Hillary Clinton brushes off questions about age, health

In this file photo, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers remarks during the National Council for Behavioral Health's Annual Conference at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center May 6, 2014, in National Harbor, Maryland. Patrick Smith, Getty Images

If Hillary Clinton is bothered by Republicans raising questions about her age and health ahead of a potential 2016 presidential bid, she certainly isn't showing it.

On Friday, the former secretary of state brushed off a suggestion from Republican strategist Karl Rove that her 2012 concussion left her with brain damage.

"I know [Rove] was called Bush's brain in one of the books written about him," Clinton joked in an interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer. "I wish him well."

Despite Rove's suggestion, Clinton said, she's experienced "no lingering effects" from the concussion, which briefly took her out of commission at the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 as she was concluding her work as secretary of state.

She said she would release her medical records if she runs for president, as "other candidates have done."

She also responded in good humor to another Republican's crack about her age: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in 2013 that the prospective 2016 Democratic presidential field looks like "a re-run of 'The Golden Girls.'"

"That was a very popular, long-running TV series," quipped Clinton, who has acknowledged that she is considering another presidential bid and has said she will decide whether to run at some point this year.

In the interview, Clinton also defended President Obama's decision to return Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban captivity in exchange for five Taliban-affiliated detainees at Guantanamo Bay, saying the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl's capture don't matter - "We bring our people home."

Citing accounts from his fellow soldiers, critics of the swap have raised questions about whether Bergdahl deserted his unit before being taken captive by the Taliban in 2009. Some have also warned that the detainees freed from Guantanamo could return to the battlefield after a one-year stint in Qatar, where they currently reside under a travel ban.

But in the interview Friday, Clinton said the principle that America brings its soldiers home was more important than any particulars of Bergdahl's case.

"I think this was a very hard choice," she said. "If you look at what the factors were going into the decision, of course there are competing interests and values. And one of our values is we bring everybody home off the battlefield the best we can. It doesn't matter how they ended up in a prisoner of war situation."

At an event Monday in Colorado, Clinton also acknowledged the concerns about the Guantanamo detainees returning to the fight, but she still wouldn't question the decision to swap them for Bergdahl's return.

"You don't want to see these five prisoners go back to combat. There's a lot that you don't want to have happen," she said. "On the other hand you also don't want an American citizen, if you can avoid it, especially a solider, to die in captivity."

In her upcoming memoir, which was obtained ahead of its official publication by CBS News, Clinton details the reservations she had about the negotiations surrounding Bergdahl when she was the country's top diplomat.

"The Taliban's top concern seemed to be the fate of its fighters being held at Guantanamo Bay and other prisons. In every discussion about prisoners, we demanded the release of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who had been captured in 2009. There would not be any agreement about prisoners without the sergeant coming home," she wrote. "I acknowledged, as I had many times before, that opening the door to negotiations with the Taliban would be hard to swallow for many Americans after so many years of war."

  • Jake Miller

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