March 6th, 2013
11:14 AM ET
10 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. Sid

    Bush jr was laziest. Obama has had a party that spends its entire waking hour trying to defeat him over and over again.

    March 6, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. Cliffintex

    Some of you have pointed out that he was an attorney for some few years – his income came from federal funds...this was the community activist part. He was a lecturer at college for constitutional law at a private college – but none of this is drawing an income from ther private sector. Now that he and Michelle have had their law licenses suspended...wonder what they will do after 2016?

    March 6, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. Pizza

    Duh-bya set the record for lazy and time off, but it was in the public's best interest. Who would complain when he wasn't terrorizing the rest of the world ?

    March 6, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. Sid

    LOL about Gingrich. Gingrich is extremely smart and is probably right about Fox news ....I don't like Gingrich but I find him spot on about Fox...

    March 6, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |

    What the Fox chief fails to understand is that young voting age Americans dont care what a old fart thinks about anything.

    March 6, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. A Little Common Sense

    Bear in mind this is from the guy who runs Fox News. The station that thinks "fair and balanced" means excessively heaping praise on Republicans based on false assertions and spewing unsubstantiated propaganda in their support, and then balancing it out by excessively heaping untrue and inaccurate blame and condemnation on Democrats, based on false assertions, and spewing unsubstantiated propaganda against them.

    You know the station whose supposedly unbiased newscasters & analysts (not just commentators) use the term "we" when talking about the Republican party.

    March 6, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. WhereIsPalin

    This guy saw something in Palin..........end of story.

    March 6, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. max3333444555

    whether you like obama or consider him lazy (i dont know his schedule so I dont make that assumption) it is very clear that he has some fairly significant faults. he ignores the consitution when it suits his agenda. budget math escapes him (or is ignored by him). he has a significant bent towards federalism on every level (except maybe marijuana legalization).

    the republicans have their own set of faults but the article isnt about them so i wont bother listing them.

    March 6, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. Fair is Fair

    just askin

    Rudy NYC
    Food for Thought: Fat guy calls fit and trim guy, "lazy."

    so you claim skinny people can't be lazy and all fat people are lazy? pretty dumb.

    obama is lazy with regards to doing his job as president. please try to keep up.
    Oh come on now... he's been "laser focused" on the economy... "laser focused" on the debt... "laser focused" on the deficit... "will not sleep" until everyone who wants a job has one...

    March 6, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. Annie, Atlanta

    This is rich coming from a guy who runs a make-believe news organization, where heresay is better than doing actual journalism. Just rich. I'm so sick of Republicans I could scream. What a hateful ugly bigoted nasty bunch.

    March 6, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. ToldUso

    This comes from the guy who runs a "news" agency too lazy to check facts.

    March 6, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. Ya ya Ya

    Ailes should stop being so lazy and get out and lose that fat gut.

    March 6, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  13. jj

    Nothing anyone from Faux News says is remotely credible

    March 6, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  14. ritmocojo

    I guess university professors are paid with public money. At least according to this loon.

    March 6, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  15. Paul

    He got Newt right. A nasty man. I'd like to see Ailes keep up with any President.

    March 6, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  16. mike

    calling Biden "as dumb as an ashtray" is insulting to ash trays

    March 6, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. TheTeacherThePreacher

    The original Fake Newsman has spoken. Fox News, now there's a work ethic for ya

    March 6, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. T. E. Lawrence O. A.

    AHHH, yes – that 'Lazy, Shiftless Black Man' as opposed to the woman whose entire pampered life of a mulit-millionairre includes telling others what to do (with no grasp on the reality of true Work for Wage, paycheck-to-paycheck existence, etc.).

    Lazy, Lazy, Lazy – all those Black Americans were so obviously lazy when they all but built the foundations of American Infrastructure, Plantation Life of 16 hours of work a day, etc. etc.

    All the while poor Ann Romney just wore herself out dictating to others how to run her household and who never DID actually work a day in her life – NOT AS MOST AMERICANS DEFINE 'WORK', which includes the fact that it is For Wages that are totally necessary for their very Existence, to pay bills, etc.

    What kind of "Bottom Rail On Top" analysis is this garbage when anyone has to apologize for telling the Truth about a RICH HOUSEWIFE, while calling as "Lazy" a man who earned his way into Harvard Law (ONLY if you have done the same can you possibly understand the work involved, never mind this myth / propaganda about Affirmative Action), Worked his way into the Senate and Worked his way into the Presidency.

    ONLY if you have done ALL of these things can you possibly know the work required – how many who call Obama "Lazy" have achieved 1/10th as much? How many achieved their way into the US Senate!?! Presidency!?!

    And AILES!?! HA! How much 'work' has he ever done in his life!>!?

    March 6, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  19. just sayin

    actually obama is very hard at work.... he is working very hard at fundamentally transforming the worlds only super power, the greatest country the planet has ever known, into a bankrupt third world banana republic. mission almost accomplished.

    March 6, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  20. Tony in Maine

    Why does this cretin continue to get coverage other than by his sock puppets on Faux Gnus?

    March 6, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  21. Moonraker

    Haha, Roger Ailes looks exactly as I pictured him (i.e. another bloated, fat, angry, white male). As usual the channel that couldn't believe that Obama won in a landslide tries to say provocative things to get its (high school drop out) viewers all fired up. How anyone can call Obama "lazy" with a straight face when everyone knows that Bush Jr. was the laziest president in presidential history is beyond me. Every single day I wake up with a smile when I think about Obama getting re-elected.

    March 6, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. mike

    "while calling as "Lazy" a man who earned his way into Harvard Law"
    we think...still has those records locked up

    March 6, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. godot001

    yessa masta ailes, i be lazy and you be racism personified!

    March 6, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  24. mike

    As usual the channel that couldn't believe that Obama won in a landslide tries to say provocative things to get its (high school drop out) viewers all fired up.
    um – you do know obama's 2 largest voting blocs are statistically the MOST uneducated in the country right?

    March 6, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  25. Jill-IN

    Roger Ailes has never been known to say anything worthwhile. He is a bonafide fat you know what. If he didn't have so much money, no one would be kissing his feet and following him around with microphones.

    March 6, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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