May 13th, 2014
09:06 AM ET
4 months ago

Rove criticized for Clinton 'brain injury' suggestion

(CNN) - Karl Rove's suggestion that Hillary Clinton suffers from a brain injury is coming under attack.

Rove, the mastermind behind George W. Bush's two presidential election victories, appeared at a conference last Thursday, where he discussed a 2012 incident that sent the then-secretary of state to the hospital, according to the New York Post's Page Six, the newspaper's well-known gossip column.

"Thirty days in the hospital?" asked Rove, a Fox News Channel contributor, according to the report. "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, who's seriously considering a second bid for the White House, suffered a blood clot in December 2012, after falling. After first going to the hospital for testing, Clinton later was admitted for a three-day stay at a hospital in New York City.

The incident prevented Clinton from testifying to Congress about the September 11, 2012, attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi that left the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans dead and some Republicans at the time questioned her injury. Clinton eventually testified in January 2013 about her role in the Benghazi attack, a role Republicans have increasingly criticized. Should the 66-year-old Clinton decide to run for the White House again, her health, like any other candidate's, would be an issue.

Clinton: No need for new Benghazi committee, but GOP 'calls the shots' in the House

After the Post story posted, Democrats and others were quick to slam Rove. The Democratic National Committee put out a statement saying, "It appears Karl Rove's medical diagnoses are about as solid as his election night prognostications."

The DNC statement refers to Rove's prediction that GOP nominee Mitt Romney would win the 2012 presidential election.

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said that "Karl Rove has deceived the country for years, but there are no words for this level of lying."

As for Clinton's health, Merrill added, "She is 100%. Period."

Rove defended his comments Tuesday morning on the Fox News Channel, saying that it's legitimate to ask about a potential presidential candidate's health.

"No, no. I didn't say she had brain damage, she had a serious health episode and my point was that I think it was from the 7th of December in 2012 through the 7th of January of 2013, she underwent, 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. They didn't say when, they didn't say where. 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 is 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," Rove said

While she was hospitalized, Clinton's doctors said they were "confident she will make a full recovery."

Clinton has increasingly come under attack by Republicans as she seriously considers a 2016 presidential bid. If she decides to run, she would instantly become the overwhelming frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. At the same time, Clinton is keeping up a very demanding speaking schedule that includes lots of travel.

Hillary Clinton edges down slightly in new CNN/ORC 2016 poll

While she mulls her decision, the GOP and pro-Republican outside groups have stepped up their attacks on Clinton, on everything from the Benghazi incident to the 1990s Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Rove said Clinton's health will be a factor if she runs for the White House.

"My point was that Hillary Clinton wants to run for president, but she would not be human if this didn't enter in as a consideration. My other point is this will be an issue in the 2016 race whether she likes it or not. Every presidential candidate is asked for their health records," Rove added Tuesday.

Following Rove's appearance on Fox News, Merrill released a new statement.

"From the moment this happened seventeen months ago, the Right has politicized her health. First they accused her of faking it, now they've resorted to the other extreme – and are flat out lying. Even this morning, Karl Rove is still all over the map and is continuing to get the facts wrong. But he doesn't care, because all he wants to do is inject the issue into the echo chamber, and he's succeeding. It's flagrant and thinly veiled," Merrill said.

"They are scared of what she has achieved and what she has to offer. What he's doing is its own form of sickness. But she is 100%, period. Time for them to move on to their next desperate attack," he added.

The 2012 incident was not the first time Clinton dealt with blood clots. She told the New York Daily News in 2007 that while campaigning for Sen. Chuck Schumer in 1998 she suffered a large blood clot behind her right knee and had to be rushed to Bethesda Naval Hospital outside Washington, D.C.

"That was scary because you have to treat it immediately – you don't want to take the risk that it will break lose and travel to your brain, or your heart or your lungs," Clinton told the newspaper. "That was the most significant health scare I've ever had."

Clinton also fell and fractured her right elbow as secretary of state in 2009 and was treated at George Washington University Hospital.

