Republican strategist Karl Rove implied at a conference last week that Hillary Clinton may have suffered brain damage in a December 2012 fall.

Karl Rove's Comments About Hillary Suggest 2016 Will Be Nasty

Republican strategist raises questions about former first lady's health.

Republican strategist Karl Rove implied at a conference last week that Hillary Clinton may have suffered brain damage in a December 2012 fall.

Republican strategist Karl Rove implied at a conference last week that Hillary Clinton may have suffered brain damage in a December 2012 fall.

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Hillary Clinton's age and health are potential issues that will be closely examined if she runs for president in 2016. This became clear when Republican strategist Karl Rove made an explosive claim about her medical condition, prompting a political firestorm that continues to grow.


Rove, the former chief political strategist for President George W. Bush, suggested that Clinton may have sustained brain damage in a fall she suffered in December 2012. Clinton's aides say this claim is false. It appears to be an attempt to damage the former secretary of state as she considers whether to run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. In effect, it seemed to be an effort to throw a grenade into her nascent campaign by raising doubts about her.

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Former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday he was stunned by Rove's accusation about his wife. "There's nothing to it," he said at a public forum in Washington. "I was sort of dumbfounded...First they said she faked her concussion, and now they say she is auditioning for a part on 'The Walking Dead.'"

Clinton added: "Look, she works out every week. She is strong. She's doing great. As far as I can tell, she's in better shape than I am. She certainly seems to have more stamina now."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., told the Washington Post, "It's a terrible thing for Karl to do. It's petty. It's personal. It's negative. It eats up time and space with things that make no difference....We are never going to beat her with this kind of stuff."


At the time of her fall, Hillary Clinton's doctors said she was severely dehydrated because of an intestinal infection and fainted, suffering a concussion and a blood clot.

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If Hillary Clinton runs in 2016, she would be among the oldest major-party candidates to seek the presidency. If she wins, she would be 69 when she took office, slightly younger than Ronald Reagan when he assumed the presidency in 1981.


Rove's comments showed that her health and stamina are likely to be issues if she gets into the race, and that Rove and other Republican operatives are intent on inserting them prominently into the contest.