Posted: Wednesday, 14 May 2014 3:32PM

Clintons Fight Back Against Karl Rove, State Department Critics



Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Speaking at two events taking place during the same hour in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton presented a united front to defend Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy record at the State Department and take aim at Karl Rove for his accusations that the former secretary of state has “brain damage.”

“First, they said she faked her concussion and now they say she is auditioning for her part on The Walking Dead,” Bill Clinton said at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2014 Fiscal Summit.

“You know, whatever it takes,” he added. “Look, she works out every week, she is strong, she is doing great. As far as I can tell, she is in better shape than I am. She certainly seems to have more stamina than me. There is nothing to it. I was sort of dumbfounded.”

He said that it did take his wife “six months” to get over the concussion and that she has always been forthcoming about her condition.

If she has brain damage, he said, “I must be in really tough shape because she is still quicker than I am.”

Bill Clinton’s comments came nearly 48 hours after former Bush adviser Rove wondered whether Hillary Clinton suffered brain damage after a fall in 2012. Rove walked back on that charge Tuesday, but said he believed Hillary Clinton should be more forthcoming on the events surrounding deaths at the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

Hillary Clinton’s team fought back hard against the claim, calling Rove’s accusations “a form of sickness,” and said the GOP is “scared of what she has achieved and what she has to offer.”

Bill Clinton also gave a long defense of his wife’s role in the Benghazi incident on Wednesday, saying that, in his opinion, Hillary Clinton did what she should have done.

During the same hour, Hillary Clinton, speaking blocks away at the American Jewish Committee Global Forum, also defended her foreign policy record at the State Department, speaking directly to the work she did to lay the groundwork for the Iran nuclear negotiations and peace in the Middle East.

Hillary Clinton’s comments come amid criticism from the GOP that her accomplishments as secretary of state were limited. Last month, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked at a press briefing to name one accomplishment during Clinton’s State Department years and came up short.

But in her speech at AJC Wednesday, Hillary Clinton not only spoke directly about her achievements but suggested that the work she did -- including her involvement with the bilateral back-channel to Iran and reinstating the P5+1 -- laid solid ground for work Secretary of State John Kerry is doing today.

Hillary Clinton argued that when she “passed the baton on to Secretary Kerry,” the United States was “well-positioned” to reach an agreement over Iran’s nuclear power. And on Israel, she described the “endless meetings…vigorous discussions…and endless phone calls” she made on behalf of the country.

For Clinton, whose speech previewed what will likely be topics in her forthcoming memoir, Hard Choices, there was one decision at the State Department that was not a hard one.

“One constant that will remain fixed is the partnership and friendship between the U.S. and Israel. That is not a ‘hard choice,’ she said.

Despite her husband’s remarks, however, Hillary Clinton did not mention her health or Rove’s allegations.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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