Karl Rove's Todd Akin Moment

Karl Rove's Todd Akin Moment

After blasting, haranguing, and lambasting Republican candidates like Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin for rhetoric that he deemed counterproductive, Karl Rove did not take his own advice last week when he implied that Hillary Clinton may have brain damage. 

According to the New York Post, Rove told conference attendees in Los Angeles last week, “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 was referring to when Clinton suffered a concussion after a stomach virus caused her to fall and hit her head “right before she was scheduled to testify in December of 2012 about Benghazi, where four Americans were killed in a terrorist attack.” Clinton was formally diagnosed then with “a potentially life-threatening blood clot” as her State Department was reeling after having tried to blame the Benghazi attacks on a YouTube video.

After Rove’s remarks gave cable television and political pundits plenty to talk about, even during a news cycle dominated by Donald Sterling, he immediately walked back his remarks, as candidates he has criticized in the past have done.

“Of course she doesn’t have brain damage,” Rove told the The Washington Post on Tuesday. He also emphasized that Clinton suffered from “a serious health episode” and “didn’t feign illness” before she was scheduled to testify before Congress on the Benghazi scandal. Those who think Hillary Clinton may not run in 2016 have cited her health issues, which Rove said she should seriously consider, as well.

As has been widely reported, Rove has often “advised conservatives to refrain from incendiary rhetoric and character attacks” in meetings with candidates and donors.

After Akin’s comments about “legitimate rape” in 2012, Rove even suggested that Akin should be offed, and his groups pulled their advertising and support from his campaign. It is unclear if Rove’s donors will hold him to the same standard to which he held Akin.

“We should sink Todd Akin,” Rove told fundraisers at the Republican National Convention in 2012. “If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”

Hillary Clinton is most adept at playing the victim and the “war on women” card, and Rove’s unforced error could be a gift that keeps on giving to Democrats who are intent on perpetually accusing Republicans of waging a “war on women.”