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. Vince Rinehart

    Excuse me; did anyone watch the debate in S. Carolina? It was Obama who came out attacking Hillary. It was Obama who made the stereotypical joke about "dancing". It was Obama who called Edwards the "white candidate". It was the Obama supporters who played the race card and he OK'd pushing the subject. He admitted this himself! It was Obama who attacked Hillary about her sitting on the board of Wal-Mart. Do you expect Hillary to sit and take this kind of rhetoric? The media is so pro-Obama it is ridiculous. Maybe that is why Obama's support among white Dems is fading. He is gotten a free ride from the media and made racial statements that only a black or half-black can get away with.

    Kerry...let's see...he's the one who wouldn't stand up to the Bushies' lies about his service and lost the election. He's the one the American public just doesn't get. He is irrelevant to say the least.

    January 25, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. Joyce memphis, tn

    looks like Kerry has more balls during Obama's campaigne than he did during his own campaigne. get a life Kerry

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

    "Abuse the truth" if there is nothing to hide why fear the truth! The truth is that we have a sorry group of politicians (from both parties) running for President. Again I don't think we will have anybody that will be worth voting for we will just have to vote for the one who will screw up America the least

    January 25, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. Your Daddy

    James from Houston: your comment about swiftboating just encourages more lies and campaign smears... go out and seek the truth for yourself for a change. The liers (Clintons, Bush, etc) rely on people like you to not question the bull dished out in the 'media.' Did you know that the federal election commission fined the Swift Boat Group $330,000 for these ads which were proved completely false with proper fact-checking? That didn't get any coverage, did it? The neocon's bank account, Mr. Bob Perry, who bankrolled the Swift Boat Ads, is at it again, backing Mitt Romney. If you don't want God knows how many more years of imperial foreign policy, I'd stay away from voting for him. He's Karl von Rove's boy, just follow the money.

    Smearing isn't partisan or the sole skill of one party or one candidate. Take some time to seek the truth from the lies. Do some research find out who the candidates are planning to put in their cabinet positions - this will reveal precisely what the candidates policies are based on the past work and affliations of these people. Eight years of Bush and we got eight years of neocons. Who saw it coming? I don't think even Bush did, that pin-head.

    January 25, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. democrat_2008

    ADVISE FROM A LOSER ... Why don't you be specific Kerry??? WHERE'S THE BEEF??

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

    I'm with you Dez. (2)

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

    Kerry...If you did not notice, both Obama and Hillary were trying to calm it down a little. You putting statements like this out dont help.

    January 25, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. S.J.Y.

    The Clintons' remind me of "Snake Oil" salemen at the county fair. They will say and do anything to close the deal. I hope the voters can see through the charade
    and not buy into the Clinton power machine. Do you honestly think the Clintons'
    will care about you after you cast your vote. WAKE UP AMERICA!

    January 25, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  9. Chris , St.louis, MO

    Yaay ... Kerry for VP

    "isn't just going to break the mold….Together, we are going to shatter it into a million pieces."

    January 25, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. Jackson

    John Kerry is so much about sour grapes. Hillary Clinton got both the New York Times and Kansas City Star endorsements ... and he can't deal with it. And why doesn't he think Obama can handle this on his own?

    January 25, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. Michael

    This just goes to show what a loser Kerry really is. The 2004 election was a choice between the lesser of two evils. At the time I that Kerry was and voted for him. Today I am glad the dead beat Kerry lost to bush, despite Bush's short comings.

    January 25, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. Tony

    Yes, this is the truth. I see many people here instead of discussing if what he said is true or not turn agains him. This is typical to what the Clintons will do. No surprise they support them.

    January 25, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  13. Julie-Albuquerque

    Kerry lost his bid for President and now he's supporting Obama and criticizing Clinton. Mmmmmmm.......Is Obama getting desperate?

    January 25, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  14. Clinton News Network

    Why isn't CNN reporting that today the Clinton campaign is coming out and urging Michigan and Florida delegates to be seated??? So much for her pledge!!!!! What an underhanded strategy, to encourage the other candidates not to put their names on the ballot or campaign, then to go fund-raising and put her name on the ballot......and then seek those delegates after the damage is done!!!

    Disgusting. Show the truth, CNN. If Hillary can't be trusted to keep her own pledge, how can she be trusted with the presidency?

    January 25, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. sueapu

    Seems to me that John Kerry was the last Democrat to LOSE the presidency, while Bill Clinton was the last Democrat to WIN the Presidency (twice).

    January 25, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  16. Just A Texan for Obama

    John, didn't agree with you in '04 but I'm glad to see you on the right side now. Another person who really knows the Clintons and speaks out against them. Gotta love that!

    Hmmmmm wonder how many other people there are out there that are too afraid of that big ole political machine that won't speak out.

    Look out below......another wheel just came off that machine.

    January 25, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  17. Masters Student

    Your right Leonor! Change is a word, just a word! With Obama, it is a word with no action. With Hillary, the word change actually means something.

    January 25, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. Dave in Raleigh

    Mr. Kerry, I think it's called lying, at least where I'm from. I guess the term "abuse of the truth" is something like the term "undocumented alien."

    January 25, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  19. karen

    apparently if you criticize the media your comments don't get posted.

    January 25, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. Karen, Jersey City

    Expect more 'Flying Lying Hidden Dragon' tales from the Clintons. They look old and tired. They are fighting for their life….. They don’t give one hell about the American people, they want back in the big house.

    They have the whole family out campaigning against ONE man..... LOL!!!! I'm surprised they haven't put their pet dog on the campaign march to no where...

    January 25, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. ralph

    i never was a clinton fan. nor am i now. but kerry basically sold out on both his former running mate, as well as his values which were well documented in the past election. something about being a stool pigeon when one is too scared to be a soldier. very befitting for this fraud.

    January 25, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. APG

    I volunteered for John Kerry during his presidential campaign. I am very disappointed in him for his statements. I respect both canidates and I think it is fair to question each side on their records, statements, and actions. While this has become a rather negative campaign, I do not think it is one sided. Mr. Obama has said some very negative things about Mrs. Clinton, but the media does not emphasize them. John Kerry has not attacked Mr. Obama for these statements either. I heard Mr. Obama's statements and it appears that he was attempting, in part, to discredit President Clinton's job performance. I think it is fair to challenge this. Moreover, he did vote to fund the war, but continues to attack Mrs. Clinton for voting for to give Bush the authority to take action, if needed. It is fair to point this out.

    My point is, both sides have engaged in negative campaigning. I think it is disappointing that John Kerry only comment on the actions of one side.

    January 25, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. ruth broberg

    I was disappointed to see your comments about the Clintons. I thought you would have recognized by now that we did great in the 90's and need that experience to carry us to a CHANGE to those policies that would help us succeed again.
    Ruth in Lincoln, Nebraska

    January 25, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  24. Michigan

    What exactly have the Clintons done for Black Americans?

    January 25, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  25. Nell

    John Kerry can say anything to get Obama elected. There is no doubt, what John Kerry have done to African-American community? Atleast,Bill Clinton is recognised as the first 'Black President'. Remember, John Kerry lost in 2004 election.He is still upset about the past.

    January 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 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