Keep Talking, Karl Rove

By Connie Schultz

May 14, 2014 5 min read

This week, Karl Rove decided to attack Hillary Clinton's brain capacity.

That is so going to work for him. Especially with women.

By the way, am I the only one weirded out by how much Rove seems to know about Hillary's minute-by-minute schedule in December 2012? Sounds to me as if someone's got himself a big crush going, but let's shiver and move on.

Out of the blue this week, Rove made big news by conjuring up a make-believe disability for Clinton and then denied doing it while hunkering down on his claim.

In December 2012, Clinton spent three days in a hospital. Her doctors said she had become dehydrated with an intestinal infection and fainted. She was hospitalized for a concussion and subsequent blood clot.

Rove brought this up, sort of, during a panel discussion earlier this week.

"Thirty days in the hospital?" Rove reportedly said, in which he was off by only 27 days. "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."

Cue the New York Post headline that launched a thousand email alerts: "Karl Rove: Hillary may have brain damage."

Even fellow Republican Newt Gingrich got on him for that one.

"I am totally opposed and deeply offended by Karl Rove's comments about Secretary Clinton," he told The Huffington Post. "I have many policy disagreements with Hillary but this kind of personal charge is exactly what's wrong with American politics. He should apologize and stop discussing her health. I was angry when people did this to Reagan in 1980 and I am angry when they do it to her today."

Rove went on Fox News — it just about kills me to type those two words together — to insist that, unh-uh, he never said Hillary had brain damage.

"I never used that phr— I never, no, I never used that phrase. I never used that phrase."

He continued.

"But look," he said, "she had 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."

A few more ramblings and he was back to offering a day-by-day account of Hillary's life.

I'm sorry, but this boy's got it bad.

We Ohioans remember all too well double-down Karl. His famous (to us) Fox meltdown lit up computer screens for weeks in the Buckeye State.

On election night in November 2012 — in a moment of "excellent awkwardness," to quote The Washington Post's Erik Wemple — Rove contested his own network's projections after Fox News Channel declared that Barack Obama had won Ohio and the presidency.

No, no, no, Rove shrieked. It's too "early." Too "premature." Anchorwoman Megyn Kelly finally marched over to the network's number crunchers to confirm what only Rove wouldn't accept.

If Clinton decides to run for president, we will be talking a lot about her age, as she will be 69 by Election Day. Even if she doesn't run, we'll probably still be talking about her age because she had the temerity not to become invisible at age 50. Does she not read any women's magazines?

As The Washington Post's Karen Tumulty pointed out this week, Clinton has not shied away from her age.

"As men and women age, men are tired of the race," she said in a recent speech. "I mean, they've been running it since their late teens; they're exhausted. All they want to do is take a deep breath. They want to retire; they want to play golf; they want to just enjoy life. And women are raring to go because they feel like they've fulfilled their responsibilities; their kids are now on their own. It's now time for them to show what they can do."

"I never used that phr— I never, no," Rove said this week. "I never used that phrase. I never used that phrase."

Take a deep breath, Karl.

Go play some golf.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and an essayist for Parade magazine. She is the author of two books, including "...and His Lovely Wife," which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. To find out more about Connie Schultz ([email protected]) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

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