March 6th, 2013
11:14 AM ET
2 years ago

Fox News chief's choice words for Obama, Biden and Gingrich

(CNN) – Roger Ailes has never been known to keep his opinions to himself.

So perhaps it's no surprise the powerful boss of Fox News Channel revealed candid opinions of top political figures – including President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich – during conversations and meetings that were recorded by his biographer Zev Chafets.

In excerpts of Chafets' upcoming book "Roger Ailes: Off Camera" that were published in this month's Vanity Fair, the Fox News president is shown fiercely criticizing Obama, who he calls "lazy."

The remark came amid an analysis of CNN contributor and Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen's claims that Ann Romney had "never worked a day in her life" (Rosen later apologized.)

"Obama's the one who never worked a day in his life," Ailes said in an exchange with his spokesman, according to the excerpt in Vanity Fair. "He never earned a penny that wasn't public money. How many fund-raisers does he attend every week? How often does he play basketball and golf? I wish I had that kind of time. He's lazy, but the media won't report that."

When Ailes noticed Chafets' surprised reaction, the television executive added: "I didn't come up with that. Obama said that, to Barbara Walters."

He was referring to an interview when the ABC anchor asked Obama for "the trait you most deplore in yourself."

"Laziness," the president responded, explaining "There is a deep down, underneath all the work that I do, I think there's a laziness in me. It's probably from, you know, growing up in Hawaii and it's sunny outside, and sitting on the beach."

Ailes was no less forgiving in his assessment of Obama's deputy Joe Biden. During a meeting with staff discussing vice presidential politics, Ailes remarked, "I have a soft spot for Joe Biden…I like him. But he's dumb as an ashtray."

Also on the receiving end of Ailes' blunt appraisal? Newt Gingrich, the former house speaker, who gave up his contributor role at Fox to make a bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

In the waning days of his presidential campaign, Gingrich was quoted saying "Fox has been for Romney all the way through," adding that he thought CNN's coverage of the GOP primaries was less biased.

"We are more likely to get neutral coverage out of CNN than we are of Fox, and we're more likely to get distortion out of Fox. That's just a fact," Gingrich said at an event in Delaware, according to a report from Real Clear Politics.

"He's a sore loser and if he had won he would have been a sore winner," Ailes said, according to Chafets' biography.

"Newt's a prick," Ailes succinctly concluded.

CNN reached out to the White House and to a representative of Gingrich for reaction to Ailes' comments.

soundoff (484 Responses)
  1. Mike H.

    "Growing up in Hawaii and it's sunny outside, and sitting on the beach".
    Presiding over a nation in debt up to its eyeballs, and the basketball court is calling outside, Tiger waiting for me in Florida...

    March 6, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. Wilson

    @ray

    i wish all republicans die soon so this country can be a better place
    -------------------------------
    And the party of "hate" is?

    March 6, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. Religious Guy

    ppl here commenting say that Obama spends his time during weekend playing golf and they do not have time for that. Well, so what are you guys doing during weekend when not playing golf? Obama has made millions form his books and he earns abt $400K as POTUS. If he is not greedy to earn more money, then he has time to play golf. This nut case of Fox News seems to be more interested in making more millions than playing golf and so he says he does not have time like POTUS.

    March 6, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. Babyboomer

    KKK in suits...

    March 6, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. CM

    Here's a word for the Fox news boss: IRRELEVANT

    March 6, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. Fair is Fair

    The Real Tom Paine

    "And if you read what Fair is Fair posted, you would see that she did not even address his statements, but threw uout unrelated points to butress her own beliefs. "
    ------
    Oh but I did address the statemanet made, which was the advocation of Medicaire& Medicaid expansion. To expand programs that are losing billions is akin to trying to dig your way out of a hole with a shovel. My point does not just "buttress my beliefs"... it's undeniable FACT, Tom. You just refuse to admit it.

    March 6, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  7. Sivick

    Well, he's not wrong about gingrich. 1/3 correct, sounds about right for fox news....

    March 6, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  8. Dr Matrix

    John McCain's entire life has been public money except for what his wife brought to the table. But they keep their money seperate according to his campaign disclosures. Anyway both McCain' father and grandfather were career Navy so he was raised on public money, then went to Annapolis so he was educated on public money, then a career in the Navy, public money then to congress and the senate, public money. So Roger Ailes can go pound Rush until one of them chokes.

    March 6, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  9. Lj_educated Social worker

    Well this is something new and has never been done before...a white man calling a black man "lazy"! Interesting...

    March 6, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  10. Steve

    Thanks for all the ad hominem attacks, Mr. Ailes. Good to know you don't stand for any substance in your opinions.

    March 6, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. Spencer

    So, how smart does he think Sarah Palin is? and I do believe that congress took over a week off BEFORE the sequester the same time Obama went to play golf.

    March 6, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. Arun

    Who cares, this guys is a useless person along with his network!!

    March 6, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    The Real Tom Paine

    "And if you read what Fair is Fair posted, you would see that she did not even address his statements, but threw uout unrelated points to butress her own beliefs. "
    --
    Oh but I did address the statemanet made, which was the advocation of Medicaire& Medicaid expansion. To expand programs that are losing billions is akin to trying to dig your way out of a hole with a shovel. My point does not just "buttress my beliefs"... it's undeniable FACT, Tom. You just refuse to admit it.
    -------------------
    @The Real Tom Paine – Fair's posts have changed since the 2012 election. The attacks have become less substantive and more personal. Doesn't that usually mean a person is losing, if not lost, the argument. :)

    March 6, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  14. JESSE james TAKE THEM TO THE STREET AND SHOOT THEM LIKE THE DOGS THEY ARE

    Aisles go suck on something. Have a nice day.

