Karl Rove continued on Wednesday to defend the remarks he made about Hillary Clinton’s medical issues even as he played down her “traumatic brain episode” as a “minor” issue for a potential 2016 campaign.
The Republican strategist caused a stir when the New York Post reported over the weekend that Rove suggested the former secretary of state suffered a “traumatic brain injury.” That reported comment was widely mocked and dismissed by Democrats, including White House spokesman Jay Carney, former President Bill Clinton and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
“Now, is this going to be the issue of the 2016 presidential campaign if she runs?” Rove told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “No, it’s going to be a minor thing.”
Still, Rove said that Clinton will need to be more forthcoming about her health records if she launches a presidential bid. He cited former Vice President Dick Cheney, whose doctors gave a press conference after he had a defibrillator put into his heart in 2001, as an example. He also said the New York Times had ripped Bill Clinton in a 1996 editorial for being the “least cooperative” presidential candidate in releasing his health records.
A Clinton spokesman had responded to Rove’s reported “brain injury” comment by assuring that the former secretary of state was at “100 percent.”
“Karl Rove has deceived the country for years, but there are no words for this level of lying,” the spokesman told the New York Post.
Hannity did point out to Rove that Clinton spent just 4 days in the hospital in 2012 for treatment of a blood clot, not 30 days as Rove said in his reported remarks.
So Rove gave a lengthy explanation of how he came up with that 30-day figure. He began with the former secretary of state’s last public appearance on Dec. 7, 2012 after she came down with a virus in Europe, then traced her health complications resulting from a fall through the end of that month. He ended with Clinton’s reappearance at the State Department on Jan. 7, 2013.
“Now, do I think she has brain damage? No, I think she had a traumatic brain episode,” Rove equivocated. “You know, she had a concussion and a blood clot. That’s serious.”
Watch below, courtesy of Fox News:
This post has been updated.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.