Republican strategist Karl Rove says Hillary Clinton's health is going to be a issue in 2016.
During a panel discussion in Los Angeles last week, Rove told an audience that if Clinton runs for president, prior health issues — including the blood clot she suffered in 2012 — must be vetted. According to the New York Post, Rove suggested Clinton may have brain damage.
“Thirty days in the hospital? And when she reappears, she’s wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury?" Rove said at the May 8 event, according to the paper. "We need to know what’s up with that.”
A spokesman for Clinton fired back at the former Bush adviser.
“Karl Rove has deceived the country for years, but there are no words for this level of lying,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement to Politico. “She is 100 percent. Period.”
On Fox News Monday, Rove disputed the Post's account.
"I didn't say she had brain damage," Rove said. "My point was, Hillary Clinton wants to run for president, but she would not be human if this didn't enter in as a consideration. ... This will be an issue in the 2016 race whether she likes it or not."
In December 2012, Clinton, who was then secretary of state, sustained a concussion after falling in her Washington, D.C., home. She was later hospitalized for four days in New York City and diagnosed with a blood clot, delaying her from testifying about the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
Some members of the GOP initially suggested that her fall and news of the ensuing blood clot were part of a Benghazi cover-up. Then "whispers swung in a different direction," the Atlantic's Abby Ohlheiser notes, "suggesting that Clinton wasn't recovering as well as her team indicated."
"From the moment this happened 17 months ago, the Right has politicized her health,” the Clinton spokesman wrote in an email to Politico. “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.”
He added: “It’s flagrant and thinly veiled. 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.”
In January 2013, Clinton told "60 Minutes" that the glasses were for "some lingering effects from the concussion that are decreasing and will disappear," including double vision.
"I have a lot of sympathy now when I pick up the paper and read about an athlete or one of our soldiers who's had traumatic brain injury," she said.