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. az2424

    go far away KErry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 26, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. Sal......Illinois

    This man Kerry lack integrity ........ He was not loyal to our country when he was in service.....He married a woman for her money.....now he is bad mouthing the Clintons who have always been supportive of him.....he needs to work on his character flaws.....

    January 26, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. Mike

    I supported John Kerry enthusiatically but he failed to fight back –
    Why is he fighting back against a fellow Democratic President who worked hard to get HIM elected?
    Kerry's actions make me support Hillary – not Obama.
    I'm voting Clinton in my primary.

    January 26, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. Anne Zupo

    I hope Mr. Obama will be elected the new presidente of the USA in hopes of garnering more postive growth than we experienced for 8 yeras with the Clintons. Let the new people speak and let the people take over. No more abuses fron the good old boys. Former President Clinton is gone, he should be at home thinking about retirement and not talking about changes to made that were not accomplished previously.
    Millons of people in Africa were killed per his policy interests and his infedelities while in office we down right shameful.

    No more lies to the American populace. Joining forces with Mr Richarson would bring a lot of Latino votes from his tent as well.

    America needs two things, a fair shot at living equally and insituting the linds of changes that will make the country a better place.

    January 26, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. steve laster

    CNN please STOP shovving Obama into out throats.

    Obama is clearly winning black vote and will win S.C easily. Why are you creating a story as a legitimacy.

    UGH! CNN

    January 26, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. az2424

    Hey i remember the good old days when americans only had to worry about who Bill was seeing, not food, gas, war, jobs, how the world felt about us, loosing your house. Would like some better days, without Bill dating. Not sure if Mr. B obama . can give that to us. Did you know is first name starts with a B also.

    January 26, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. Elvis from Germany

    I am not American but its very easy to see what is going on here 😉 ...It's true people do promise much during the campaigns and say things to discredit other contenders but most of u guys never figured out why Billy Boy CLinton is getting out of control . . . . . . .

    .........................Many of u ask urselves why Hillary did not leave him after he not only lied to her but also to the whole nation about miss piggy Monika L.. Well ladies and gents . . .he is paying back his dues cos he surely promised to put Hillary back into that same oval office where it all happened . .but this time she is going to be in command . . . .so as we say . . .By Hook or by Crook . .. . . .I am sure the founding fathers of the USA never thought this far as they put down the constitution of this country regarding couples wanting to grab power for more than 2 Terms............

    Well it is left for the people of America to redefine the rules ans set all records straight.

    America has something beter than Bush. Its a new bright star...

    Well i dont know what u see . . . .I see Obama

    January 26, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. lol

    I think as a woman from the other part of the world ,obama is a symbole of unity,hope and manner ,i see in him a man who can bring america back to what we used to call (american dream)wich no body from the outside word prononce any more,obam is a symbole of hope and equality too whene it comes to the big racism america is still dealing with,giving this young man the chance to the white house means giving hope to americans and all nations around the world ,with obama,i can see the great america and peacful world........please make it happen ,imagine just imagine how happy w'll be........god bless all.

    January 26, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. P.Barman

    Strategy should be forget Miss Clinton and target only Billy Boy until dooms day. I am sick and tired of this lying and cheating crook and we have not forgotten his nightly escapades in white house and downtown D.C. If he has any shame he will hide under a rock and fade away.

    January 26, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. Kathy

    John Kerry is a Statesman. The American People were the losers in the 2004 Presidential Election! Hopefully, we will have learned something from that experience and follow his endorsement. Vote Obama.

    January 26, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. Michael Kniat

    Thank you, John Kerry. Thank you for defending Senator Obama. Thank you for exposing Bill & Hillary as a couple of thugs...

    January 26, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  12. Jared R, Iraq

    hey people,

    campaigning is a circus. its all smoke and mirrors and populism. if you dont learn about your candidate early you have no idea who youre voting for. youre only waiting for the winner of a game where the strategies are ad hominem attacks, and populism. heres how i made my choice:

    hillary is a subversive, self serving, secretive, and power mongering politician who is all too commonplace in washington [shes a really smart george w bush (scary)].

    Barack Obama is an individual that tempers his idealism with his realism. he is a person that genuinely cares about bringing change to washington (and is also capable of being a catalyst for change ie not corrupted yet). he is the only candidate who seems to grasp the interconnectedness of the international political economy and domestic issues.

    come on people do me two favors; 1. learn how to spell basic words like loser (seriously) 2. make an informed decision and realize you have a unique opportunity for something new

    January 26, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  13. David

    What have the clinton's done for the African American Community? WHAT exactly? not rhetoric....show me the numbers.


