Yesterday, the New York Post reported that Karl Rove suggested Hillary Clinton suffered brain damage as the result of her 2012 concussion and blood clot. Today, after a backlash, Rove got seven minutes of almost uninterrupted airtime on Fox News to both deny that he ever said it – and advance the baseless suggestion at the same time.
From the New York Post:
(Rove) said if Clinton runs for president, voters must be told what happened when she suffered a fall in December 2012.
The official diagnosis was a blood clot. Rove told the conference near LA Thursday, “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.”
Rove repeated the claim a number of times to the audience. Clinton’s rep said, “Please assure Dr. Rove she’s 100 percent.”
Today, on America’s Newsroom, Rove got a dose of Republican Rehab that just so happened to also afford him an opportunity to reiterate his attack. FoxNews.com did its part for the cause by calling its video, “Rove responds to criticism over comments on Clinton’s health: Former Bush adviser raises questions over Hillary’s health history.”
Here’s how Rove both exonerated himself and re-raised the baseless suggestion - albeit couched in a “just saying” attitude:
Wait a minute. No, no, I didn’t say she had brain damage. She had a serious health episode. …My point was that Hillary Clinton wants to run for president but she would not be human if this didn’t enter in as a consideration. And my other point is, this will be an issue in the 2016 race whether she likes it or not. Every presidential candidate is asked for all of their health records by the New York Times. …They turn them over to a battery of doctors and they examine ‘em in detail.
And my point was that everybody says she’s gonna run and she probably is. But I would bet it’s a more complicated calculation than we might think because, look, she’ll be 69 by the time (of) the 2016 election. She will be 77 if she serves two terms. And this ends up being an issue. …This happens every presidential campaign.
Host Bill Hemmer interrupted - not to call out Rove on his tactics but to suggest the Post got it wrong. “As far as I know, nothing was recorded that night. Do you know otherwise?” Hemmer asked Rove.
No, Rove didn’t know, he said. Then he ran through his shtick all over again.
I never used that phrase. But look, she had a serious episode, a serious health episode. And I don’t know about you but if you go through a serious health episode, it causes you to look at life a little bit differently. I mean, this was a serious deal. …We don’t know what the doctors said about what does she have to be concerned about, we don’t know about what – she’s hidden a lot.
…When you go through a health incident likes this – any presidential candidate… has to ask themself, ‘Am I willing to do this for eight years of my life’ …run for two years and then serve for eight – and particularly when – you know, it’s a natural thing to say, ‘I’m 69 years old.’”
Hemmer interrupted again. He neither pointed out that Rove had offered nothing to suggest there really is anything to be concerned about nor asked why Rove didn’t just let the New York Times do its investigation and see what’s uncovered then. Instead, Hemmer fed Rove an opening to defend himself - and feigned balance at the same time. Hemmer said, “The left is already hittin’ you with the following line: ‘Karl Rove is desperate for a good candidate. Right now, he doesn’t have one.’”
Which gave Rove an opportunity to play the role of a truth-telling victim:
Look, I am the bete noir for the Democrats. I am the gift that keeps on giving to them. …So I am confident that any time I make a statement that the Democrats are going to turn it into a fire. But the fact of the matter is, is that two things. One is, have ‘em stand up and say no, she’s not gonna be concerned at all about her health. And this is not gonna be part of her calculation – and they won’t be telling the truth. And second of all, get ready. The New York Times is gonna be asking a lot of tough questions of every candidate’s health. They always do and it’s gonna be an issue.
I wonder how many more times Rove will have the chance to “explain himself” on Fox.
Watch the sleight of hand in the video below.
On the one hand, you have some commentators criticizing Rove’s “strategy”, saying that it exposes a real issue but perhaps may also change the debate away from all the other “scandals” the right would prefer to foment.
On the other hand, you have some commentators like Hannity and Bolling who are openly applauding Rove. Bolling went so far as to call him a “genius” and “brilliant” for this incredible approach.
Never mind the fact that Rove’s comments were way off base – she wasn’t in the hospital for “30 days”, she wore glasses consistent with what people wear for a few days after a concussion, and of course, she was accused of having faked the whole thing at the time to avoid testifying about Benghazi.
Even if you take out the whole issue of Rove’s fact inadequacy, that still leaves the simple question of why he would do it. Why would Rove make this kind of statement, much less double down on it when challenged?
The simple answer was out of anger and mean-spiritedness. Rove has never been a friend of the Clintons, and he just couldn’t resist taking a cheap shot when the opportunity presented itself. He can explain it all he wants in the most reasoned tones, but there’s no careful thinking behind this. He did it because he dislikes Hillary Clinton and he resents the fact that she may well become President in his lifetime. All the rest is just dancing around the truth.
And the defense of Dr. Rove’s comments continued today on F&F – but now they are adding a deliberate distortion of an Obama remark (from 2008) as a part of their tale. At the top of each hour this morning, Doocy, Hasselbeck and Kilmeade were desperately trying to wrangle Rove out of trouble. It was a pitiful display of deceit and spin.
Of course, none of us are suprised that F&F would go into this defensive mode. And, as part of their planned deception, they didn’t even bother to tell the folks that Rove DID indeed suggest that Clinton might have some kind of brain damage when he said that “she’s wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury.”
