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. James D.

    The truth has been spoken! John Kerry KNOWS what being smeared looks and feels like.

    Note: When democrats WERE so incredibly united in response to the last 8 years of Bush....the Clintons have accomplished what no one thought could be done...divide the democratic party. The Clintons may also "conquer" the nomination...but the general election will reflect to consequences of their dishonest campaign.

    January 25, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. Frank

    John Kerry used to be a Clinton supporter. Way to yet again change your support. John Kerry when have you been relevant in politics? When have you spear headed any significant bill. You are by far the worse example of entrenched philosophically dead representative this country as ever known and experienced. You lack the conviction to stay true to your friends or to your own party. You voting record is so inconsistant and illogical that i can only suspect it bends with the wind much like your fealty and your ability to alienate your past supporters has no equal. I hope you know that when Clinton wins, you will have a very short lifespan ahead of you in politics.

    January 25, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. Tyler

    John Kerry's political clout is past its expiration date. And if He think's he's going to get somewhere by blasting the Democratic party's most powerful figure, then he's beyond repair.

    January 25, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. Greg, NY

    Know what I find funny? People calling Kerry a loser. It's like the football team that makes it to the Superbowl and loses. Everyones like, "Ohhh you guys suck, you didn't win!"

    But they made it all the way to the Superbowl didn't they?

    January 25, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  5. Boston guy

    John Kerry is just jealous of the Clinton's.

    January 25, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  6. Matt

    Whether Kerry is upset he lost the last round or not, he's still right: Bill Clinton has polarized Democratic voters, and I don't think they realize just how much damage is being done in the eyes of Democrats. There are Democrats who are actually talking like staying at home or voting for the Republican (if it's McCain or Romney) rather than voting for Hillary.......as if her pre-existing negatives weren't high enough, they go and make it worse!

    January 25, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  7. JD, WI

    During 2004 campaign Kerry wanted Michael Dukakis to go on hiding because he's a loser.
    How ironic is that he's out in the open for Obama now.
    Kerry should be out of the limelight if he really wants to help Obama.
    This guy has negative energy packed all over.

    January 25, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  8. Harold

    Kerry is upset he could not run this time. He is a nothing. There is no one who has taken more abuse than Hillary from the republicans, the right, journalists; and she has stood up to it. Running the country will be easy for her after this. Hey what happened to Oprah?

    January 25, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  9. Frank

    PS Obama better cut you lose quick....cause having your support is an extra 10 pts for Hillary Clinton.

    January 25, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  10. Dave

    I'm glad someone is saying something. The Clinton's look desperate.

    January 25, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  11. Nando

    Well at least he served his country while Hillary an Bill were at WOODSTOCK , And BILL WAS A DRAFT DODGER . I respect JOHN KERRY more than I will ever Respect BILL CLINTON. AS A GULF war Veteran and also Bosnia. I can tell you BILL didnt care one bit about the Military. He is the biggest Liar that has ever slept in the WHITE House.

    January 25, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. frank

    this is a man who know what is talking about and is right the Clitons need to shut up and wait for the result on 5th of february we are tired of the same story bill Clitons or Bushs there are not other people in American who can lead this country apart this to familys? Americans wake up... we need change and OBAMA is capable to produce that change.

    January 25, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  13. WhiteHair-WhiteHouse

    G-O A-W-A-Y John Kerry. You had your moment in the spotlight and blew it. Let's move on from your failure and worry about accomplishing what you COULD NOT... getting a Democrat in the White House.

    January 25, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. Dave

    I keep hearing about tall the wonderful things the Clinton's have done for African Americans', can someone please tell me what they are? I am African American and I can't think of anything that they have done to benefit me.

    January 25, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  15. Matt

    truth squad:

    "Before you Clintonistas start attacking John Kerry as a sore loser- remember that Kerry received more votes in 2004 than Bill Clinton was ever able to in his two plurality wins of '92 and '96."

    Turnout was unprecedented in 2004. That had little to nothing to do with enthusiasm for Kerry's candidacy but rather disgust for Bush. And Kerry still screwed it up.

    January 25, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. Samantha

    why does cnn keep censoring my comments. is it because I'm coming down too hard on CNN. well someone should be. you guys aren't sticking to the issues or the candidates and what matters the most in this election. why are we still talking about Bill Clinton or anything that John Kerry has to say. A former president and a failed presidential candidate. Are you guys serious can we stick to only the candidates CNN and the real issues. Hillary, Barack and John. Remember them?? This is getting ridiculous. CNN= Clinton Negative News.

    January 25, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. ACT

    Kerry: thanks for calling a spade (frantic – liar "Bill Clinton") a spade!

    January 25, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. SJ

    I agree with Ray, Mr. Kerry is still upset he lost. Get over it, Mr. Kerry, and let the talented Clintons lead the country.

    January 25, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. Masters Student

    Wow! Kerry is so bitter! Obama's campaign loves to attack but do not enjoy being attacked. If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen! Kerry is a candidate who lost supporting another candidate who is not going to even get the nomination. Birds of a feather flock together. You go Bill, defend your wife against the mud slinging Obama machine!

    January 25, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. pp

    So the timid loser of 2004 who crumbled under the Bushies-now disepenses advice to others. Maybe if he had had to undergo similarly tough question during his primary run the democrats would not have ended up with such a wimpy loser as their candidate-and would have actually won in 2004.
    Tough campaigns now show which candidate can survive the coming general election-and Obama certainly nees some training now. His only election to date was a walkover since his opponent dropped out on sexual misconduct charges and was replaced by ALAN KEYNES.

    January 25, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  21. jim geminiano

    Kerry is just a sour puss ! If Kerry is decent , he should have endorsed John Edwards . Kerry is acting on his self interest . His motives are revenge for being a loser . Bill have done alot of good for the country .

    January 25, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  22. Alex

    John Kerry is a LOSER! period. The only Democrats to win in 30 years are the Clintons, because they understand that in order to really help people, you have to be willing to fight. The Republicans have no shame, remember the swift boat campaign, or Max Cleland's loss, or the Willie Horton ad, or the playboy bunny ad in the Harold Ford campaign? If these liberal elite losers want to protect their precious Obama through the primary, then they are only going to set him up to become losers just like them. Personally, what I think is over the top, Mr. Kerry, is when you suggested that our troops were too stupid to be in college, or when you idly sat by while they tasered some poor guy just for asking a question.

    January 25, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  23. grant

    There will be blacks, whites, and everyother goup staying home in november if hillary gets the nod; I would rather have romney.

    January 25, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  24. Young Liberal

    90% of the comments on here say Kerry is sad because he lost. How original. I have a feeling that these commentors most likely supported him in 2004. Kerry actually just cares about his party and his country. Honestly, is Bill truly acting like an ex-president?

    January 25, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  25. Amy

    Bill needs to quit. Obama is really the only candidate who is best qualified to unite the country and get things done. Obama does not have the negative political history that the Clintons have of fighting with the Republicans. This country is in crisis and can not afford 4 years of gridlock and special interests with Hillary We, together, can change this country around with Obama.

    He is realistic and upfront with America. He is a candidate we can trust. And we can trust that he has listened to us and will really work for us. And with increased bipartisan support, he can actually get the job done.

    January 25, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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