Michael Bloomberg slams Karl Rove's comments on Hillary Clinton

Karl Rove's suggestion that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might have suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2012 was "outrageous," former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on "Face the Nation" Sunday.

Rove, former President George W. Bush's political strategist, said at an event last week that the American people needed to know more about Clinton's health because she was "wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury" after being hospitalized for a blood clot in her head caused by a concussion in 2012. Former President Bill Clinton brushed off the comments at a fiscal forum later that week.

Asked about the comments, Bloomberg said he thought "it was about as inappropriate a thing you could say."

"Hillary Clinton, whether you agree with her policies or not, whether you want to vote for her...she's a quality person. She is also a great American, works as hard as anybody and is dedicated to this country," Bloomberg said. "You can't ask somebody to do more than she has done for her country. I thought his remarks just were outrageous."

Though he denied knowing anything about Clinton's presidential ambitions, Bloomberg did say "she would be a spectacular candidate on the Democratic side" in 2016. But he also mentioned several current and former Republican governors as competent candidates, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Because of their executive experience, those politicians "would be great if the country had the choice among them," he said.

Bloomberg predicted that even Christie will no longer be haunted by the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal by the next presidential election.

"I'm sure he wished that it hadn't happened, but Chris Christie is going to be judged based on the job he does leading New Jersey," Bloomberg said.

As for his own political future, Bloomberg said he would consider a presidential run if it was possible to enter the race as an independent, but he doesn't believe that enough people would stray from their Democratic or Republican party identities to give him a viable shot at the White House.

He hasn't exited political life, however. Bloomberg is spending $50 million of his own personal fortune to help push for further regulations on gun purchases across the country even as the effort died in Congress.

"We need to make the Congress understand that the vast preponderance of the public does not want criminals, minors or people with psychiatric problems to be able to buy guns. And we've gotta make Congress understand that and vote that way," he said. "The trouble is the [National Rifle Association] has created fear in the minds of the congressman: 'We're gonna hurt your reelection.' And we've got to answer that by saying, 'No, quite the contrary. The public's not gonna vote for you unless you do something to protect them and their kids.'"

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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