Chairman: Clinton's Age, Health 'Fair Game'
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[May 19, 2014]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hillary
Clinton's age and health are valid campaign issues if the 66-year-old
Democrat makes another run for president in 2016, the Republican Party
leader said on Sunday.
Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, was
asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" about Republican strategist Karl
Rove's reported comments that Clinton might have suffered brain
damage from a 2012 blood clot. Priebus refused to distance himself
from Rove's remarks or say he should apologize.
"I think that health and age is fair game," Priebus said. "It was
fair game for Ronald Reagan. It was fair game for John McCain."
Reagan took office in 1981 at age 69; McCain, the Republican
candidate in 2008, was 72 on Election Day that year.
The New York Post reported that Rove made the suggestion at a recent
conference. Rove denied using the phrase, but told Fox News
Clinton's health would be an issue should she run.
Clinton suffered a blood clot in her head in December 2012 after
falling at her home and received several days of treatment at a New
York hospital. The incident raised health concerns for Clinton, who
was a widely traveled secretary of state during President Barack
Obama's first term.
Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, said last week, "There
was nothing to it ... She is strong. She is doing great.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg blasted Rove's comments
as beyond the pale. "I thought his remarks just were outrageous," he
said on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.
Bloomberg called Clinton a "great American" who would make a
"spectacular candidate on the Democratic side."
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"You can't ask somebody to do more than she has done for her
country," said Bloomberg, a long-time Democrat who switched to the
Republican Party when he first ran for mayor. He later dropped his
party affiliation altogether.
Democrats accuse Republicans of politicizing the blood clot as part
of a strategy to discourage Clinton from running.
"They do not want Hillary Clinton," Senator Claire McCaskill told
NBC. "Because they know she is going to ignite a spark of enthusiasm
across this country and she has got the strongest resume for
president of anyone who's run in a very long time."
She called Rove's reported comments, which also drew a swipe last
week from White House spokesman Jay Carney, "a cheap political
(Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Jim Loney, Larry King)
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