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. Jose Card - Independent

    Bill Clinton doesn't just abuse truth.
    He also abuses your trust.

    January 26, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  2. Margaret

    Well done John Kerry. You are supporting the right person.Obama is the best candidate.Enough of the Clintons.

    January 26, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. Walt, Belton, TX

    Thus the tin kettle calling the pothead black...................

    January 26, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. BlueMax372

    How ironic: the phony war hero calls the perjurer a liar.

    January 26, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. lochukung

    John Kerry is a miserable loser. his candidacy was torpedoed and ridiculed when he acted nothing to counter the liars who were out to destroy him. we owe him a big favor for handing over another 4 years to GW Bush. Obama must be kind of feeling queasy when John Kerry embraced him snugly in his arm during the endorsement announcement. some people even suggested it's a kiss of death.
    Why he decided to endorse Obama is beyond me. perhaps he is still licking his wound in his swiftboat nightmare or he still has problem coming to terms with reality up to this date. what a pathetic figure to begin with.
    What we need is a formidable and strong candidate who can withstand all types of attacks from the Republicans. Only Hillary has gone through all that and is able to fulfill this mission in recapturing the White House and restoring our country from economical and political ruins devastated by GW Bush and his diehard Republicans.

    January 26, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. Roger

    I love it! Liberals fighting? Two powder puffs can hurt each other. One dope smoking coward calls another dope smoking coward a name. Not one of them could carry a Marine's jock strap! Although Bill might like it!

    January 26, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. Kelvin from newyork city

    Think not once but twice Mr Kerry who started the race thing it was Mr Obama not the Clentons i want this country to move forward not backwards this is not the way to get in the white house wake up people i am a black man and you have my vote Hillary right to the end.

    January 26, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  8. lochukung

    to Martin Edwin Andersen-who cares what the San Jose Mercury News editorial has to say? how many readership they have? if not because of your honorable mention, they would have disappeared unnoticed . Why don't you quote the New York Times which at least is an internationally known and respected newspaper?
    I garantee you Obama will be smashed into pieces by the ferocious Republicans if he gets the Democratic nomination. Want another Swiftboating of Obama?
    Only seasoned fighters like Hillary has the winning strategy against the barbaric Republicans because she's been through the hellfire and returned unscathed.

    January 26, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  9. Gary K - Franklin, WI

    John Kerry and other liberals have finally discovered what conservatives have known about the Clinton's all along – they are liars. Maybe there is hope for the democratic party.

    January 26, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. Bob

    I just love how all you Clinton supporters have spent the last 8 years hating Bush stating "coverup" in everything he's done, yet you're willing to turn your backs to all the coverups the Clintons have been involved in and stand ready to ask for more corruption. Your hate has blinded you all! To believe that the Clintons are so innocent is absurb. In stead of some refreshing change, you want to put the same old crap back in power. It's no wonder our government is failing us. Quit blaming our elected officials..... You're the people that keep electing the same ole song and dance.

    January 26, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. Richard

    One day, and I hope it sooner than much later, the true facts of what Bill Clinton did during his administration. And the role his wife played. Will come out. Most likely after most of the principals are dead and buried. Then, like JFK before him, after the P.R. machine is quieted. The American people, if they can still read or care, will be more than a little shocked at what is revealed.

    Just one case in point. Who ever does a time motion study of Bill's presidency is going to discover just how much time and effort he really devoted to doing the people's work. It ain't going to be pretty folks.

    And if the wife gets into office. It will be business as usual.

    As for the comment about the Right wing smear campaign by some of the true believers. Funny isn't how the "smear" turned out to be true all along. And it was on Dick Morris's advice that they managed to not be thrown out of the White House.

    Thank God I am old and won't have to see too much more of this 'garbage' in my lifetime.

    January 26, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  12. Marsha, Portland, OR

    Who cares what Kerry says.

    January 26, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  13. Allen

    Bill Clinton's presidency was full of lies and corruption. Let's hope he never darkens the White House door again.

    January 26, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |


    January 26, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. Pete

    Kerry has only said one thing thats correct in the years hes been in the spotlight....too bad this happens to be it! It doesn't take a very bright or bold man to say what every conservative has said about the Clintons since they crawled from under a rock in Arkansas...THEY ARE LIARS!!!! He didn't even have the balls to say that. Then again his courage is renowned.....

    January 26, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. tony

    The Clintons can play their race card very well. However, they should remember that the November general election is fast approaching and the rest of us will either turn Independents or Republicans.
    Mr president, keep up the good work- for the Republicans will be there to gain from it.

    January 26, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. mp

    It's interesting how many folks have been led to comment on this article.
    Let's see:
    Kerry has turned on his backers, the Clintons, for his 2004 prez bid ~
    Kerry turned on his VP partner, Edwards, for his 2004 prez bid ~
    Kerry turned on his country after his Viet Nam bid to "do his civic duty"~

    What's next, Kerry? The lifetime pension from the Senate?

    January 26, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. coatesmoe

    There are a lot of Clinton staff active on the Internet today! Be careful Hillary has her way of getting back to you.

    January 26, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  19. mike

    Kerryis for sure no patriot but here he told the truth. Clinton, regardless of the first name, is synonomous with lying. After so many years of being so wrong about this country and the people in it Kerry is finally right about something.

    January 26, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  20. John K

    Let's see, 12 years of the Bush Family..and now 12 years of the Clintons.
    Let's try something new people. For real change we need new faces.
    Vote Obama 08!

    January 26, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  21. leo

    The problem is that the Democrat party is still the racist party of George Wallace and Lester Maddox. They have a obviously qualified black candidate in Barack Obama. Bill Clinton, a admitted admirer of the segregationist former Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright, is carrying on the "family tradition."

    January 26, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  22. Shawn, IL

    Can someone send this discussion thread to Kerry.

    January 26, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. Salida

    Ivan for Ohio: January 26, 2008 1:33 am ET

    It's really amazing to see how gaulible most black America is, even in this century. There is a very good chance to see a black man as President of this great country, but some blacks feel they owe allegiance to Bill Clinton. The Clintons, in their quest for power are looking to build a dynasty. After Hillary the next Clinton the blacks will owe allegiance to would be their daughter. Black America, wake up and lift up your own son. He can't do any worse. Look who's President today.

    You may have 8 years of your life to give away to uncertainty, hardships, family and/or friends away fighting an unjust war, horrible financial conditions, no decent healthcare and the list goes on. For me and my family, we're not and are looking to elect a president who will make living bearable. So, we're not going to lift up our own son even if we know it will hurt not only us but the majority of the people tomorrow. Yes, we made a mistake with George Bush, so now should we take a chance that our "own" will not do worse than he did?
    I think this is flawed reasoning.

    January 26, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. kb

    lies lies lies, cnn is bias

    January 26, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  25. Mike Hoffman

    Can someone explain what it means to "abuse the truth?"

    January 26, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
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