Republican strategist Karl Rove said Sunday that the point of his recent remarks about Hillary Rodham Clinton's health was to raise questions about whether a 2016 run for president is guaranteed for the former secretary of state, not to stoke doubts about her fitness to serve.
"I'm not questioning her health," Rove said on "Fox News Sunday." "What I'm questioning is whether or not it's a done deal that she's running. And she would not be human if she did not take this into consideration."
Rove set off a firestorm when remarks he made about Clinton's health were reported by the New York Post's "Page Six" last week under the headline "Karl Rove: Hillary may have brain damage." Rove later told The Washington Post that he does not believe that Clinton suffered "brain damage" from a 2012 head injury. But he stressed that he believed she suffered "a serious health episode" and would "have to be forthcoming" about the details if she runs for president.
Rove said Sunday that he isn't convinced that Clinton will run in 2016.
"People say, 'You know, she's in; this is a done deal.' I'm not so certain," he said.
Democrats defended Clinton against Rove. In an appearance on NBC News's "Meet The Press," Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) accused Rove of taking a "cheap political shot." Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" that Rove's effort to raise Clinton's health as an issue was "pathetic."
Feinstein added of Clinton, "In my view, she's in the prime of her political life."
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus predicted on "Meet The Press" that the issue of Clinton's health and age "is going to come up" if she runs for president.
Speaking on CBS News's "Face The Nation," former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) said Rove's remarks about Clinton's health "just were outrageous."