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. Tony

    "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.

    Well, at least there is one Republican who is in touch with reality. Republicans, you lost the 2012 election. You did not know that you were losing the election until Election Day, when even Fox News had to report facts. The first step to fixing a problem is to admit you have one.

    March 6, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  2. mark w

    He's right on all counts...

    March 6, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  3. Jason Miller

    This is supposed to be a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people..NOT of the Lobbyist, by the Corporation, for the CEO!

    March 6, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. TonyNYC

    Roger Ailes is a discussing man. he needs to go back to the UK and stay.

    March 6, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    And this guy's claim to fame. A cheesy network that broadcasts crap to people who only want to hear that. Totally irrelevant person.

    March 6, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. DLinLA

    This is only true inside the conservative bubble. The only ones who will believe his petty, childish fact-free rants are those inside said bubble.

    March 6, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  7. Anne

    He looks like they dug up Alfred Hitchcock....

    March 6, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  8. MC Mitchell

    This is typical Fox fouter. Ignorance at its best.

    March 6, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  9. Matt

    LOL, Its hilarious how mad people are getting.

    March 6, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  10. Ted Turner

    He doesn't like anybody........................he worked for Nixon........................

    March 6, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. mark w

    calling Biden dumb is an insult to dumb people

    March 6, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  12. william samuels

    Better to be "lazy" than a shill for a crook (murdoch-his employer)

    March 6, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  13. jdean

    And what is this guys claim to fame. A biased and cheesy netwok that broadcasts crap to people who only want to hear crap. He can't possibly be taken seriously about anything.

    March 6, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  14. Randy, San Francisco

    Fox (faux) News should change its name to Republican National Committee Comedy Central News. Its reporters and analysts read daily talking points from the RNC.

    March 6, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  15. Gurgyl

    21st century you pay attention to fox???

    March 6, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  16. callmecrazy

    So does this surprise anyone? This is who all the fox commentators are trying to please while misleading their viewers.

    March 6, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. ConsiderThis, FL

    Straight jacket, please!

    March 6, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. fedup

    When the man is right the man is right. Obama is lazy and caters to people who are not willing to work. Name one part of his statement that is not true

    March 6, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  19. mark w

    jdean

    And what is this guys claim to fame. A biased and cheesy netwok that broadcasts crap to people who only want to hear crap. He can't possibly be taken seriously about anything."
    ---
    He works for msnbc ???

    March 6, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  20. Namesam bennett

    Fox news biased?Noooo(shaking head) LOL

    March 6, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. A Little Common Sense

    Obama is lazy, like Fox News' reporting and research.

    – Roger Ailes

    March 6, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. Mike J

    FAUX News where empty drums make the noise & Ailes is just a dim light in the hallway of life.

    March 6, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  23. FoxEnvy

    I would have to agree with ST, we have WAY too much freedom, speech and democracy in the U.S. What we really need is for politicians to tell us what we can and can't say. They are elected by the majority and inherently they know better than we do what is wrong with this country. If only President Obama had the power to make real changes, he would fix this country. We wouldn't have to listen to crazy people like Ailes, or his network's drivel. We could keep our streets safer by getting guns out of the hands of people that have no business with them, and we could finally accept everyone for who they are, not some ideal that society thinks they should live up to. We need to eliminate the inequality in this country, and the only way to do that is to give the government broader influence over our country. It is a fact of government, we give up some freedoms for more security and equality. That is not lazy, that is smart!

    Conservatives claim that with freedom and a market economy you can determine what you will and won't support. Well, I don't support Fox News and want nothing to do with them, and even on CNN I can't get away from them. This stupid market economy has them ranked #1 in viewership and revenue, and all the other networks have to mention them or tear them down. Just leave them out of it, I want my news without the crazy conservative influence of those people.

    March 6, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  24. Vince

    Isn't he British? Can he even vote here? If not, he should keep his opinions to himself.

    March 6, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. mike

    Sounds like he's stating facts

    March 6, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
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