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. Sandra

    Personally Kerry is a back stabber – He should keep his mouth shut. If he could not endorse his own running mate – He should not have endorsed anyone. Really it is his fault we are where we are. He could not win! What makes him think he can help!

    January 25, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. Tiny

    Go sit down JK, who cares what your turncoat self has to say! Is the master plan BO/JK for the White House. When all seems peaceful here comes one of BO's people starting the war all over again, why do you think that is happening?

    January 25, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. Ron Burcham

    I voted for Kerry in the last election, but like Republican and Democratic Candidates have said on other issues, "I have had some poor judgements in the past, I should be able to change my mind when I see my judgements were poor." I don't know why anyone would want John Kerry's endorsement. I put him in Spam a long time ago. I wonder how many others send John Kerry's emails directly to Spam.

    January 25, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. Angela Ash, Iowa

    A losser won't help Obama in any aspects.

    January 25, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. Chris

    John Kerry has no credibility to talk about anyone. If it were not for his incompetant campaign and him talking all over himself 4 years ago, George W. Bush would not be president today. Bill Clinton is not abusing truth, but John Kerry abused the morale of our troops when he denegrated them by saying they were high school dropouts.

    January 25, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  6. Confused

    Ben, Columbus, Ohio –

    I keep hearing that all over the place, the "at least the clinton's have actually done something for African Americans". Could you please enlighten me as to what a few of those things are. Thanks in advance.

    January 25, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. Ba Gua

    Bill's just standing by his woman? And blabbering a lot at the same time. Why not let her go it alone, stand on her own, let her make or break it alone?

    January 25, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. Tim

    Kerry is just a big loser. Its fair to say that no truth was abused by Bill Clinton. Can anybody bring up facts about Obama without abusing the truth. I think What Kerry said about Bill could be said about Obama too. There was some abuse of truth by Obama and always have been. If Obama don't want Bill Clinton to say things about his record, than he sould not say anything about Bill's record.

    January 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  9. Casual observer

    Abusing the truth...i.e. a LIAR! For the sake of this country, Obama needs to win this nomination. I won't be able to stand a 2008 full Bill and Hillary "abusing the truth", and hopefully I won't have to put up with it for 2009-2012....

    January 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. robert

    Kerry is washed up...disliked and should just shut up and go away....he lied more than any presidential candidate in a long while.

    January 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  11. Mark Santacrose

    It appears to me that Obama wants it both ways. He has attacked the Clinton White House in recent days – essentially attacking Hillary by focusing on the negatives of the Bill Clinton years. By attacking Bill, he opened the door to strong rebuttals and hardball by Bill. Barack continually appears naive to the reality of today's winner take all political world. That is admirable in some ways but whining about it is not.

    p.s. – I agree with all former comments on John Kerry!

    January 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. Shelagh

    Hillary needs to run on her own steam, and Bill needs to cool it! If Hillary is going to be the first woman president of the U.S., we need to see that it can be done on her merits, and not just that she's the wife of an ex-president. How many other worthy women are going to be able to come up with that dubious "qualification"? I would be thrilled to see a woman in the White House one day–but I'm favoring Barack Obama at this point because he seems to have some real integrity. We could all use some integrity after these past 8 years, yes?! It's not about gender or race.

    January 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. StopwatchingCNN, Rochester, NY

    You got to love John Kerry attacking the guy who just had heart surgery in 2004 and took his frail and weak body out on the campaign trail right before the election to try and help him out. I am convinced if Bill Clinton didn't need that surgery, John Kerry would be the President today. Now if Obama happens to win the nomination, who do you think he is going to have out there campaigning for him?

    January 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. Independent Observer

    While I have no love for Romney but he said it all last night "imagine Bill Clinton in the white house with nothing to do"? If this isn't enough of a nightmare for anyone I wonder what is.

    I believe the democrats have thrown away the election because the damage has already been done. Clinton will get his victory at the nomination but the republicans wil have a field day running against a fractured democratic party and a scandal ridden Clinton family. Already the Tony Rezko picture with the Clintons is in circulation and who knows what Tony was doing at the white house that has not yet been revealed by those circulating the pictures.

    I praise Kerry for his courage, other concerned democrats need to think about the future of their party because not only will the Clintons cost them the white house the will inflict significant damage on the party that will last beyond the election. Talk about a dysfunctional family.

    January 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. Eric

    I was a huge Kerry supporter in 2004, but if you can't defeat one of the 3 worst Presidents in our history, you become irrelevant. It's funny how the media treated his endorsement of Obama as a big deal. I think t actually hurts Obama, because many Democrats are still bitter about how Kerry could have blown the election. Makes me even more wary of Barack Hussein.

    January 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. P,NJ

    Can't the American people, especially Mr. Clinton, respond without being so nasty, and the lies what a joke, especially his comments. I never agree with John Kerry, but in this matter he is right on. Lets have discussions about the present, instead of going back, to be negative about someone is difinately not helpful to any American, that is why our country is in such a mess. Our country is never going to come back unless we start being positive about all people and work together and not constantly divide.....

    January 25, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. Dez

    As a Black Man, I don't care what the Clintons have done for us, that does not give you the right to turn this into a Race War. Like I have heard many people say "I am not racist" Yeah until you date their daughters. The Clintons loved the blacks while they are not a threat to them. Now, they could care less. That is unless you are fool enough to vote for them.

    I Challenge every Dem to stand up and say, If Hillary gets the vote I am taking my vote elsewhere! Let's start to count, Who's coming with me (1)

    January 25, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. stan pitts pa

    at least kerry is a war hero who served this country, unlike some others who deserted the army!

    January 25, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  19. Leonor

    Glad to hear from Mr John Kerry.
    Bill/Hillary Clinton made US politics like in thirld world countries....

    America is better off without Bill/Hillary Clinton! Change is a word and a change is a must!

    January 25, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. Dan,

    Senator John Kerry may have lost the 2004 elections but at least he does not pretend to love the black community but when it matter most because of personal ambition that is at stake start throwing punches and reminding Americans on the race identity of his opponent.
    Kerry didn't overstate the fact.

    What anyone view is, the Democratic party might not be able to come out of this without some scratches. I hope they would be able to mend the crack as the party stands polarised today. The Republic have a better chance again because voters can see through the lies of cheap blackmail and nothing suggest that this tool of blackmail would not be employed later on towards American foriegn policy

    January 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. Juliann

    What does Kerry know? He is a big-time loser. He lost in 2004. If I was Obama, I wouldn't be flattered that a guy who doesn't know how to beat George W. Bush was endorsing me. I think Kerry did Hillary Clinton a favor! Yep, Kerry's endorsement really makes me want to vote for Obama.

    January 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  22. 4 Hillary

    I wonder why John Kerry did not choose Obama on 2004 as his VP.
    He is indulged in the looser's mind.

    Vote for Hillary

    January 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  23. Bob Witmer

    John Kerry is completely correct in everything he says. Bill Clinton, and his wife, might as well go join the Republican Party. They belong there.

    January 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. Khwaty

    If Hillary Clinton will listen to John Kerry she is going to lose like him. John Kerry don't have a soapbox to stand on.

    By him not endorsing his former runningmate says a lot about John Kerry. My biggest regret I voted for him during primary.

    January 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  25. Jim G. Bethlehem,pa

    Kerry took a risk and endorsed Obama. Now he sees there is litle chance of Obama winning he's whining.. Give it up already..

    January 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
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