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. American 1st

    God Bless America and President William Jefferson Clinton. We are such a better country because of President Clinton. He can do no wrong by me. I trust him absolutely. The times they are a changin. Thank God. And thank God we have Bill Clinton to stand up to the Republicans who have nearly destroyed this great country. With all due respect, Kerry was not able to do the same. Give em Hill Bill!!!

    January 26, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. Christina

    I am getting really frustrated by this debate... and I deeply questioning the motives behind John Kerrys involvement.(poor Choice, Obama!) As already mentioned, Bill Clinton campaigned for him and Edwards was his running mate. Very likely that he will let Obama down as well. No integrity to be found in his behaviour...Also, it was Obama, who started to attack BClinton through his Reagan/ Clinton comparison. Understandable for me if Bill Clinton shoots back.
    Also, why is it always emphasized that the Clintons are power-drunken? He ran for President and won twice, she ran for Senator and won twice... that was the peoples choice. Obama has no goals that are any different from this. So per definition, he- (and all the other candidates) – is power drunken too. In the beginning I thought he was different, but now – no... this is not about hope. Hope and "unifying" and change, where does it start?...instead of "fighting" for a message about change, why not start behaving differently???.Obama talks about it, but where´s his action? However, Hillary Clinton and Obama together, that could be wonderful, hope they finally will come to grips ... for America...

    Beside this I am really sick and tired of CNN´s way of reporting... All these hateful little "news" about Hillary,....its just horrible and leaves me suspicious,that there is still a hidden gender problem...Clinton gets attacked because of raising the race topic, but in all these critics and comments about Hillary Clinton is a lot of hidden "gender" adversity. MEN!!!

    January 26, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Cheyenne

    Obama is the best choice for theRepublical party not for the Democratic party. They will call him OSAMA the moment he get the nomination Also Bill is not running he already WON twice and if constitution allow he could beat anyone.

    January 26, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. cambelle

    Having voted for Kerry, I can't imagine why he is being so outspoken for obama against Clinton. He might have been president now, if he had shown some guts when he was being swiftboated. Instead, he let his constituents bleed for him and what they were saying about him. By putting in his two cents now, he is throwing fuel on the fire, and contributing to a fracture in the Dem. party. I guess his character is such, that he can only throw snide remarks, after all, it's not his fight, we already know what a wimp he is when it comes to defending himself. So, Kerry, unless you can contribute positively, try windsurfing !

    January 26, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. Denise

    OBAMA'S camp started the race thing and I would bet my paycheck it was pushed by Jesse Jackson.THEN Bill started the mud slinging. OBAMA made the first attack on Hillary during the debate.
    Why are the Clintons getting all the blame and not Obama???

    January 26, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. Rich in Naples, Fl.

    Hey Kerry, You blew it on your own, many of us worked very hard for you and you let us down. I don't believe Bill and Hillary will. Go get em Clinton's.

    January 26, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. Gareof

    WE NEED TO GET BEHIND JOHN EDWARDS & get clinton & obama out of our hair – EDWARDS / LIEBERMAN 2008

    January 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. Big Brother 2008

    The Swift Boaters are the traitors.They do business today with the Communists in Vietnam.

    January 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. anna A

    John Kerry is a snobby, full of himself, righteous fool! He is a turncoat....(sold out Edwards) hoping that he will get an appointment from Obama..
    He is linked with Senator Kennedy.....need I say more.....

    John Kerry lost the presidential election four years ago and is only thinking about his own publicity. Bill Clinton was president twice.... Kerry could not even make it once, even against a president who was already unpopular because of the war

    Sit down John and zip it.... you are a L, L double L .....Loser.
    Go back to sking with your billionaire wife.... flying around on private jets....pretending that you understand the common mortal......AHHHHHH!!!!!!

    January 26, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. andrew

    you have freedom of speech problems, as-to posting opinion? shame on you.
    I wasn't offensive....that's the state we are in, folks.....*sigh

    I totally love that B-Movie- Carnasaur, when the military jumps into that broadcast station, and arrests the clowns that are trying to cover-up the impending disaster.

    I watch MSN for the hotties on FOX, and that's about it....*sigh

    Read the news on various sites, and listen to the so-called, waning Talk-Radio audience...*sigh...you people are so-friggin' daft !

    Even people like myself; aren't as stoopid to drink your Kool-Aid anymore.

    Now, print-this, or get off My-Algore's internet !!!

    January 26, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. Terry Ratcliff

    I voted for Bill Clinton twice and after i saw him lie and induce race into the campagin
    not only am i going to vote for Obama if I see Clinton on the ballot im going to vote republican.

    January 26, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. bob

    John Kerry's flip flopping again uselessly. Will hurt Obama. Party affiliation notwithstanding, dissing a former vastly more popular ex-US President is not good politics. Face it, Bill Clinton based on sheer performance statistics, was still a much better President compared to the current one – on the domestic economy (recall budget surplus), world relations, military (recall Bosnia – executing a clean surgical war just enough to ensure victory, smart enough not to get embroiled in it.). America was successful domestically and internationally. on top of the world then!

