March 6th, 2013
11:14 AM ET
1 year 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. wgf

    Comments such as these, coming from GOP partisans such as Ailes, would carry so much more weight if the same people had leveled the same criticism to GOP breathren guilty of the same alleged activity (or lack thereof).

    OK, so if Obama is lazy, where does that put George Bush and the deified Ronald Reagan ? Both were presidents that clearly took more leisure time, and had less willingness to engage problems intellectually than Obama.. (And this is coming from someone who voted for Reagan twice, and Bush once).

    I guess it's easy to see where Fox News gets its interpretation of "fair and balanced".

    March 6, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. Plantiful

    ...coming from the Chief Propagandist himself. Fox "News" tried to fire a couple of journalists for reporting on the cancer risks associated with rGBH. Monsanto said they were going to sue unless the facts were adjusted, it ended up in court, and the decision basically said that the news does not have to be completely truthful. And Fox "News" and most of the other "news" of today was born.

    Of what importance is anything that Fox "News" has to say about anything beyond its ultra-conservative viewers/readers?

    March 6, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Johnny 5 wrote:

    He's just saying what others have already noticed. Thats what happens when you only have a choice to vote for bad or terrible.
    -------------
    Haven't you notice that Ailes rooted for "terrible", and that they lost?

    March 6, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  4. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Just like Mitt and Ann Romney, this guy was born on third base and he swore he hit a triple. Sir, the State of the Union is strong and your right wing friends in congress did not play a part in our growth. Please go take your medication and have your pacemaker checked out.

    March 6, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  5. plantiful

    ...coming from the Chief Propagandist himself. Fox "News" tried to fire a couple of journalists for reporting on the cancer risks associated with rGBH. Monsanto said they were going to sue unless the facts were adjusted, it ended up in court, and the decision basically said that the news does not have to be completely truthful. And Fox "News" and most of the other "news" of today was born.

    Of what importance is anything that Fox "News" has to say about anything beyond its ultra-conservative viewers/readers?

    March 6, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  6. Wake up People!

    Black people don't do the Harlem Shake anymore..... Like ghostriter suggested for Boehner, maybe someone can teach you how to Dougie. The Dougie is only about 3 years old....

    March 6, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Lazy? What about your boy W? He spent more days on vacation than any president in history! That's why he didn't know about Richard Clarke's memo weeks before 9/11 entitled: "BIN LADEN DETERMINED TO STRIKE INSIDE THE U.S." And guess what happened?

    March 6, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. treblemaker

    I guess that Mr. Ailes is jealous because the President was president of his Harvard Law class when he was younger, and that he came up from the wards of Chicago politics all the way to the top of the chain. Yeah, that's really being lazy. Mr. Ailes seems to be a very bitter man, a reactionary soul-you can see it on his face. What he doesn't remember is that all politicians, regardless of party affiliation, are beholden to their supporters; the richer they are, the more beholden they are. The only solution to the polarization infecting the public discourse is that dreaded word-COMPROMISE-for the good of the country. Who has the courage to make the first step? Congress is acting like high schoolers at a dance. Everybody is waiting for the other person to get on the dance floor first. The first one with the courage to do so brings everyone else out, because, basically, everyone else are cowards. At least President Obama has tried to bring the two sides together, but alas-no such luck. I'd like to see Mr. Ailes walk in President Obama's shoes. He wouldn't last a day.

    March 6, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  9. Woman In California

    He's lazy, but the media won't report that."

    --–

    Calling the president lazy is easy but it doesn't make it true. The American people voted twice for THIS president because we knew he was the most qualified and the best person to handle the job – FACT; and that's all that matters.

    March 6, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  10. Sorensen

    That is funny coming from the master of lies, filth, deception and 5% fact served up by pretty, blond "journalists" and
    one real journalist, Shepard Smith, who does not really belong there. Classic Murdoch business model.