    Is Candy Crowley a journalist for the clinton's or CNN? Having a difficult time deciding?

    January 26, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  14. frustrated1

    I do not understand the current situation of the Democratic Party. As a lifelong Democrat, this next national election is their's to lose.

    I am completely disgusted with the Clinton's unethical attacks on Obama. Should Hillary get the nomination, I have seriously thought about not voting in the next election.

    The best candidate is right before everyone's eyes and the people can't see it. John Edwards has the best message and is the toughest candidate. The same voters who thought Bush would protect this country are the same people who will continue to refrain from voting for their best interests. When will America wake up and see the real world!!!!!!!

    January 26, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. nobs

    Clinton is a liar. Do you remember ….." i did not have sexual relations with that woman"

    January 26, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. Tom, Boston MA

    Until the history books for our children get rewritten

    about our forefathers' genocide of native americans,
    colonial / imperialist wars,
    nuking Japan,
    corporate resource grab around the word, and so on,

    there will be NO change

    in the downward spiral of this nation.

    January 26, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Does anyone get the feeling that someone (Kerry), is positioning themself to be the Vice President?

    January 26, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. Leaving the Party

    As a Democrat –I have given up hope. Both front running canidates do nothing for me. I am appalled at the Clinton - "lets bring back the old days" with an x president and his presidental wife canidate spouting off about all her experience. I want a president who runs on their own merits and qualifications not those she takes credit for from her husband's presidency. I thought Bill was the Clinton elected president in the white house but according to her it sounds like she was the commander-in-chief. I am also tired of the chest beating, backstabbing, lying, and flip floping. On the other hand Obama is a young gifted man with thoughts of change much like B. Clinton had when he took office. I just think that his lack of experience would parallel the mistakes that Clinton had in office due to not being knowledgeable on worldly affairs and international relationships. I will vote Republican.

    January 26, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  19. Md Akhtaruzzaman

    I think John Kerry thinks Bill Clinton did not help him in 2004 as the Clintons had the Plan for 2008 Presidential election.

    January 26, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. TheAllegedRightWingConspiracy

    Psssst CNN!!!!! You put up the wrong picture man.

    Kerry is supporting OBAMA...yeah that's right OBAMA. We've seen Clintons ugly face enough already.

    That's pretty good...someone who knows the Clintons VERY well and is publically supporting OBAMA. I hope he can help Obama in the North East since ole BillyBoy has Obama in a strangle hold in the South. Now I bet Kerry knows a thing or two about Clinton politics even without reading the headlines.

    January 26, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. cambelle cook

    Having voted for Kerry, I could never figure out why he didn't answer back to the swiftboaters who trashed him so badly. Why is he speaking out now, and mudding up the waters when it's not his fight ? It has to be personal. Had he defended himself in 2004, he might have been president, however, he came out looking like a wimp. The Dems are infighting as it is, and it can't be good for the party. So, Kerry, unless you can say something positive, so what you did before and be quiet !

    January 26, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. juntaou

    I wouldn't be surprised if Obama wins that Kerry pushes to be his running mate. I don't see a lot of other reasons why he would side with Obama over Edwards.

    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."

    Maybe they took his quote out of context, but...

    January 26, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. iSpec41

    The mere thought that the the Clinton's and Bush's would continue their dynastic conquering of the American people, wielding any means to gain power and bankrupt of any integrity is a humiliation of what our forefathers desired. This once grand Republic has been converted into our now tabloid Democrazy. When the American people have choices like Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Bush's, and these people linger on like flatulence in a small closet, should we wonder why things are indeed as rotten as they appear to be?
    The circus is in town, the tent is up and clowns are parading their antics. It's all a circus and we are paying dearly for the show. I'm sore afraid our nightmare is just beginning and when we awake we'll rub our eyes and hear the clanking of the chains permanently affixed. America is being carried off in biblically grand style and she will not return. These words are by no means prophetic but certainly rational extensions of intelligent American's who understand and have read the history of civilizations.

    January 26, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  24. MDWhite

    It's interesting that Hillary – The Queen of Kleenex – has got Bill fighting her battles for her, while Obama – Mr. Premature Withdrawal – has got John Kerry...two pathetic losers shilling for two hollow suits. Too good to be true...

    January 26, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. William Swartz

    Kerry should find a nice farm and go to work on it. Four years ago he proved to be very inept. He should stay out of the foray. He's a loser.
    A half hour ago, my wife, daughter and I proudly voted for Senator Clinton in the Florida primary. We intend to vote for her in the general election. She has the right stuff. Our nation will benefit from her being in the White House as our president.

    January 26, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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