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Saturday, December 3, 2016

For a professional strategist, Karl Rove doesn’t seem to be particularly strategic.

During a public conference with former Obama administration press secretary Robert Gibbs and CBS correspondent Dan Raviv, Rove made a series of baseless and fallacious allegations about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Rove suggested that she suffered a “traumatic brain injury” and that voters “need to know what’s up with that.” In reality, we just need to know what’s up with Karl Rove and his inability to do his research.

In December 2012, Clinton suffered a concussion after fainting and striking her head. During a checkup visit two weeks after the episode, a brain scan revealed a blood clot that could have been dangerous had it not been discovered and treated, as it was during Clinton’s three-day stay in a hospital.

But this is not Rove’s version of the events. According to the former senior advisor to the Bush administration, Republicans still have not reached the bottom of the Benghazi “scandal,” particularly considering Clinton’s health scare that delayed her Senate hearing on the attacks. Said Rove:

Thirty days in the hospital? 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.”

If Rove had bothered to do his homework on Clinton’s 2012 health issues, he would have discovered that his report of the length of her hospital stay was 10 times its actual duration. He also might have realized that the glasses were worn to treat the double vision that resulted from her fall. Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill responded to Rove’s claims indignantly, saying, “Karl Rove has deceived the country for years, but there are no words for this level of lying. She is 100 percent. Period.”

On Tuesday morning, Rove defended his comments on Fox Newssaying he “never used” the phrase “traumatic brain injury.” When pressed about his faulty timeline, Rove insisted that even though Clinton’s hospital stay only lasted three days, there was “a 30-day period where she [was] fighting something.”

After his comments were made public, Democrats and other Clinton supporters were quick to blast Rove, and his attempts to question her ability to run in 2016 may have backfired. As Politico’s Katie Glueck notes, Clinton “tends to be viewed more favorably when she is perceived as being under unfair assault, causing the Democratic base to rally around her.” 

Rove also seems to be forgetting his own party’s tendency to run rather “senior” candidates for office. John McCain was 72 when he faced President Obama in 2008, and had battled melanoma for several years. Dick Cheney’s heart problems have been a consistent issue since he suffered his first heart attack at age 37. And although Clinton’s medical history is sure to come into question in 2016, creating nonexistent health issues in order to cast doubt on her capacity to serve as the president is low even for Karl Rove.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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