Rove: Hillary May Have Brain Damage

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton / AP

The New York Post is reporting that Republican strategist Karl Rove is questioning whether Hillary Clinton might have serious brain injuries after suffering from a blood clot in December 2012 after falling in her home. The fall and subsequent hospitalization delayed Mrs. Clinton's appearance in front of Congress for testimony about the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi.

"Thirty days in the hospital?" Rove said, according to the Post. "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 made the comments when he appeared at a conference last week with former Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs and CBS correspondent Dan Raviv.

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill dismissed the accusations. "Karl Rove has deceived the country for years, but there are no words for this level of lying. She is 100 percent. Period."

The glasses in question were the subject of some scrutiny when the former Secretary of State emerged from her post-concussion convalescence wearing the corrective lenses. The NY Daily News concluded that the distinct lenses were prescribed to correct double-vision:

"If she’s wearing a Fresnel prism, then she has double vision without it," said Dr. Mark Fromer, medical director of Fromer Eye Centers.

Dozens of light vertical lines could be seen glinting across Clinton’s left lens in photos taken Wednesday during her dramatic testimony.

Fromer said the press-on prism, which can also be used to treat muscle weakness in the eye, "helps bring images into focus."

A Manhattan eye doctor who refused to give his name agreed that double vision was "the only reason" for Clinton to be wearing the stick-on.

When Clinton gave "60 Minutes" an "exit interview" in January 2013, she explained that she still had "some lingering effects from the concussion that are decreasing and will disappear." She also compared the fall, concussion, and blod clot to severe brain injuries suffered by U.S. troops, "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."

Before the media start condemning Rove for an out-of-bounds line of inquiry for a potential presidential candidate, let's remember that in 2008 there were multitudes of analyses of Sen. John McCain's (R., Ariz.) mental health as a result of his captivity in Vietnam. Salon went so far as to have him diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder:

There are behaviors associated with the candidate that would be consistent with a diagnosis of PTSD. Author Robert Timberg mentions McCain’s intense explosions of anger — a hallmark sign of lingering mental trauma from war — in his book "John McCain: An American Odyssey." Timberg describes the episodes as "an eruption of temper out of all proportion to the provocation." Timberg, who McCain has said "knows more about me than I do," wrote that McCain’s sudden fury is a result of Vietnam coming "back to haunt him." McCain has himself described having an adverse reaction to the sound of jangling keys, which reminds him of his Vietnam jailers. McCain also told doctors that during solitary confinement he had strayed pretty "far out" and had referred to himself as "mentally deteriorating."

If it's too hard for journalists to search for the way McCain was doggedly harangued about his age and mental health six years ago, I've done them the service of doing the research for them. Here's a Google search on "John McCain Mental Health" so you can properly contextualized Rove's simple request for medical records from Clinton's traumatic brain injury.