Yeah, that’s right – F&F are discussing this story at the top of each hour without even reiterating Rove’s exact, original comments (which were the impetus for his current woes) for their viewers. So much for “we report, you decide”. Instead the folks are treated to a video of Rove on Hemmer’s show (yesterday) denying his comment about possible brain injury.
Rove’s original comments here – http://www.newshounds.us/fox_helps_karl_rove_promote_brain_damage_conspiracy_theory_about_hillary_clinton_s_health_and_pretend_otherwise_05132014
So how does F&F actually try to refute the backlash that Rove is receiving? First they downplay it by quipping that Rove was simply saying that the folks need to know about Hillary’s health if she plans to run for President. Okay, fair enough – the health of Presidential candidates is a legitimate concern for voters. But, Rove did far more than that and he, F&F and his other conservative defenders just won’t admit it.
Their second tactic was to scream hypocrisy by saying that the Dems have made an issue of GOP candidates’ health too. They played a clip of Hume saying that, back in 1984, ABC reporter, Richard Threlkeld, raised questions about Reagan’s health with regards to mental acuity.
And, just to stick it to Obama (as they do every chance they get), they played a clip to which Doocy slyly implied – but without actually saying so – that Obama took a shot at McCain’s age because Obama said that “McCain lost his bearings” in an interview on CNN.
This is the portion (edited by someone at F&F) of the Obama comment that was aired – the portion that they wanted their viewers to think was about McCain’s age…
Obama: “So for him to toss out comments like that I think is an example of him losing his bearings as he pursues this nomination.”
“A little hypocrisy check-up there,” snarked Hasselbeck.
Then, in the 2nd hour of the show, Hasselbeck said, “Remember when President Obama was saying that McCain had lost his bearing because he was too old?” She had dropped any attempt to be sly about their distortion of Obama’s remark. And, in the 3rd hour she continued the falsehood by saying that, “President Obama actually, kinda, took a shot at John McCain saying he was losing his bearings because he was getting older in fact.” Doocy added, “Okay, so where was the press attacking then Senator Obama for suggesting that John McCain was off his rocker?” Yeah, by the time the 3rd hour had rolled around, Doocy was more than happy to be up front with their the charge of ageism.
But, of course (once again) their dishonesty kept them from telling the viewers what Obama’s remark was really about — the fact that McCain said he was not going to run a negative campaign but chose to do that anyway by saying that Obama is the terrorists’ choice for President. Obama’s comment was about how McCain “lost his bearings” with regards to his pledge of no negative campaigning. Obama’s campaign even put put a statement saying that “losing his bearings had no relation to age” but rather was about how McCain is not running the kind of campaign that he promised he would.
Guess it would just require too much “fair & balanced” for F&F to actually provide the context of Obama’s comment or his campaign’s response when accused of ageism, hmm? Nah, the viewers don’t need to know the pertinent facts and context (as it would only get in the way of F&F’s reckless, bogus spin).
Obama’s 2008 comment in whole and with context…
“This is offensive, and I think it’s disappointing,” Obama told Blitzer, when asked his thoughts about McCain’s comments that the terrorist organization Hamas wants Obama to be president. “Because John McCain always says ‘I am not going to run that kind of politics,’ and to engage in that kind of smear is unfortunate, particularly because my policy toward Hamas has been no different than his.
“I’ve said it’s a terrorist organization and we should not negotiate with them unless they recognize Israel, renounce violence, and unless they are willing to abide by previous accords between the Palestinians and the Israelis. So for him to toss out comments like that I think is an example of him losing his bearings as he pursues this nomination. We don’t need name calling in this debate.”
We hate to bring back bad memories for Karl, but his super pac was a loser.
Speaking of health, old Karl didn’t look well in this priceless video. Here’s a man on a verge of a meltdown.
Remind the masses of Karl’s political failures and meltdown in the last election through all social media.
NOTE TO KARL
If we were political candidates we would want to see YOUR medical records, including mental health.
What is all this GOPiggie concern about brain-damaged Presidents? Saint Ronnie Raygun had early Alzheimers during most of his second term. George Dumbya Bush’s alcoholic binges destroyed most of his brain cells before he took office.
As for Hemmer— he’s always been a lightweight with only a pretty face and an earnest manner to recommend him. No surprise he happily allowed himself to be sucked into FoxWorld.
And with regards to TurdBlossom, I need a Dramamine just to deal with the motion-sickness caused by his deceptive spinning.
Btw, congrats to Bill Hemmer – he’s become an extraordinary right-wing tool.
This is very, very reminiscent of the crap he pulled on McCain back in the 2000 primaries. Remember that whisper campaign that turned into an explicit roar that McCain was psychologically unbalanced because of his POW experience in Hanoi?
Nobody’s going to buy this crap and Rove is only helping with the continuing discrediting of the Republican Party and all its hangers-on. With McCain, there are some temperament issues that made the suggestion not entirely implausible, but what peculiar things has Hillary done or said that could possibly point to brain damage— er, sorry, brain “injury”?
I guess they’re also hedging their bets that if she does run (I think she will) these attacks will make a dent in her lead in many of the key swing states since not one of the possible Republican candidates show any hope of defeating her in every poll. I know two years is long way out, but I would love to see a ticket of Hillary and Elizabeth Warren.