Karl Rove says his words about Hillary Clinton's concussion
were twisted, and he doesn't think it will be a major issue in the 2016 presidential campaign if she chooses to run.
Still, he said, her health is just as important a topic as that of any other presidential candidate.
"Do I think she has brain damage? No," Rove said Wednesday on Fox News Channel's "Hannity."
"I think she had a traumatic brain episode. She had a concussion and a blood clot. That's serious."
Rove also doesn't think the concussion and blood clot near her brain that resulted from a fall in December 2012 will be a big issue in the campaign.
"It's going to be a minor thing," Rove said. "There are going to be bigger issues that are going to dominate in the campaign."
But he went on to explain his comment, which was reported in the New York Post's gossip section, Page Six.
The Post headlined its story, "Karl Rove: Hillary may have brain damage."
But his quote within the story actually said, "Thirty days in the hospital? And when she reappears, she's wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury? We need to know what's up with that."
Clinton was in the hospital for four days after a blood clot was found behind her right ear, between her skull and brain. But Rove noted to Hannity, "This is a 30-day-long episode."
Rove gave a timeline that started with then-Secretary of State Clinton's returning from a trip to the Czech Republic on Dec. 7, 2012, with a virus. It was soon announced that because of that illness, another trip would be canceled.
By the end of that week it was announced she had fallen and hit her head and would not be able to testify at the Benghazi hearings on Dec. 20.
On Dec. 30 she went to a hospital for a routine exam, and a blood clot was found behind her right ear, between the skull and brain. After her release from the hospital, 30 days had passed, Rove said.
"If you're going to turn 69 two weeks before the 2016 election, and you've had this kind of serious health incident, and if you get elected you're going to serve – you might want to – for eight years, you're going to be 77 at the end of it," Rove told Hannity. "You wouldn't be human if you didn't say, you know, I had this incident, it's going to cause me to think about, do I really want to do this?"
The Hill's A.B. Stoddard agreed that Rove had been misquoted by many in the media.
"Concussion actually is a moderate, mild version of traumatic brain injury. It is an injury to the brain," Stoddard said Wednesday on Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren"
"It might not be permanent, it might not be damage, but actually, what Karl Rove said is not incorrect," Stoddard said.
But, Stoddard added that Republicans can't have it both ways. Many in the party said at the time that Clinton was faking the injury to avoid testifying on Benghazi. They can't now attack her for being too sick to be president, she said.
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