Karl Rove sets record straight about Hillary health remarks

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 14, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: His comments about Hillary Clinton's health have caused a monumental uproar on the left. In a moment, Karl Rove will join me with reaction.

But first, let's explain how this all unfolded. Now, on Monday The New York Post ran a story on page six -- now, that's the newspaper's gossip page -- with the headline, "Karl Rove, Hillary may have brain damage." Now, despite the fact that the title was not a direct quote from Karl Rove -- well, the left in typical fashion -- they wasted no time trying to take down "the architect." Let's take a look.


JOHN KING, CNN: So let's start, Robert and Margaret, with shocking, and I'll say I think, reprehensible comments from Karl Rove.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, MSNBC: First of all, I think that's -- may I say I think that's vaguely sexist?

JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW"/COMEDY CENTRAL: Just one quick question before you go there, House M.D.


STEWART: When did you start caring so much about the brain fitness of those who have to hold the Oval Office?


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I got to give him credit. You know, he -- that embodies that old saying that consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Here's what I would say about cognitive capacity, which is that Dr. Rove might have been the last person to recognize in America on election night to recognize and acknowledge that the president had won reelection, including the state of Ohio. So we'll leave it at that.


HANNITY: And there's "Baghdad Bob" himself, probably the only person in America that believes Ben Rhodes' talking points had nothing to do with Benghazi.

Here to set the record straight once and for all, Fox News contributor Karl Rove. Sir, how are you? Welcome back.

KARL ROVE, FMR. BUSH SR. ADVISER, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: Fabulous. Thanks for having me, Sean.

HANNITY: I'm sure it really bothers you when "Baghdad Bob" Carney is criticizing you. I'm sure you're not impacted by it. But why don't we -- why don't we talk about what you were talking about.

ROVE: Being insulted by Jay Carney -- does that make me an honorary member of the White House Correspondents Association and press corps?

HANNITY: Yes, it probably does, actually. I think that's probably true.

ROVE: Yes. Yes.

HANNITY: I read your comments. She wasn't in the hospital 30 days. She was in the hospital four days. She did come out with the glasses that you referenced. Nobody knows for sure what happened here. What was it you did say? What were you communicating?

ROVE: Yes, well, look here -- here's the deal. This -- this is a 30-day-long episode. She returns from the Czech Republic on December 7th of 2012 with a terrible virus. And by Monday, they have postponed a trip abroad. By Tuesday, they've canceled the trip. She's not -- she's -- she's last publicly seen in Belfast on the 7th. By Saturday, they say that sometime that week, she has fallen and hit her head and that she will not be able to testify, that she's going to have to -- her doctors on the 20th of December, one of the Benghazi hearings -- her doctors have told her to stay at home.

On the 30th of December, she goes to the hospital for a routine exam, and they find a blood clot, and they put her into the hospital. Now, they will not until the 31st say what kind of blood clot it is. Her doctors issue a 119-word statement, very short statement, on Monday, saying blood clot behind her right ear, between the skull and the rain. And on Wednesday at 6:30 PM in the evening, she's released. So she's in the hospital for four days.

But it is -- it is from December 7th to January 7th before she shows back up at the State Department. So this is a serious health incident.

So I made two points in my remarks at a conference in California. I said, first of all, this was a serious health incident. And as she thinks about running for president -- I said, I know people say she's running and she's made her decision. But I said, I think it's a more calculated -- a more difficult calculation than that. And if you're going to turn 69 two weeks before the 2016 election and you've had this kind of a serious health incident, and if you get elected, you're going to serve -- you might want to for eight years, you're going to be 77 at the end of it.

I -- I -- you wouldn't be human if you didn't say, you know, I had this incident, it's going to cause me to think about, Do I really want to do this? And my point was this incident, more complicated -- I think it contributes to a more complicated decision whether or not to run.

My second point is, is that, look, every presidential candidate gets asked for their health records. And there's a doctor at The New York Times, for example, named Lawrence Altman (ph), who is the bane of every presidential and vice presidential campaign because they want your records and they want to talk to your doctors.

