January 25th, 2008
06:27 PM ET
13 years ago

Kerry blasts Bill Clinton for 'abusing truth'

ALT TEXT

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. Dave Seattle

    To Debbie in CA:
    You are a smart woman and indeed productively educated!
    The Clinton needs to stop their primitive campaign style!
    We soon see if they change.

    January 26, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. stan pitts pa

    to Shatner this is the United States of America, racial bias aside, Americans vote on the issues, vote obama 08!

    January 26, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Harmony

    Are we surprised that Clinton is "abusing" the truth?

    January 26, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. klaws

    have we truly descended into the abyss.

    January 26, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  5. alan

    Two losers going at it!
    Let the fun continue!

    January 26, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. Bobby

    If Hillary Clinton is elected President for the next 8 years, there will have been either a Clinton or a Bush in the Executive Branch of Government for 36 consecutive years. Isn't that a bit much. As a country I think we would be suffering from (Bush/Clinton/politics of destruction) fatigue. Our country needs a change from these polarizing political families. There is no such thing as, Hillarys turn. For the good of the country these two policial dynasties need to step back back for a generation. That includes Jeb in 2012 or 2016. Wouldn't it be great to have presidential candidates from both parties that you could be proud to support.
    such as Obama and Mc Cain. Much more preferable than to hold your nose and vote for Clinton or Romney.

    January 26, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  7. DISGUSTED

    HEY DUMACRATS! WHY ARE YOU FIGHTING EACH OTHER? WAKE UP! DON'T FALL FOR THIS GARBAGE. IF YOU DON'T LIKE THE WAY THINGS ARE NOW – THEN LOOK AT THE LAST 27 YEARS: DADDY BUSH – VP 8YRS, PRESIDENT 4YRS. HUBBY BILL – PRESIDENT 8YRS. SONNY BUSH – PRESIDENT 8YRS. WHAT – NOW WE WANT WIFEY FOR 4 OR 8 MORE YEARS AS PRESIDENT? COME ON – DO WE LIVE IN A ROYAL MONARCHY? STOP THE BUSH/CLINTON EVIL AXIS JUNTA. VOTE FOR A REAL CANDIDATE – NOT FOR A POLITICAL FAMILY DYNASTY THAT WILL DRIVE US ALL INTO THE GUTTER. VOTE FOR YOUR COUNTRY, YOUR FAMILY, YOUR FUTURE. GOD HELP US ALL.

    January 26, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. ocn

    Maybe the truth behind Kerry's remarks stem from the fact that because Hillary entered the 2008 race, he could not, so now it is an attack on the ABC (anybody but clinton) campaign... or maybe kerry is hoping to be the next vice president– nothing he is doing is purely for the "good of the party".

    January 26, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. Craig

    I think it's funny that many of you are insulting John Kerry, but don't have the intelligence to spell the word "loser" correctly. If I were John Kerry and were reading the comments on this blog, I would laugh at those people. He has a degree from Yale and is a millionaire. For full disclosure, I am a conservative(not a Republican) and disagree with almost all of Kerry's viewpoints, and most of those of the Democrat party as well. The fact is, no matter who is being dishonest or disingenuous, Republican or Democrat, they should be called on it. Open your eyes. Most of our politicians are the same no matter which side of the isle they stand on. The more you defend a politician because of some emotional connection or because of the letter next to their name, the less credible you are. Our forefathers would be disgusted at the politicians and the citizens at large that are turning into lemmings watching the country slip into mediocrity without regard for the law. Before you judge me, think to yourself about what I have said.

    January 26, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. Frankie

    The Clintons have one aim: personal revenge against those who exposed Bill with his affair with Monika and for him to continue his disgraceful acts in the white house. The Clintons are so scared of losing to a Black man they feel sick to their stomachs and will do anything negative to win at the expense of losing to the republicans in November. Don't forget their role in land dealings in Arkansas and the fraudsters who campain for the Clintons. Bill wants to be in the whie house for reasons not for the American people nor their interests but for thier own selfish needs. Don't forget, the the Clintons are self centered thugs beautifully disguised to look good for nothing. Please ask Monika, she will tell you everything you need to know.

    Frankie,

    Ontario.

    January 26, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. TOM

    ILL TAKE BILL CLINTON A PROVEN WINNER OVER JOHN KERRY AN ABSOLUTE LOSER ANY DAY OF THE WEEK....OBAMA CAN HAVE HIS ENDORSEMENT. IT MEANS NOTHING!