    I like Obama – smart, intelligent, eloquent, fellow colored man.. but he does lack the experience. The presidency is not about eloquence. It is about experience and the ability to deal with seasoned politicians in Washington, and world leaders and issues.

    But the presidency is not about whether a black man, woman, white man, republican or democrat or independent is at the helm with the finger on the button. So we need to stay about the fray here and these nasty politics.. We need to examine who truly has the experience to solve the complex mess we are in – economy, international peace, war.. There's been too much fear mongering, robbing the country blind to fund a war that was based on lies, and causing international instability in the middle east.

    The next president should be someone who's been there, sees the importance of not wastefully spending on reckless wars, pulling the economy from its bootstraps, investing in job growth, production of goods, investing in innovation and research, stuff that made America great leader of the world, restore its respect in the world.

    Believe it or not.. I think Hillary would be a good choice. for President (apologies to Hillary haters) with Obama as the VP, and having Bill Clinton around would not hurt either. We have series of serious, complex, intertwined problems.. We need a team that has been successful before to be there again. Having Obama in the mix, as VP would help to keep the Change theme going.. and keeping the Clintons honest.

    The only thing I dont like about Hillary is her pro-choice stance, and her vote for the Iraq war.. but her keeping her family together in tough times is commendable. If she gets us out of the Iraq war, without compromising national security that would redeem her. She needs to be more fiscally conservative. Bill's public repentance, apology and asking for forgiveness for his sexual indiscretion while in office, redeems him, IMHO.

    - a fiscally conservative, anti-war, pro-lilfe voter.

    January 26, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. The Sandman

    Hey Ben from Columbus, Ohio: Why don't you change your name to Thomas, you big Uncle Tom, you.

    January 26, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  14. Dakota

    Talk about the pot calling the Kettle black. They're both loosers...

    January 26, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. Jim from Texas

    I'm still trying to figure out which Clinton is running for office here. Hillary even takes a subserviant position to Bill when they stand on stage. Check it out, she tends to stand to his left and slightly behind him. If she gets elected to the White House, who is going to be the real president behind those presidential decisions (Bill or HIll)? And is our Swiftboat jockey trying to get lined up for a VP position here? Gosh, can't even imagine that combination. Bill/Hill and the war hero all running the company. Or is it Hill/Bill and the hero?

    January 26, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  16. F Rodgers

    If it takes Sen John Kerry to tell you that a Clinton distorts the truth, then I have a beautiful piece of ocean front property in Mongolia for sale.....paid in full with Euros or bars of gold, please. The dollar is weak now.

    January 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. eugene from Florida

    I echo my brother's comments from Tstin, CA. I cannot vote for the Democrats if Hillary is the nominee. Have had enuff of the Clintons.

    January 26, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  18. Ray Sanchez, Cleveland, Ohio

    So John Kerry (who served in Viet Nam) FINALLY noticed that the Clintons are liars? And now he takes his opportunity to Swiftboat them!!! This is hilarious!!! As if the Clintons, as disgusting as they are, are any bigger traitors, self-serving liars, cowards, and frauds as Kerry (who served in Viet Nam). If the people of this country re-elect the Clinton cabal to the White House, they will deserve to have their taxes raised, their economy devestated, their health care severely dimenished, their oil and gasoline rationed, and their kids brainwashed with liberal garbage.

    January 26, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  19. Joe

    Anyone who has paid close attention to the race knows that Kerry is spot on here. Regardless of who you support. Bill Clinton is again playing fast and loose with the facts. And again, he is playing the media like a violin.

    January 26, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  20. Grace Godwin

    Glad to see one of your own, John Kerry, thinks Bill Clinton is over the top and his lies ignored. I feel so proud that George Bush, Senior, never went out barn storming of George W. He knew how ex-presidents should conduct themselves.

    January 26, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. Dan

    Kerry's right . How can you honestly attack someone based on lies. Talk about the kettle calling the pot black, if you want to know what kind of President Billiary is going to make just investigate for yourself the whole Peter Paul fiasco. The abuse of power by Bill to cover up this fraudulant 1.2 million dollar nightmare should give everyone a clear picture of what's kind of shennagins that the average Joe will have to pay for. Obama has been upfront with the people and it is unbelievable how quickly people forget what the Clintons have done. REMEMBER THAT THE ONE WHO HAS DONE THE MOST WRONG WILL ALLWAYS SCREAM THE LOUDEST AND POINT TO OTHERS.

    January 26, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. Denise

    Hey Everybody....Watch the last debate when Obama stated that he, like Hillary VOTED FOR THE WAR and then later had second thoughts. About a half an hour before he said he opposed the war from the beginning...Which is it? WHY HAS NO ONE CAUGHT THAT??? Are you all so mesmerized that you can't hear?

    January 26, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. smedleyb

    Relax democrats. It's not terminal. You can still come over to the light. Go GOP !!!

    January 26, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. AnnAloha, Independent Thinker. PA

    EDUCATION is the KEY
    Obviously most of the posters are in severe need of it!!

    January 26, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  25. Andrea

    I am sorry, but if you can't even beat G.W your comments about who should win don't matter much. I would really like to know what "truths" Kerry thinks are being distorted. That question never seems to be addressed.

    January 26, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64