Karl RoveKarl Christian RoveKarl Rove says Trump is 'behind' in presidential race Karl Rove: The days of 'lock 'em up and throw away the key' are long gone Longtime GOP Rep. Steve King defeated in Iowa primary MORE on Tuesday defended comments from a day earlier in which he said Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCarville repeats prediction that Trump will drop out of race What's behind Trump's slump? Americans are exhausted, for one thing Trump campaign reserves air time in New Mexico MORE had behaved like someone with a "traumatic brain injury."

“I didn’t say she had brain damage,” Rove said on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom.” “I never used that phrase.”

The Republican strategist, asked about his comments published in the New York Post late Monday, said Clinton's health would be a factor in whether she runs for president.

“This will be an issue in the 2016 race whether she likes it or not,” he said.


“When you go through a health incident like this, any presidential candidate has to ask themselves, ‘Am I willing to do this for eight years of my life?’ ” Rove asked.

In December 2012, Clinton fell in her Washington home, hit her head and was diagnosed with a concussion after suffering from a stomach virus. Doctors at the time said a blood clot had formed behind her right ear between her skull and brain.

“She’s hidden a lot of this,” said Rove, referring to Clinton’s health. The former secretary of State went through “a serious health episode.”

Clinton's office said Rove and the political right have sought to politicize the accident, and that it was time for them to move on "to their next desparate attack."

"First they accused her of faking it, now they’ve resorted to the other extreme – and are flat out lying," the statement from Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said. "Even this morning, Karl Rove is still all over the map and is continuing to get the facts wrong. But he doesn’t care, because all he wants to do is inject the issue into the echo chamber, and he's succeeding. It’s flagrant and thinly veiled. They are scared of what she has achieved and what she has to offer. What he’s doing is its own form of sickness. But she is 100%, period."

The Post reported Rove’s comments late Monday from an event near Los Angeles on Thursday.

“Thirty days in the hospital? 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,” Rove said Monday, alluding to Clinton's fall. 

Clinton will be 69 years old at the time of the 2016 election.

This story was updated at 4:56 p.m.