    March 6, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  15. Donna

    While a bunch of Americans were being attacked and murdered in Benghazi, Obama couldn't be bothered and kept right on campaign fundraising. He's lazy when it comes to the JOB of being President. He has endless energy for golf, celebrity events and politicing. And if you have $500,000 he'll have dinner with you several times a year.

    Obama, for sale to the highest bidder.

    March 6, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  16. Bart

    I do not think any dude on the wrong side of 350 LBs should be calling anyone lazy.

    March 6, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    -freedom

    @The Real Tom Paine

    They've ALL made mistakes and noone is claiming that any president has been perfect. That doesn't change the current issue of what direction this president is trying to force this country in – a Marxist one. This president has a radical agenda – not like any other Republican or Democrat that this country has seen before. Holding grudges about past Republican presidents isn't going to change that fact.
    *************
    Oh, please. The GOP that my father belonged to has veered so far off to the Right that they dont' even recognise their own ideas. The fact is that 30 years of conservative policies have had the effect of derailing the country. They have controlled at least one chamber in the Legislative branch for 22 out of the last 32 years, and the WH for 20 out of the last 32 years. The policies took a decided Right turn beginning in 1980, and the GOP lurched with them. Its the GOP that's out of sync, not the rest of the country. Your statement about "not holding grudges" speaks volumes about the denial you live in.

    March 6, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. Zenger Folkman

    "How often does he play basketball and golf? I wish I had that kind of time" Ailes is jealous that he's not a very good basketball player or golfer. Looks like he prefers the gastromical sports.

    "He's lazy, but the media won't report that." But the media DID report that, Ailes! You said so yourself!! It was a moment of self-reflection for the President, and true to your Fox colors, you jumped on it and gave a new catch-phrase to the Tea Baggers (see the first post)

    March 6, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. John

    So all you nutjobs that went crazy over the DIxie Chicks, when does the boycott of FOx news start?

    March 6, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  20. De Observa

    Roger Ailes, well, consider the source of such slanderous remarks.
    And: "He never earned a penny that wasn't public money" What????

    Does that mean everybody must make a living through a business? That kind of idiotic (business type) worldview is what brought down mitt romney.. (but the GOP never learns..)
    By that standard doctors, public school teachers, librarians, city bus drivers, government (state/ federal) workers, they all do not work?? Just because the public sector pays them? Ahhhh now I get it: this is why Congress people are so bad: they are paid by the public sector, us, the tax payers... I get it..

    This old fat ailing man should shut up and enjoy his millions. Just another romney type living from his stock options. Yes, since romney didn't pay "income taxes" like those 47% he chastized, he is just one of them.. Hillarious.

    March 6, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. cbr

    Oh dear. This man is completely out of touch with reality. He took the President's words from an interview and then chose a few to use – Obama is lazy. He states that the President has never worked a day in his life. He is assuming that those who work in the public sector do not really work. It is unfortunate that he has made this claim because many people on both sides of the aisle have never worked in the private sector but that does not mean that they have not worked a day in their lives.

    Roger Ailes has made many controversial comments over the years. He has run some campaigns for Republicans and some of us have been less than thrilled about the way he acts and what he has said. Now He runs FOX and once again truth is not a word in his vocabulary. It does not take long to realize that the on-air personalities all have similar views. While it is a good thing to have a station which reports the news, it is not a good thing to have an entire station with one point of view. He has the backing of all his people and so he can speak as he does without anyone at FOX questioning his motives.

    Mr. Ailes, judging from your photo i would assume that you are not one to exercise or to keep in shape. That just may be a sign of laziness.

    March 6, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. Jeff

    Fox shouldn't even be called a NEWS channel.

    When there is breaking news happening...I have checked all the news channels and when all of them are talking about the breaking news...Fox News Channel is either talking about Obama or Congress or the Sequester going on while something that is actual news is happening.

    To me...that's false advertising to be called a NEWS channel. They should go ahead and change it to the Fox Political Channel.

    March 6, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. De Observa

    Some people, like the 1 percenters, should just enjoy their wealth and otherwise stay out of the people's business.

    Because they don't even qualify as "real people".

    March 6, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. just askin

    John
    So all you nutjobs that went crazy over the DIxie Chicks, when does the boycott of FOx news start?
    ----

    boycot them for telling the truth? wow, looks like roger ailes really did strike a nerve on this one. if the lefties are screaming and name calling then the truth must have been spoken. too funny. so if you don't think obama is lazy, then point to things to prove he isn't. like a stat on how many hours he spends in the whitehouse doing his job. is it more than his golf outtings yet? i doubt it.

    March 6, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  25. Jeff

    Fox shouldn't even be called a news channel.

    When there is breaking news happening...I have checked all the news channels and when all of them are talking about the breaking news...Fox News Channel is either talking about Obama or Congress or the Sequester going on while something that is actual news is happening.

    To me...that's false advertising to be called a news channel. They should go ahead and change it to the Fox Political Channel.

    March 6, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20