And my point was, she'll have to deal with this at some point and be more forthcoming. She never let her doctors -- remember, in 2001, Dick Cheney had a fibrillator put into his heart. And at the end of it -- I remember this was, I think, in June of 2001, literally, his three doctors went out and had a news conference until the press was completely exhausted in asking questions.

In this instance, we've only heard from her press spokesman and we've heard from her doctors in the form of a 119-word printed statement. And my point was that they'll have to be ready to deal with this in 2016.

Now, do I think she has brain damage? No, I think she had a traumatic brain episode. You know, she had a concussion and a blood clot. That's serious. But you know, they say that she has been -- that she's completely recovered. I understand that today, President Clinton said that it took her sixth months. That's to be anticipated. This is a serious deal.

But you know, the left's angst on this and all these insults and all these adjectives and verbs -- I want to see if those people throw those same kind of adjectives and verbs at The New York Times and mainstream news organizations that will ask of her, if she becomes a presidential candidate and wins the Democratic nomination, the same thing that they've asked of Republican and Democratic candidates, including her husband, for the last 30 years.

HANNITY: I don't recall that her husband actually made public his records, did he?

ROVE: Well, he did. He -- they got in a kerfluffle (sic). He tried to slow-play it in 1996. He released his records in 2000 -- or excuse me, in 1992, I believe. But in 1996, they tried to only put up part of them. But finally, by October, they had put out everything, I think, and had had conversations. But The New York Times excoriated him in an editorial, saying that he'd been the least cooperative of presidential candidates.

And look, if they're going to do that, fine. Let them say that now. our health records are off -- off -- off-limits, and nobody has a right to do it. But every other presidential candidate since the '70s, I believe, is -- is -- has done this.

Now, is this going to be the issue of the 2016 presidential campaign if she runs? No. It's going to be a minor thing. There are going to be bigger issues that are going to predominate in the campaign. But my point was that she's going to have to do it. Everybody else has to. I know you don't like to do it. I can remember those conversations in 2000 and 2004. But you know, that's just the way that it has to go.

And the mainstream media will demand them and they probably have a right to fully -- to know more fully the health status of American presidents. We've had, you know, a couple of them (INAUDIBLE) you know, we had a president in Cleveland who had a cancer removed from the top of his -- of his jaw in secret. We had one president...

HANNITY: Let me ask you this. No, health issues have come up 50 -- I think it's 50/50 she runs. I'm not as convinced as everybody. And she was supposed to be a shoo-in in 2008. If she doesn't run, we keep hearing about all the Republican options. What are the other Democratic options besides O'Malley, who has expressed interest?

ROVE: Well, they've got a thin bench if she doesn't run. You've got Andrew Cuomo. You probably have, you know, Joe Biden, who's seriously interested in running. But I would suspect that if she decides not to run, that there will be a cavalcade of office holders, some of them maybe even elected this year, who will suddenly throw their hats in the ring. But they don't have a very large bench, and it could be problematic for them if she doesn't run.

HANNITY: All right, Karl Rove, good to see you. Thanks for being with us. It's...

ROVE: You bet. Thank you.

HANNITY: I think it's a badge of honor when "Baghdad Bob" Carney attacks you. I would -- that's how I look at it.

ROVE: Yes, look -- look, you're giving him too much attention. The guy is the least consequential mouthpiece for the White House in 30 years.

HANNITY: That's true.

ROVE: He gives -- he gives -- he gives the title of press secretary a bad name. So don't pay attention to him. Just let him...

HANNITY: All right.

ROVE: ... go out to his news conference each day and insult the press and insult the press and...

HANNITY: Welcome to the club!

ROVE: ... show them what a fool (ph) he is.

HANNITY: Being under fire -- it's a good place to be. That means you're doing your job. Appreciate it, Karl. Thank you.

ROVE: Thank you.

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