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. Joseph

    What is the Fuss. If Obama cannot stand what appears to be fair game? Can he stand world pressure?

    G, get use to this folks..
    Would you stand low and have your woman beaten?

    Obama has nerver admitted doing anything wrong, there appears to be always a good explaination..Watch the keeping them honest 360 and you will see for your self that Obama was not truthful about his ties to the lobbiest..

    He better be ready for the steam...and the attacks from the Republicans.

    Go figure.

    January 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  2. john

    Kerry please do not endorse Ms Clinton tomorrow because you may.
    stay out Please you bad luck.

    January 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. glen

    The Democrats are dumb to do exactly what the Republicans hope, and to attack each other and not see themselves being overtaken by these new " born again Republicans" who now profess to " see the light" and promise to never again do what they always do when they get in office. - Wake up Demos!

    January 25, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. Harold

    Hey Paul by the way I believe Bush has had the lowest rating in memory. Clinton was always high.

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


    January 25, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  6. kb


    January 25, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  7. John

    Somebody please tell me what Bill Clinton has lied about during this campain?
    Obama basically said that that, "the last 15 yrs the Republican's were the party of ideas." Is that honest? 8 yrs of of Clinton and 7 yrs of Bush and the Republicans are the Party of Ideas? Give me abreak!!!! Obama like to dish it out but can't take it.

    January 25, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  8. Brattleboro, VT

    The GREAT MAN has spoken! You are the one! Show tell them that it's OVER! OBAMA 08!

    January 25, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  9. Keith Austin

    I'm STILL looking for the example(s) where President Clinton "abused the truth" in regard to Obama.

    Somebody help me out here?

    Keep blowing things out of proportion because it's Bill Clinton.

    He's not president anymore! You can stop piling on!

    He got impeached! You won! Game over! Get over him already!

    January 25, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. Fred, TN

    Amen, Robert Johnson.

    January 25, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  11. Indiana Ralph

    John who?

    January 25, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. Dallas

    I plan to vote Democrat in the general election. However, if Senator Hillary Clinton wins the nomination, I will vote Republican. I’m not interested in seeing the Clintons in the White House again. Most of my friends will do the same. We do not have penchant for Bill and Hillary’s style of politics. Bill and Hillary Clinton spurn the truth; they’re glaringly hypocritical.

    January 25, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. Elmer

    Theres been too many instances or the Clintons have the Apearance of Guilt for me to believe anything they say. If Bill is going to be talking ,the Media should hold him accountable, Make him Show Facts , or Leave everything he says out of the news.

    January 25, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. Moby

    Kerry should shut up. Hes a looser and he will always be a looser. It will look bad on Obama if he shouts too much...

    January 25, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  15. Ingrid

    Please get off my TV and computer John Kerry. You are bringing out some really horrible memories from 2004. If Obama listens to Kerry, we know how close to the White House he will come.

    January 25, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  16. BabyMagic

    So, what position in an Obama Administration is Kerry trying to get? Hmmm, can you say Vice-President Kerry? FYI Mr. Kerry – there isn't a place in an Obama administration for you because Obama's mantra is change, change, change – something neither he nor you would be able to pull off, not even together.

    Hillay '08!

    January 25, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  17. Moose

    Nobody cares what John Kerry thinks! (the man who lost the election).

    January 25, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  18. Joe American

    Kerry's is a Loser and His endorsment for Obama was like a bullet in the head for obama. Abusing the truth?? is that like saying Bush is a failure, Bush is the worst President Ever and we can thank him personnally for our tanking economy because the oil, gas , electric, medical, Financial and insurance come first. this country is about we the people, not we the greedy Corporation, wake up America

    January 25, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. walt

    John Kerry is hoping to be Vice President!

    January 25, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. Citizen

    Truth Squad,

    No matter what, Kerry was a looser and will be a looser.

    January 25, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. Bonnie, Longmont, CO

    This election has nothing to do with any of the candidates supporters. This election has to do with bringing this country to a positive standing in the world again. This can only happen with truth, honesty, and integrity. The last thing we need as a country is another President who will lie to the people of this great nation and continue to divide us. Obama stands for unity, truth, and honesty. Forget who endorses whom and look into your guts and stand as one on the side of truth.

    January 25, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. GARY

    What amazes me most is the fact that the Demo. Party is it's own worst enemy......they do a better job cutting each other down than do the Republicans. If either Obama or Clinton win the nomination, the Republican Nominee will win the election....the Demo. Party's best chance to win is with John Edwards.

    January 25, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. Paul, Atlanta

    Oh! Pleeez! Mr. Flip Flop! You lost the election because of this!

    Do people really think that Obama is going to sing gospels the same way he did in South Carolina with his african american supporters if he wins the elections?

    People don't vote based on color or gender! Vote for a person who can bring clarity and can resolve issues which are important to our country.

    I for one will not vote for a recent graduate and bring him as a CEO of a mega business which has failed for last 8 years!

    January 25, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  24. Michigan

    As a Black woman I can't think of anthing. Obama helped Bill Clintion get elected. He went through the community and regeistered many people.

    January 25, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  25. Michael - Stamford, CT

    I trust former President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Clinton now far more than I do John Kerry. Bill Clinton is telling it like it is. John Kerry's word means nothing as he constantly flip flops all over the place, we all know what America thinks of him that's why he lost the 2004 election. It's hurts Senator Obama that John Kerry is backing him because John Kerry has no credibility with the American people. What was really an abuse a power is how John Kerry would brag all of the time about his military record yet failed to tell everyone how he was a traitor talking against the United States and our military. John Kerry stands for nothing!
    I would think Senator Obama would want to distance himself from someone like Kerry, not exactly a good thing to have someone like Kerry give an endorsement. I've lost any respect I use to have for John Kerry.
    Without a doubt my support is going to Hillary and I take the word of Bill Clinton anyday over John Kerry.

    January 25, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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