Reince Priebus on Hillary Clinton: "I think health and age are fair game"

The RNC head implies that Karl Rove's comments about Clinton suffering brain damage were fair

Prachi Gupta
May 18, 2014 10:52PM (UTC)

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and even political pundits on Fox News have criticized Karl Rove for for his recent comments about Hillary Clinton's health, but on Sunday, Republican National Committee chair Reince Preibus said that Rove's line of questioning was fair.

Last week, Rove suggested that Hillary Clinton suffered brain damage in 2012 and therefore may be unfit to run for presidential candidacy in 2016. The insinuation prompted Gingrich to come to Clinton's defense, telling the Huffington Post via Facebook that "I have many policy disagreements with Hillary but this kind of personal charge is exactly whats 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."


When "Meet the Press" host David Gregory asked Preibus whether Rove's comment was "out of line" or not, Priebus said, "I think that health and age is fair game."

Gregory tried to pin down a response to his specific question, asking, "In this case its [Rove's comment], 'Her brain may not work right and she's hiding something about it.' Was that over the line?"

Preibus deflected yet again, speaking only in broad terms, saying, "Look, I don't think there's a graceful way to bring up age, health and fitness for a candidate that wants to be president of the United States."


Gregory tried twice more to get a straight response -- to no avail:

Gregory: But Karl Rove doesn't do things by accident. What he injected was an attack into the firmament of the Republican grassroots. You're head of the party: Would you like to side step away from this, or would you like to double down?

Preibus: No--listen, it's not a matter of side-step or double down. It's going to be an issue, it's going to come up. David, we're going to be at this point at some time if Hillary Clinton runs for president. I mean, the issue of her health and her age is going to come up--

Gregory: Do you think that she suffered some sort of brain injury that raises legitimate questions about whether she’s healthy to serve as commander in chief?"

Preibus: I’m not a doctor. What I do know is that the issue is going to come up as it does for any person running for president. What I think is going to make her rethink whether she should actually run for president -- by the way, I don’t actually think she will if she has another month like she just had – but the issues that I talked about are going to be the issues that I talked about are going to be the issues that make her unacceptable to the American people.

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Brain Damage Gop Health Hillary Clinton Karl Rove Meet The Press Newt Gingrich Reince Priebus Video

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