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Bill Clinton: Rove’s comment is a reminder that ‘consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds’

Former president Bill Clinton on Wednesday mocked Karl Rove for suggesting that his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, may have brain damage, saying it’s just the first of the many ridiculous statements that Republicans are likely to hurl at his wife.

Asked about the comment by the former George W. Bush adviser, Clinton, attending an economic policy event in Washington, said his wife is in top shape.

“She works out every week. She is strong. She’s doing great. As far as I can tell, she’s in better shape than I am. She certainly seems to have more stamina,” Clinton said. “If she does [have brain damage], then I must be in really tough shape because she’s still quicker than I am.”

The former president said Rove’s suggestion was a reminder that “consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

Clinton said that when his wife took a hard fall in December 2012, necessitating a lengthy hospital stay, Republicans claimed “she faked her concussion.” But now, “they say she’s auditioning for a part on 'The Walking Dead,'” referring to the popular television show about zombies.

“Whatever it takes,” Clinton mused about GOP tactics. “I was sort of dumbfounded.”

The former president said it wasn't the first ludicrous attack, nor would it be the last.

“It’s just the beginning, and they’ll get better at it,” he said. “I’m still waiting for them to admit there was nothing to Whitewater,” a subject of major controversy when Clinton was running for president in 1992.

“It’s just part of the deal,” he said.

An item in New York Post’s “Page Six” column on Monday reported on comments Rove made about the possible 2016 presidential candidate during a conference in Los Angeles last week. “Thirty days in the hospital?” he reportedly said. “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.”

On Monday, Rove said he didn’t mean to suggest the former first lady, senator and secretary of state actually had brain damage.

"Of course she doesn't have brain damage," Rove told The Washington Post.

Zachary A. Goldfarb is policy editor at The Washington Post.

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