Karl Rove Backs Off Hillary 'Brain Damage' Comments

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 12:29 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Republican strategist Karl Rove on Tuesday denied he said that Hillary Clinton had suffered brain damage from a fall while asserting the former secretary of state's age and health will become a campaign issue if she runs for president in 2016.

Despite the denial, Rove also claimed that Clinton could be covering up possible health problems, saying "she has hidden a lot."

The New York Post reported that Rove had repeatedly stated at a Los Angeles conference  last week that the former secretary of state may have endured a severe brain injury when she fell at her home in Washington, D.C., and suffered a concussion while she was fighting a stomach virus.

The leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 was hospitalized for three days after the accident in 2012 to undergo tests, and doctors discovered that there was a blood clot between her brain and skull.

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

According to the Post
, Rove said Clinton had been hospitalized for 30 days and that that she’d been wearing glasses that are "only for people who have traumatic brain injury."

Rove denied the brain damage remarks during an appearance on Fox News’ "America's Newsroom" on Tuesday.

"No, no. I didn't say she had brain damage," Rove told Fox News. "I never used that phrase. But, look, she had a serious health episode."

Attempting to explain his 30-day timeline, he said, "My point was from the 7th of December in 2012 through the 7th of January of 2013… first, she had apparently a serious virus. They announced then, on the 15th of December, that she had at some period in the past week fallen."

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"They didn't say when. They didn't say where," Rove said. "She was recovering at home. On the 30th of December, she goes in and turns out to have had a blood clot. They won't say where.

"The next day they say it is between her skull and her brain, behind her right ear. She's in the hospital for four days. She goes home, is back in the office on the 7th and testifies on the 25th wearing special glasses that allow her to deal with the double vision that this episode caused.

"We don't know what the doctors said about what she [does] have to be concerned about. But she has hidden a lot. How long she's going to have these glasses? What [are] the ramifications of this?"

The deputy chief of staff during the George W. Bush administration continued, "This will be an issue in the 2016 race, whether she likes it or not. Every presidential candidate is asked for all of their health records."

Rove, co-founder of the Americans Crossroad Super PAC, said that Clinton will be 69 by the time of the 2016 election and 77 if she served two terms in the White House.

"When you go through a health incident like this, any presidential candidate has to ask themselves, 'Am I willing to do this for 8 years of my life, serve and run for two years, and then serve for eight?'"

Rove also said the age and health problems of former GOP presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, became an issue during the 2008 presidential election. "This happens every presidential campaign."

The GOP operative added that the Democrats may say Hillary is not concerned about her health going into the election and it’s not part of the "calculation." But he said, "They won’t be telling the truth."

However, while making a sarcastic comment about Rove being a doctor, a spokesman for Clinton has poured scorn on his remarks, saying, "Please assure Dr. Rove, she’s 100 percent. Karl Rove has deceived the country for years, but there are no words for this level of lying.’"

On CNN Tuesday, host John King called Rove’s alleged comments about the brain damage "reprehensible.’

Story continues below video.



"Republicans have issued a warning [to Clinton] that if you run we are going to be tough, we are going to bring up Monica Lewinsky if we choose, Benghazi and everything you did at the State Department," King said.

The Washington Post’s Robert Costa told King that Republicans are "nervous" about Clinton, and added, "I think he is trying to signal… that in 2016 Hillary Clinton’s health will be part of the conversation."

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

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