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. The Real Tom Paine

    -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.
    *********************
    Its the frustration of having slaved away for the Mormon aristocrat, and having been proven resoundingly wrong. Oh, I see the frustration, and the resulting loss of substance and good manners. They lost the argument alright, but it won't stop the snarky attacks and personal potshots over having humiliated themselves.

    March 6, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. Huckleberry Hound

    Fat people are lazy and Ailes is a little hefty.

    March 6, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. Mike

    Lol that guy is funny and correct.

    March 6, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. JF Spurlock

    Roger Ailes says President Obama is Lazy; and he called VP Biden, "dumb as an ashtray."
    Now the Attorney General wants to prosecute Ailes for revealing State Secrets! (LOL)

    March 6, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. D

    GWBush took 900 days off during his 8 years and golfed on plenty of days that he was working. Who is lazy now? Oh and did he ever earn a dollar outside of Daddys money?

    March 6, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  6. pwmcgill

    Mr. Ailes, Satan is a very hard worker it is most likely, but that doesn't make him a role model! Like Fox (faux news) one can be very busy without necessarily make the work product worthwhile in any positive regard whatsoever. Fox News spends a great deal of time and hard work getting into mischief, stretching the truth, or outright lying, but as far as contributing to the public good Fox is irrelevant!!

    March 6, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. Irskan

    It takes a mighty small mind to stand up like that and throw cheap shots... before he calls anyone a sore loser he oughta reflect on the last election a little and then take a good look in a mirror...

    March 6, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. Wilson

    The Real Tom Paine

    -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.
    *********************
    Its the frustration of having slaved away for the Mormon aristocrat, and having been proven resoundingly wrong. Oh, I see the frustration, and the resulting loss of substance and good manners. They lost the argument alright, but it won't stop the snarky attacks and personal potshots over having humiliated themselves.
    ----------------------------------------–
    Well, if you are not a paidschill, then you prove yourself to be an "ignorant glue sniffer," per someone's definition (I think it was "borderless" maybe?)

    March 6, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. John/kc

    And how does Ailes describe the mental capacity of John McCain for putting Sarah Palin as his vice president running mate?

    March 6, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. Woman In California

    Wake up People!
    @T.E. Lawrence O. A.

    Thank you for the best post I have read all day!!
    -

    I agree. Thank you.

    March 6, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. Wake up People!

    Woman in California you had a good one today also. I couldn't respond to it because I got zapped, as usual. I love reading your comments.

    March 6, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  12. Derp

    Well that lazy/dummy ticket kicked mr Ailes candidate behinds. TWICE!

    Sore loser

    March 6, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  13. Greg

    So, the President is a lazy black man who lives off public money and loves to play basketball. Nothing at all racist about that characterization.

    March 6, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  14. ted

    Roger Ailes is typical of Fox News people – full of hot air and makes no sense. For some reason because we have a black president, all the wackjobs come out and take potshots at him. where was Ailes when Bush took off 1/3 of his presidency to stay at the ranch? But he would deny Obama a vacation away from DC? Really. Ailes is a buffoon

    March 6, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  15. g

    any body that hires palin is not a news station –

    March 6, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  16. MrCredik

    "Obama's the one who never worked a day in his life," Ailes said"
    Really?
    Roger, please define work.

    March 6, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  17. hey

    Obama is lazy...said the man that looks like he weighs a metric ton.

    March 6, 2013 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  18. MrCredik

    Looking at the jowls and gut on that porker, it doesn't seem he's been working either.

    March 6, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  19. cbr

    Mr. Ailes needs to watch over his network stars. While he was making his statements, Bill O'Reilly was going ballistic and calling a fellow report a liar. Of course. Bill O'Reilly is a fixture at FOX so Mr. Ailes will let that go by.

    FOX does believe in taking statements out of context and using them to prove points and Mr. Ailes certainly did that.Was not impressed by him when he ran campaigns and in his other positions with TV Networks. Nothing has changed and FOX is not a network which covers all sides of any story.

    March 6, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  20. g

    fox is nothing but a propaganda machine for the republican party and should be shut down in the name of national security ,.its owned buy foreigners with ties to alquada

    March 6, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  21. FortRandallAK

    Looks like he calls em' as he sees em'- just calling a spade a spade.

    March 6, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  22. Liz the First

    And i suppose his 'president,' King George the Lesser, was such a hard worker! he spent a full third of his 'presidency' on vacation and the other two thirds letting Darth Cheney run the country. Obama has literally the hardest job in the world and he does it far better than any rethug in recent memory. i want him to have a bit of down time to relax and recharge. Ailes would drop dead the first week.

    March 6, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  23. Nemo

    His comments aside, I really have to ask the question. How can he say all of these things and still expect us to believe that his network is impartial and nonpartisan?

    March 6, 2013 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  24. Jack

    How does he know? Has he worked with or for him? It amaze me how many know just what someone else doing? It must be sorcery. Let's have witch hunt! How totally and completely foolish Mr. Ailes!

    March 6, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  25. LRP

    Well, you gotta call them as you see them and I admire honesty.

    March 6, 2013 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
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