Age an issue in presidential elections

Rove pointed out that some Democrats in 2008 made Republican presidential nominee John McCain's age an issue during the campaign.

The AFL-CIO launched a website called "Younger than McCain," which featured a video listing things that were all younger than McCain's 72 years, including plutonium, McDonalds and the country of Pakistan.

The age attacks were not limited to outside groups, either. Democratic Rep. John Murtha told a union group that McCain was too old to be president. During an interview with CNN in 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama said that McCain had "lost his bearings" while pursuing the Republican nomination, a line that was seen as a subtle attack.

Age is often made a campaign issue. Bill Clinton's campaign portrayed incumbent George H.W. Bush as old and out of touch during the 1992 presidential race. Then-President Ronald Reagan famously turned the issue on its head in 1984 by telling voters during a debate with challenger Walter Mondale that "I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience."

 

 


Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton • Karl Rove
soundoff (478 Responses)
  1. tom

    Has Clinton said she is going to run for president? Of is the gop so desperate they need to start now?

    May 13, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. Ken in MO

    Karl Rove and his friends have done more to hurt the GOP and this country. The nutjobs have completely taken over the GOP! Bengazi!

    May 13, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  3. SUAMW

    Karl Rove's suggestion is not without merit.
    Given her past medical history, this is plausible and not outside the realm of possibility.
    While no neurological effects of her clot were detected immediately upon diagnosis, posttraumatic changes and changes due to compression of the brain by a hematoma, a cyst or tumor may take some time to declare themselves even after the mass has been removed.

    May 13, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  4. Hogan's Goat

    "the bible and religion. Not tolerating adultery has nothing to do with religion it has to do with whats right and wrong "

    The Bible is down with a man having a dozen wives and some of them being slaves he bought, and it's fine with selling off your extra daughters as slaves. As a guide to modern life, it's useless. Look at what it says about potatoes, for example, or tomatoes; are Christians allowed to eat those things?

    May 13, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  5. Bob Nace

    Present designated mudslinger Rover GOP'ing in the wind again. S back in Beghazi time, they hinted about, or accused, Hillary of faking an injury to avoid testimony. Now they say that she had brain damage back then.

    May 13, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. carlos

    "Karl Rove is asking if Hillary Clinton is leveling with the public about the injury she suffered in a 2012 fall"

    Is that the same injury he accused her of faking to get out of the Bengahzi hearings? Give us a break!

    May 13, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. cm

    Chris are you asking did they check Obama as well, because that's not what you wrote. Perhaps somebody needs to check you, like i just did.

    May 13, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    smith

    @Silence-Rudy brought in the bible and religion. Not tolerating adultery has nothing to do with religion it has to do with whats right and wrong and how you treat people. If you think treating someone with respect and being honest with that person is a bad thing, then you got problems yourself.
    ------------------------------------
    You make the weirdest arguments. You also have the terrible habit of reading things into what people say to make it fit your narrative.

    Bill was honest. He told his wife whatever it was he told her about the relationship. What exactly is your point? You seemed to have missed it.

    No, I did not bring the bible into the conversation. Someone else did, to make the argument that Hillary should have divorced Bill. I simply pointed out that the Catholic Church does not sanction divorce.

    May 13, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. Jackson

    carlos

    "Karl Rove is asking if Hillary Clinton is leveling with the public about the injury she suffered in a 2012 fall"

    Is that the same injury he accused her of faking to get out of the Bengahzi hearings? Give us a break!

    __________

    EXACTLY!!!!

    Just changes his story to suit his own purposes. How truly pathetic.

    Where was he during the whole "Reagan/Alzhemiers" concern.

    May 13, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    This is yet another opportunity missed by an credible potential Republican presidential aspirant. I'd expect someone with gravitas . . . like Jon Huntsman . . . to openly reject Rove's tactics. Only when the GOP has people of that conviction will they begin to compete for the votes of the mass of decent Americans.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Absolutely correct Kickin' Donkey.
    I expected to find someone other than Democrats mumbling and fumbling about the lenghts and spins of Rove's insincere, and misinformed extrapolations....but no.
    None of the Republicon's leadership, or aspiring contestants have yet to draw the line and inject some decency into this new narrative.
    This is precisely why they will lose yet again: Republicons have a natural aversion to decency, work ethic, and the truth.

