack will win in S.C because he is black and John Edward will split white votes with Clintons. But Barack has no chance in CALIFORNIA. GO CLINTONS!!!

    January 26, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  16. Repulican in Michigan

    Kerry (being an ex-presidential candidate) should also be quiet as he is being a hypocrite too talking bad about others. It is quite amusing to watch their true colors come out!

    January 26, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. Pokerface

    Obama introduced that so called race card when he introduced Oprah into his race.....she said in her way that it IS TIME FOR US.....not us being all of the people in the US just part of it...................Kerry is still a jerk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 26, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  18. Outraged in Charleston

    Thanks for continuing to push the Clintons' race-baiting with your headlines this morning.

    Howard Wolfson and Mark Penn could not have picked a better headline themselves than your continuing obession with the black vote. They're slapping five in the Clinton camp. You've set up a situation where Obama can't win today, no matter what happens.


    January 26, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  19. CrackerJack

    All you Bush haters are still children. You must hate the Daddy in yourself.
    As far as the Clintons go, they are pathological liars. And all you Bush/Daddy haters love to be lied to.
    John Kerry is in the same club as the Clintons, he is an elitist liar as they.
    Barack Obama is far to idealistic to be the kind of liar the Clintons and Kerry are,he doesn't have his lying act together yet. Give him a little time.

    January 26, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  20. ayo

    Go Bill......you 've made your mark not only in America but worldwide.i dont see anything wrong in a man standing up for his wife,atleast Michelle Obama is doing the same for her husband.we need someone with a strong heart as the president of the united state of America.

    January 26, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  21. Willy

    So yesterday I heard on the vast right wing talk radio that Senator Clinton says that people from MI & FL want their voices heard, during this democratic beauty contest. Does this mean she is going to ask Howard Dean to count the delegates from those to states now so she can get ahead of Obama? If I was a woman I'd vote for Senator Clinton too because she's a woman.

    January 26, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  22. Tracy

    Darth Vadik,
    you are shining product of Liberal policies. A perfect example of California public education. I suppose it was the right wing smear machine that took your ability to spell and correctly structure a sentence also. The Billary machine is running out of steam, their own party is telling them to pipe down. Maybe there's hope for a few of you lost souls after all.

    January 26, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  23. Allen

    Whether Obama wins or loses doesn't ultimately concern me. But the margin of the victory by whomever, is directly a correlate to the amount of which America is a racist country.

    Obama is not black or white. He is the control or the placebo in the test. Be careful America. You are showing the world how far you have or have not come on the racial divide. I can't wait to see the results!

    January 26, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  24. Theresa

    Ya' know what I wish for is that CNN would just report news instead of trying to make news. I think everyone who works for the station should go back to journalism school and take a page out of the Edward R. Murrow book and use it!

    John Kerry ought to go back to the senate and start worrying about his seat considering he will be up for election soon. Or maybe his intention is looking at the VP. seat. Oh...now that would be an awful site!

    January 26, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  25. jyfranca

    Its my first time to agree with sen.Kerry But he is wrong again,has he forgotten Clinton has licence to lie?he lied under oath

    January 26, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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