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. CryBabies

    @ WIC....Your political commentary, as usual, reeks of racism and hatred.

    March 6, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  2. tuscany590

    What he should have said was Obama is more incompetent than Carter and a bigger liar than Nixon..

    March 6, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. grumpymedic

    I call Ailes dumb. There, it's all even now.

    March 6, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  4. Cooperduper

    Didn't Obama write a couple of successful books?

    March 6, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. TommyNYC

    Public money or Private money... does it really matter??? If he worked for it, then he earned it ! ! !

    Lots of people work for public money... all government personnel, social services, police, fire fighters, etc... Are all these people lazy???

    March 6, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. Drina

    Ailes using his medium to mislead and lie to millions: evil.

    March 6, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. Homer and Jethro

    JB's right, and others have noticed it: FOX talks about "the media" as something separate from FOXnews. They are a joke that people are slow catching on to.

    March 6, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  8. carlos

    mark w....please get off this intelligent forum....go to fix no news

    March 6, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. Mopi

    It is really pathetic that people continue to say that conservatives are the ones who ingest faux new garbage and turn their brains off. majority of libs i know do the same and almost all have identical views. honest thinking people are sometimes going to have different or even opposite opinions from eachother. you rarely find that happening on the right or left.
    My wifes family which is about 20-25 people have no interest in politics or newspapers anything of the sort. they prefer pop culture. I used to think they were the idiots ingesting nonsense, but in fact they all have their own views on every different issue. quite refreshing to hear

    March 6, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. Gotta Love It

    Gotta love all those contradictory conservatives

    Obama's lazy..... except for the 5 years he's been working so hard to make America a communist state

    Liberals are bleeding hearts..... except when they're the most hateful of groups because they're not tolerant of conservatives intolerance

    The stimulus is a horrible thing that will kill America.... except when Republican congressmen want a giant cut of it for their area to create jobs or "benefit not only te business community… but it will also make he region more attractive to new industry, attract new visitors, and increase the size of the region’s labor and product markets.” (- J. Gresham Barrett, SC Rep)

    March 6, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Jay

    Ailes = patheic old man

    March 6, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. whitepine

    So what is Alies saying about Congress and the Senate? What about all their vacations and breaks? What about their list of accomplishments? They are suppose to be running this country. It seems to me President Obama is working nearly everyday. Have you seen his schedule?

    March 6, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. EddyL

    Stupid, crude jerk.

    March 6, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    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.
    Banana Republic? Nah. It's called "economic apartheid", which is a process Republicans began more than 3 decades ago. It's more popularly known as the "war on the middle class". I've decided to rename it for what it has actually become. In other words, the plutocrats have extended their lead and can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    March 6, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. Jonathan

    This guy is complaining about what the media won't report, but doesn't he run Fox News?

    March 6, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. John the Historian

    Ailes is only the new Randolph Hearst. Pure yellow journalism of our day. The Neocons of the his station needs to be shut down.

    March 6, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. Moonraker

    II love that a morbidly obese man calls fit Obama "lazy".

    March 6, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. Sly

    If you read the entire transcript of the Fox CEO's speech, you'll find he said " ... like all black people, President Obama is lazy".

    There are many southerner's who still weep over losing their black boys at the end of the civil war ...

    March 6, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    ""He never earned a penny that wasn't public money."
    And, neither has that budget quack, Paul "I haven't run the numbers, yet." Ryan.

    March 6, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  20. Larry

    Good grief! What is next? Calling him shiftless? These people are so blindly racist that it is incredible. I am a middle aged white man and I can see it.

    March 6, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. Wilson

    @Fair is Fair


    If Republicans are going to dismiss Medicaid expansion (especially to the poor and elderly), they simply must explain what their policy is to ensure cheap, and equitable access to medical care for all is, OR they must justify why they support creating a condition in the richest nation in the world where 40% of the population no longer can afford health care- and why in their minds that is acceptable, or even sane.
    If you had any knowledge on the subject of healthcare expenses, you would realize that Medicare and Medicaid ARE THE REASON HEALTHCARE COSTS RISE FAR FASTER THAN INFLATION.

    Why? It's very simple, actually. The government reimburses healthcare providers at rates that are far below what it takes for the providers to be profitable. Rather than go out of business, they raise the rates of their services to cover the financial loss of caring for Medicare / Medicaid patients. This "cost shifting" has been going on since the 70's when the full effects of Medicare on the healthcare delivery system began to take effect. And why is it accelerating? Because the number of people on Medicare and Medicaid is accelerating as well. All you need to do is look at a graph of Healthcare Cost Inflation and compare it to a graph of Medicare / Medicaid covered lives, over time. The relationship is undeniable.
    Paidschills don't deal in facts, you are wasting your breath proving them wrong, they won't change, they will keep posting what they are paid to post.

    March 6, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. Wake up People!

    @T.E. Lawrence O. A.

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

    March 6, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. Ken from FL

    Actually, Roger pretty much nailed it; this IS the laziest president is memory, whose main preoccupations are with golf, meeting with celebrities, and putting his feet up on the Resolute desk (what's with that, anyway).

    March 6, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  24. brody02

    Fox news is a joke and the people who run it or work for it are just hate mongers.If you are rich and ,white or in women blonde you are a good american.They also hate losing .

    March 6, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. The Real Tom Paine

    -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...
    Someone has to be. it sure as hell has not been the Right in this country.

    March 6, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
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