    May 13, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    carlos

    "Karl Rove is asking if Hillary Clinton is leveling with the public about the injury she suffered in a 2012 fall"

    Is that the same injury he accused her of faking to get out of the Bengahzi hearings? Give us a break!
    ---------------------------------
    Yup, that would be the same one. Is Fox News going to offer up an apology for Rove's offensive behavior? MSNBC would.

    May 13, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  12. Bob

    Karl Rove is definitely speaking from experience. He KNOWS brain damage.

    May 13, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. stage.right.in.the.middle

    Rove's comment is about as sensible as H. Clinton's commentary on Benghazi.

    May 13, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    smith
    @Lynda-I think any man or woman who stays with a cheater has issues. Your basically saying its ok to cheat and people should a bit of morals and self pride. To answer your question, I don`t blame Hil, I blame Bill Clinton.
    ---------------

    No, smith. Don't start playing games. If she (or any other spouse) has issues with a cheating spouse, (your words, not mine) you start to fault the victim (in this case the non-cheater living with the cheater).

    Neither you nor I can dictate what goes on (or should go on) in folks' marriages. God forbid anyone digs deep into mine, or my neighbors. Quite simply it is not my affair or business what happens in another's marriage. I have enough to do trying to keep my own going strong after all these years. That is all I'm saying. Where I draw the line is when the public lies and cover up begins. People want to screw one another: fine. At least be honest about it when the truth comes out and don't drag God ... blessed forgiveness ... pandering ... BS into play.

    Apparently going by Fair's trivia for the day ... 23 states are doing just that legally. Sticking their legal noses in marriages where sniffing noses don't belong.

    May 13, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  15. mcfx

    "Rove hints Clinton has brain damage" ????
    Talk about corrupt liberal journalism. First, Rove never used the term "brain damage" he used "brain injury" which are medically two different things. Second, CNN uses the name "Clinton" so as not to tarnish the name "Hillary" while still tarnishing Rove's name. Nice!

    May 13, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  16. Chuck

    Lighten up people hahaha

    May 13, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  17. Stephen Colbert

    But does Ham Rove agree?

    May 13, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  18. BobN

    So, at the time of Benghazi, Hillary was faking injury, but now she had brain damage. Just which story is it Carl ?

    May 13, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. dave

    She couldn't even win the DNC nomination in 2008. What has she actually done in the past 6 years to make anyone here think she has a better chance of winning the DNC nomination this time than where she was in 2006?

    May 13, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  20. wayne

    karl rove is nothing less than disgusting.

    May 13, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. Michael Cliff

    Why is it when conservatives or Republicans make a comment on progressives or liberals they are demonized now in the media? Is this healthy for a democracy which I believe we still are? Both sides need to tone down these vicious attacks and get back to the basics of taking on responsibility for their own actions and get work done. God knows, there is a lot of it that needs to be done in this political environment!! Oh, excuse me....I probably shouldn't have put God in this post...I'll get attacked like the plaque...our country is going down the tubes fast!!!!

    May 13, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. Bob

    Raise you hand if you think Rove has both a brain injury and soul injury.

    May 13, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  23. RL

    why does anyone pay attention to this political has been. he needs to go away with Sarah Palin

    May 13, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    No, I did not bring the bible into the conversation. Someone else did, to make the argument that Hillary should have divorced Bill. I simply pointed out that the Catholic Church does not sanction divorce.
    --------
    The Catholic Church???? Why did you feel it necessary to bring the Catholic Church into the discussion? Neither Bill nor Hillary are Catholic.

    May 13, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  25. bob

    "Rove defended his comments Tuesday morning on the Fox News Channel"

    Of course, since everyone knows that Fox News is the poster child network for inaccuracy, recreating truth, and mediocrity. Rove should just lie down. He is as relevant as Sarah Palin is articulate.

    May 13, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
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