Hillary Clinton Absent From White House Summit On Concussions
Posted 05/29/2014 06:35 PM ET
Valid Questions: After Bill Clinton contradicted State Department claims about Hillary's health with news of a six-month rehab, her fitness should be as much of an issue as Sarah Palin's baby and John McCain's age.
Karl Rove has taken a lot of heat for raising the issue of age and mental condition of a secretary of state who disappeared from public view as the Benghazi controversy arose. The questions are similar to those asked about President Reagan after his first debate with Vice President Walter Mondale, and those asked about Sen. John McCain and his prisoner of war experiences. So why is Hillary Clinton being treated differently?
During the week of Dec. 9, 2012, Secretary of State Clinton is said to have fainted at home, hitting her head as she fell. Clinton was diagnosed with a concussion, the New York Times reported on Dec. 13, with a State Department official saying the concussion "was not severe."
On Dec. 15, State Department spokesman Philippe Reines released this statement on the concussion:
"While suffering from a stomach virus, Secretary Clinton became dehydrated and fainted, sustaining a concussion. She has been recovering at home and will continue to be monitored regularly by her doctors."
On Jan. 3, 2013, Clinton is released from the hospital and returns to work where she is presented with a football helmet by State Department staff. Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland explains that "the secretary is going to be wearing the glasses instead of her contacts for some period of time because of lingering issues that stemmed from her concussion."
After that, the administration took the usual "nothing to see here, so let's move on" position.
Then on May 14, while defending his wife from Rove's remarks on whether this was more than a head bump, Bill Clinton revealed that his wife's injury "required six months of very serious work to get over." This contradicted news and State Department accounts. The question is why this was not revealed earlier.
Concussions are serious events, sometimes deadly serious, so much so that the White House convened a summit Thursday highlighting the long-term risk of concussions from youth sports. It is a weighty issue at the professional level, as well, with some players suffering long-term complications that have led to a string of suicides.
In an interview with the New Republic last year, President Obama expressed concerns with whether the institutional protections of the NCAA and other youth athletic associations were insufficient in addressing the lingering effects of physical injuries, particularly head trauma. He said he "would have to think long and hard" about letting his son play football if he had one.
A Washington Post poll suggests the public isn't enamored with discussing Clinton's injury, but it is unclear whether it's because of the issue or because of who raised it. Yet media squeamishness was absent in May 2008 when Salon demanded to see John McCain's psychiatric records, "which hold clues to the effect of his Vietnam captivity."
Palin recently and rightly mocked Democrats for crying foul over the suggestion that Hillary might have suffered a "traumatic brain injury" while there was no outcry over the conspiracy theories fostered by the left that implied she wasn't the real mother of her youngest son Trig, who has Down Syndrome, when Palin was running for vice president.
"Hey! Hillary's brain is off-limits! Leave her health records alone!" Palin wrote in a Facebook post. "Democrats are right — scouring records of a female candidate is just politics of personal destruction, and for the media to engage in it would be unfair, unethical, and absolutely UNPRECEDENTED. You can't probe a woman like that because, well, it's a war on women!"
So Hillary Clinton's "not severe" concussion resulted in "six months of very serious work to get over." If Palin's baby was not off-limits, why should Hillary's head trauma be?