Rich Galen

Well. You know what happened after that. The Hillary Clinton camp was joined by everyone with a microphone or a word processor in demanding that Rove recant.

Here are four things to keep in mind.

First. Rove said he never used the phrase "brain damage" and there do not appear to be any contemporaneous recordings of the event.

Second. Mrs. Clinton is nearly my age. The strain and drain of a Presidential campaign, much less the daily pressure of actually holding the office, is a lot different for someone approaching 70, than someone approaching 60. That would be a legitimate issue for any male candidate to deal with; it should be no less an issue for a woman candidate.

Third. There has been no suggestion that when Rove said whatever he said about Mrs. Clinton's health that either Dan Raviv nor Robert Gibbs jumped to her defense, much less stormed off the stage.

Fourth. Last week Bill Clinton chimed in and, according to ABC News:

"The former president revealed that his wife's injury 'required six months of very serious work to get over,' he said during a question-and-answer session at the Peterson Foundation in Washington."

A candidate for President whose name was anything other than Hillary Clinton would be dogged at every stop asking about what was going on during those six months and whether that candidate thought the injury might be seen as a disqualification by some voters.

It's been a big week for women in the news. Not the news-making they would have liked, but in this age of hyper-sensitivity we need to discuss, not the specifics of the cases, but the way we automatically react to negative reports about any special group.

We don't know what would have happened if Jill Abramson had been named Joseph. We don't know what the reaction to a brain issue would have been if Hillary Clinton had been named Thomas Eagleton.

Oh. We do know that answer to that.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at