    March 6, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. Bob

    Jon M Byron

    I am very impressed with the CEO of Fox News.
    ------------------------------------------

    So... you like being lied to about absolutely everything. Gotcha.

    March 6, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. DocHollywood

    "Newt's a prick," You know the saying....it takes one to know one. And you got one of the biggest pricks giving this interview. This guy runs a news organization that wouldn't know "fair and balanced" if it bit them in the butt. So why would this guy's opinions be important?

    March 6, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. sgurdog

    You can't be lazy and be President of the United States. The man looks tired and stressed out and that isn't from sitting on a beach. Roger Ailes is a prick.

    March 6, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  14. maine liberal

    That sound you hear is that of TV's turning off Faus-paux news

    March 6, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  15. Ed

    Finally, someone who's not afraid to tell the truth about the Prez. Thanks Roger, it's refreshing.

    March 6, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  16. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    When Democrats in congress or across America have something to say, its about reducing gun violence in America, its about strenghtening our communities, its about reducing childhood obesity, dealing with our deficit, creating jobs, ending wars and working together to move the country forward. On the other hand, when Teapublicans open their mouths, its about assassination and civil war, putting Gays and Lesbians in concentration camps and executing Hispanics on the border. Its about gun rights and burning Kurans, its about gender wars against women and war on the poor and the middle class. Its about invading foreign countries and maintaining decade long wars. And its about all sorts of name calling. Conservatives never come up with a solution to strenghten and solidify our democracy but they always talk about ways to divide, weaken and undermine our democracy and so on and so on and so on. Yet you conservatives want to accuse President Obama of dividing the country??? Outrageous.

    March 6, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. Don't Hate, Just Participate

    The people of this country amazes me with their comments. You can say what you want to say, but understand one thing, it's not you running this country, his name is President Barack Obama not you. Always remember, when you talk about someone or try to down grade them in any and every kind of way. Look at your own self and say, " what am I doing to help this country". This is for Roger Ailes, When you point a finger, remember you have three fingers and a thumb pointing right back at you. What are you doing Roger Ailes.

    March 6, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. Malory Archer

    Woman In California

    He's lazy, but the media won't report that."

    ––

    Calling the president lazy is easy but it doesn't make it true.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    He really wanted to say "shiftless" but... well, you know...

    March 6, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  19. GrandmaN

    Look at at Ailes and look at Pres. Obama and tell me which one you think is lazy

    March 6, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  20. Rick 7809

    Just more red meat for the Faux viewers. CNN, why is this newsworthy?

    March 6, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  21. bob

    The most laziest president of all time. He is nothing but a narcissist.

    March 6, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  22. mark w

    I love how posters rip on Fox news...when the top lib channel has it's prime time slot led by a race hustling stooge who can't read a teleprompter

    March 6, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. cal usa

    The head of a "News" organization that went to court to secure the right to lie to its viewers may not be the best judge of a person's character. On the other hand, anyone who turned down the opportunity to make tons of money in Wall Street after getting his degree from the most prestigious law school on the planet and chose instead to go to work to help the disadvantaged is clearly overflowing with character.

    March 6, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  24. Nietodarwin

    Our country is in bad shape because there are so many people who believe that what's on Fox is news. The GOP is quite content to destroy the economic recovery, HURT our defense, (remember when they were all for a "strong defense") and just protect the rich. These moves by the GOP will not create jobs, the wealthy will just sit on their money and watch the country deteriorate. This GOP is run by MENTALLY ILL people who believe what Fox (the millionaires network) tells them.
    Does anybody remember the real GOP, like Eisenhower, who built the highway infrastructure, who was a proud supporter of Planned Parenthood. Ignorant, rich, dangerous, ENEMIES to the well being of our country, The GOP is now run by "Talibangleicals". SICK SICK PEOPLE

    March 6, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  25. Robert

    Maybe this guy should run for POTUS since he thinks he can doa better job than Obama?

    March 6, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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