Ex-Bush Aide: Rove's Hillary Brain Injury Slap No 'Accident'

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 11:17 AM

By Wanda Carruthers

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It was no "accident" when Republican political strategist Karl Rove suggested potential Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton suffered a brain injury in 2012, said Nicolle Wallace, former communications director for President George W. Bush.

In a conference near Los Angeles on May 8, Rove questioned why Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time, was in the hospital for "30 days" after a fall in which she suffered a concussion, and, subsequently, a blot clot, the New York Post reported. Rove went on to describe glasses she wore when she left the hospital as "only for people who have traumatic brain injury."

According to her spokesperson, Clinton was in the hospital for three days, not 30. Wallace, who also worked for the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain, said it "didn't seem to be in line with Karl" to have his facts wrong.

"This attack seemed out of place, out of time. And some of the basic facts seemed to be wrong," Wallace told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday.

Story continues below video.

Nevertheless, Wallace suggested that questions about Clinton's health were Rove's attempt to bring the topic to the forefront. She said it was "ludicrous" to think Clinton would not have to address questions about her health if she runs for president in 2016.

"Karl [Rove] did not raise this issue by accident." Wallace said. "This was a deliberate strategy on his part to raise her health as an issue. And, I think, in his view, a legitimate line of questioning ahead of the next campaign."

Since Rove's remarks were made at a private event, Wallace suggested he could have been "trying [the strategy] out on behalf of the party, and behalf of the eventual nominee."

Lacking a front-runner for the presidential contest in 2016, MSNBC contributor Mark Halperin said Republicans at this point were "more focused on trying to define" Clinton.

"This is one of a thousand things that has happened the last month of Republicans trying to figure out how to undermine — what will stick with voters, what will undermine her, and maybe what will intimidate her out of the race," Halperin told the "Morning Joe" panel.

Since polls indicated Clinton ahead of all potential Republican nominees, political commentator Mike Barnicle agreed that Rove's comments were an attempt to make her health an issue.

"This is just another measure that they're taking to try and knock down the presumed front-runner, if she does run for the Democratic nomination," Barnicle said.

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