It was bad enough that Republican Party analyst Karl Rove chose on Sunday to double down on his controversial theories and ominous warnings about former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s medical condition.
He said on Fox News Sunday that he had no regrets about strongly suggesting at a recent political conference that Clinton had suffered traumatic brain injury after she fell and developed a brain clot in late 2012.
While insisting that he never used the words “brain damage” in discussing Clinton’s condition, Rove said his comments were fair in discussing a potential 2016 president candidate – especially one with as much support and clout as Clinton.
Despite mounting evidence that the former First Lady would seek the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, Rove couldn’t resist venturing a prediction that Clinton probably would not run again because of her age and questions about her health.
“My brain says she’s running,” Rove said. “My gut says, ‘You know what? This [medical issue] is far more serious’” than many currently realize.
“I’m not questioning her health,” Rove said. “What I’m questioning is whether or not it’s a done deal if she’s running . . . And she would not be human if she did not take this into consideration. She’ll be 69 at the time of the 2016 election. If she gets elected and serves two terms, she’ll be 77.”
Chris Wallace, the host of Fox News Sunday, promptly joked about the condition of Rove’s own brain. That may be appropriate in light of Rove’s long string of mostly dubious or flat-out wrong political forecasts.
It was Rove, after all, who embarrassed himself on national television on Election Night 2012 by insisting that the networks had been “premature” in declaring President Obama the winner of a second term and arguing that there was still time for Republican Mitt Romney to pull out a victory in Ohio.
Rove’s desperate forecast that night was understandable because his two high-flying political organizations, American Crossroads and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, had backed Romney with $127 million worth of TV ads, according to Bloomberg. And down ballot, 10 of the 12 Senate candidates and four of the nine House candidates backed by Crossroads went down to defeat.
Rove’s comments on Clinton’s health problems – first reported last week by The New York Post – have kicked up a political dust storm and drawn sharp rejoinders from Democrats as well as some Republicans – including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) took direct aim at Rove - former President George W. Bush’s one-time political guru - for making an issue of Clinton’s medical problems before the former First Lady had even entered the race.
"We all know what this is," McCaskill said on NBC's Meet the Press. "It's a cheap political shot. It's the kind of politics that make people not want to participate, and it's too bad."
When Rove was asked by Wallace whether he had any doubts about Clinton’s physical ability to run for president, Rove responded: “No, no, no, no. I don’t. I don’t. But I do think that it would not be human if you’re sitting there to say, ‘I’ve had a serious brain injury.’”
Rove noted that former President Bill Clinton had described his wife’s accident last week at a fiscal summit in Washington as a “terrible concussion that required six months of serious work to get over.”
He also ruefully pointed out that Bill Clinton and his campaign aides had “savaged” Bob Dole, his 1996 Republican presidential opponent, with nasty comments about his age and condition.
“I like being lectured by Bill Clinton saying this is off limits," Rove said.
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