Hillary Clinton waits to speak at the World Bank in Washington, DC, May 14, 2014.
Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty

The GOP’s obsession with Hillary Clinton grows

Updated

First “brain damage,” now “failure to report for duty?” 

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Sunday said Hillary Clinton should be “disqualified” from running for president because she declined to appear on five Sunday news shows days after the deadly 2012 attack at the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

Then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice went on the shows in her place, explaining that Clinton was too exhausted to make an appearance after a “grueling” week.

“One of two things was true: Either Hillary Clinton had a grueling week and was tired and failed to report for duty, and therefore I don’t know how she can be president of the United States,” Priebus said on Fox News Sunday. “Or second, Susan Rice was lying and, in fact, Hillary Clinton wasn’t tired and that’s not the reason she didn’t report for duty.”

“If she’s even thinking of running for president, I think she has been disqualified because of her actions here,” Priebus stated.

Up With Steve Kornacki, 5/31/14, 11:09 AM ET

Hillary defends Benghazi response in book

In a leaked chapter in her upcoming book, former Secretary of State’s Hillary Clinton is firing back at critics on how she handled the attack in Benghazi.
The RNC chairman also claimed that a chapter on Benghazi, and its alleged politicization by Republicans, in Clinton’s new book “Hard Choices” – obtained by Politico – was a blatant attempt to halt the current criticism.

“How did this chapter get leaked to the newspaper? It got leaked because their people are trying to stop any more criticism that she’s been receiving on Benghazi,” Priebus said on Fox. “Hillary Clinton is politics 24/7. This is no different.”

Republicans launched a special investigative committee led by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) to look into the deadly attacks, expected to stretch on until at least the 2014 midterm elections. Five Democratic members will also serve on the select committee.

The GOP’s renewed focus on Benghazi as a politically motivated move isn’t the only angle the party is using to put Clinton back in the spotlight ahead of her expected 2016 bid. At a conference earlier this month, Republican strategist Karl Rove noted Clinton’s health after she was hospitalized in December 2012 for a blood clot, according to The New York Post.

“Thirty days in the hospital?” Rove reportedly told the conference, according to the Post. “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 later denied the report that he said Hillary Clinton may have suffered brain damage, claiming he “never used that phrase.”

“I didn’t say she had brain damage; she had a serious health episode,” he said on Fox News, insisting that her health is an important issue to raise regardless ahead of the looming 2016 presidential elections.

In fact, Clinton’s health scare hospitalized her for three days – not 30, as Rove reportedly suggested. The incident occurred after Clinton was recuperating from a fall and concussion, forcing the former secretary of state to push back her scheduled congressional testimony over Benghazi.

Benghazi, Hillary Clinton, Karl Rove and Reince Priebus

The GOP's obsession with Hillary Clinton grows

Updated