    January 26, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. ruby marshall

    Did anybody notice, when Obama said he is a Christian for more than twenty years now??? What was his religion then when he wasn't a Christian???
    It seems like Obama is playing safe to be naive..His weakness: "don't hand him papers in two seconds or else he might lost it", denotes that: in emergency cases he cannot respond immediately as needed when necessary..
    His opponent, Hillary is tough, accurate, transparent, ready to serve on DAY ONE, brave of any criticsms, strong and intelligently answers questions, her life history is open to the public, she didn't hide any..yet she is being accused as a liar?
    The people are the BEST JUDGE, the election speaks for itself.
    John Kerry just want to steal Bill's charisma..it is inappropriate for him to tag Bill "abusing the truth"...its the MEDIA who actually abused the TRUTH!!!
    Transparency is the name of the game...and only the Clintons have responsively stand for it...GO HILLARY!!! GO.......

    January 26, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  13. MattHP

    Bill Clinton is a liar? Wow, Kerry is groundbreaking on that one.

    January 26, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. 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 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. Billy Bob

    Kerry is right...Barack is a smart,educated cool&calm customer who will bring some great ideas and new growth to this counrty for all Americans. But some of that vision gets lost because he is forced to defend himself in all directions, and that's just in his own party no less.

    What should he do, stand for and accept the clintons negative accusations and distortion of their own truth (nice photo by the way Mr.&Mrs Clinton)?
    I used to respect the Clintons now I can't stand them. I'm confused to, who is Barack running against?
    These are some dirty people w/dirty politics. Hiliary seems very nasty, and vengeful, do we want that in our President?

    January 26, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  16. Robert

    Kerry, Obama, Clinton all together in the same place? Wow, I didn't know the circus was in town!

    January 26, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  17. Rae

    Yeah,

    I've often wished I could get my campaign contribution back from Kerry. What a weasle!

    I never wanted him as the nominee in 2004 in the first place. I voted for Clark. But I supported Kerry when we got stuck with him, Then he puts his big size 12 foot in his mouth, calling Cheny's daughter a lesbian at the convention. He didn't need to go there. I got so ticked off at him then, I wasn't that upset when he lost.

    Now he's turning on the Clintons. He's still a weasle.

    Rae

    January 26, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  18. Carl LeonhardSr

    Read The Bok . The secret life Of Bill Clinton By Pritchet. You will be shocked How Bonie & Clde Clintons got away with there Crimes

    January 26, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. Gloria

    What did the Clinton's do for the African Americans or this country for that matter? Bill Clinton sold this country out to the Chinese. Wake up people and read the history on his Presidency. What happened to Ron Brown and Vince Foster and others that were close to the Clinton's. They only want one thing and that is power and if they get in the White House again, the whole world will loose.

    January 26, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. jake

    I am university graduate under the age of 35 with 6 figure salary and I am supporting HIllary. This post for those arrogant obama supporters who think Hillary supporters are old and uneducated.

    January 26, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  21. dem

    I don't get it, what do you people want? If Obama doesn't respond to the attacks he is weak and can't play hardball and if he responds then he is running a negative campaign, using the racial card and mudslinging. It is a catch 22 for him. Great Karl Rove strategy for the Clintons. Also using Bill as the attacker while keeping Hillary as clean as possible is really cleaver. I just hope that the voters see through this and vote for Obama or Edwards.

    January 26, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. Mr.Real Talk

    Let's think about this people.... If Barack Obama looked like Edward's being the same person and having the same views Barack does now, the Demacratic election would be a forgone conculsion. Hiliary Who....
    Things that make you go Hmmmmm

    January 26, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  23. MsGurl

    I'll take Bill Clinton fighting for me and my party anytime, anyday, any year, against anyone! I would gladly have Bill fighting on my behalf whether it's against my brother (Obama) or the rich kid down the street (Repugs).
    Looking Presidential??? Being Presidential??? Those are his to sacrifice and he clearly has decided Hillary is worth the sacrifice. Don't you folks get it???!!!
    Give me a break! Kerry took a plastic knife to a machine gun fight. Come on people and CNN. Bill is just getting warmed up...and this country will be so much better for it. Maybe if Kerry had "allowed" Bill to fight for him, Kerry wouldn't have had to mortgage his house in the primaries OR lose the national and lose the country all in one night.
    As a Democrat, I am so sick of us whining about we need to fight and then running scared when one of us starts a fight. Pick your side and work it...but please stop the whining!
    I sure as hell would buy a ticket to the butt kicking Bill would give those Repubs in a matchup with Hillary. His recent comments about McCain and Hill having a nice election is a lull...Bill is sharpening his tools and warning McCain!
    Michele & Barack need to take some lessons in case the rest of you buy the MEME b.s. and give Barack the nomination. They will need Bill Clinton...ask John Kerry!

    January 26, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. Rae

    Why didn't Kerry support Edwards, his old running mate??

    They had so much in common afterall, like their changing positions on the war and their $400 haircuts.

    Now he's endorsing Oboma and attacking the Clintons? He just keeps getting it wrong.

    Rae

    January 26, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. elliott

    ...blah...blah...blah....both are lying liberals

    January 26, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
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