Hillary Clinton Took 6 Months to 'Get Over' Concussion, Bill Says of Timeline

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Bill Clinton did more today than defend his wife, Hillary Clinton, from recent accusations leveled by GOP strategist Karl Rove that she suffered brain damage after falling in December 2012.

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.

"They went to all this trouble to say she had staged what was a terrible concussion that required six months of very serious work to get over," he said. "It's something she never low-balled with the American people, never tried to pretend it didn't happen."

But Bill Clinton's timeline appears to differ from official comments from the State Department at the time.

"Judging by the woman we saw this morning and the workload that she's got she seems to be fully recovered," spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters at a State Department briefing Jan. 7, 2013, about a month after Hillary Clinton's fall and concussion occurred.

That same day, State Department officials presented the secretary of state with a football helmet as a welcome-back gift. With Hillary Clinton's health back in the headlines, here is a review of her illness and the statements that were released about her initial "bug," hospitalization and, several weeks later, those now-famous glasses:


Dec. 7: Last time Clinton is seen in public before the illness, wrapping up a European trip in Northern Ireland.

Dec. 10: Clinton cancels trip because of illness. From State Department spokesman Philippe Reines: "Since she's still under the weather, we'll be staying put this week instead of heading to North Africa and the Middle East as originally planned. In her place, Deputy Secretary Burns will travel to Marrakech for the Friends of the Syrian People meeting. We will let you know when she shakes this bug and resumes a public schedule."

Sometime early the week of Dec. 9: Clinton faints and falls while at home.

Dec. 13: Clinton is diagnosed with a concussion, the New York Times reports, with a State Department official saying the concussion "was not severe"

Dec. 15: State Department spokesman Philippe Reines' statement on the concussion: "While suffering from a stomach virus, Secretary Clinton became dehydrated and fainted, sustaining a concussion. She has been recovering at home and will continue to be monitored regularly by her doctors. At their recommendation, she will continue to work from home next week, staying in regular contact with Department and other officials. She is looking forward to being back in the office soon."

Dec. 15: Statement from her doctors: "Secretary Clinton developed a stomach virus, leading to extreme dehydration, and subsequently fainted. Over the course of this week we evaluated her and ultimately determined she had also sustained a concussion. We recommended that the Secretary continue to rest and avoid any strenuous activity, and strongly advised her to cancel all work events for the coming week. We will continue to monitor her progress as she makes a full recovery." - Dr. Lisa Bardack, Mt. Kisco Medical Group, and Dr. Gigi El-Bayoumi, George Washington University

Dec. 15: Clinton informs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee that she will not testify before Congress on Benghazi later that month. Republican Rep. Allen West accused Clinton of catching "Benghazi flu" and John Bolton, former U.N. ambassador under President George W. Bush, suggested Clinton fabricated a "diplomatic illness" to miss the hearing.

Dec. 17: State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland shoots down any suggestion that the secretary's illness is an excuse to avoid from testifying before Congress on Benghazi. "She very much wanted to, she was willing to," and had planned to, Nuland said. To that end Nuland said that Clinton sent letters that morning to both committees, "making clear that she expects there will be on going communications in January with Congress and she will be open to that," essentially leaving it open that she would be willing to testify at a later date.

Dec. 20: Reines announces that Clinton is being grounded: "Given her condition, the secretary's doctors have advised that she may not fly for any significant duration in the coming weeks. So as things stand we are not planning any travel through mid-January."

Dec. 30: Reines statement on the discovery of her blood clot: "In the course of a follow-up exam today, Secretary Clinton's doctors discovered a blood clot had formed, stemming from the concussion she sustained several weeks ago. She is being treated with anti-coagulants and is at New York-Presbyterian Hospital so that they can monitor the medication over the next 48 hours. Her doctors will continue to assess her condition, including other issues associated with her concussion. They will determine if any further action is required."

Dec. 31: Statement from Clinton's doctors: "In the course of a routine follow-up MRI on Sunday, the scan revealed that a right transverse sinus venous thrombosis had formed. This is a clot in the vein that is situated in the space between the brain and the skull behind the right ear. It did not result in a stroke, or neurological damage. To help dissolve this clot, her medical team began treating the Secretary with blood thinners. She will be released once the medication dose has been established. In all other aspects of her recovery, the Secretary is making excellent progress and we are confident she will make a full recovery. She is in good spirits, engaging with her doctors, her family, and her staff." - Dr. Lisa Bardack, Mt. Kisco Medical Group, and Dr. Gigi El-Bayoumi, George Washington University.


Jan. 2: Clinton is released from the hospital. Reines statement: "Secretary Clinton was discharged from the hospital this evening. Her medical team advised her that she is making good progress on all fronts, and they are confident she will make a full recovery. She's eager to get back to the office, and we will keep you updated on her schedule as it becomes clearer in the coming days. Both she and her family would like to express their appreciation for the excellent care she received from the doctors, nurses and staff at New York Presbyterian Hospital Columbia University Medical Center."

During the briefing that day, Nuland responds to criticism that the department had not been forthcoming in disclosing the secretary's health problems: "I think really we've been extremely forthcoming including from her doctors on the very specific issues here."

Jan. 7: Clinton returns to work.

Jan. 9: Clinton first appears on camera at a photo-op alongside Dan Rooney, ambassador to Ireland. She is not wearing glasses. She tells reporters in a brief, playful question and answer session that she is thrilled to be back.

Jan. 23: Clinton testifies on the Hill about Benghazi, raising questions about her glasses. Reines confirmed that Clinton was wearing the glasses as a result of the concussion: "She'll be wearing these glasses instead of her contacts for a period of time because of lingering issues stemming from her concussion. With them on she sees just fine. In fact, she got a kick out of the above when she saw them crystal clear."

Nuland offered a similar statement: "In response to lots of speculation, the secretary is going to be wearing the glasses instead of her contacts for some period of time because of lingering issues that stemmed from her concussion. She sees just fine with them, and she also enjoyed some of the comments she saw in the press about the extra sort of diplomatic lift she gets from gesturing with them."

Jan. 27: CBS News airs a joint "60 Minutes" interview with Clinton and Obama. She is still wearing the glasses.

Feb. 1: Clinton's last day as Secretary of State (from this point on she is a private citizen). She is still wearing the glasses.

Feb. 14: Clinton makes her first public appearance since leaving office. She is not wearing the glasses.

ABC News' Steven Portnoy contributed reporting.