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. mark w


    mark w....please get off this intelligent forum....go to fix no news
    Carlos – guess I hit a little to close to home with that one...sorry

    March 6, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  2. tykl

    100% agree with comment on Obama. Where was he the weekend before the sequester? Using public tax money to fly Air Force One to Florida to get a golf lesson with Tiger (he would never have met Tiger if he weren't whoring his celebrity status).

    March 6, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  3. Robert

    This coming from someone who lies and spreads distortion for a living. How much money does he think Faux News would be making if there were no public infrastructure to support cable television? Next thing you know, he'll be calling the President "shiftless".

    March 6, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. Woman In California

    Just two more election cycles and his "kind" will be no more. Republicans will lose 1/2 their ignorant, lazy, misinformed base and the world will be better for it.

    March 6, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  5. pitt04

    I may not agree with all his policies and all but.....
    Obama lazy? really? For what I have seen the man "hit the ground running" as soon as he was elected, four years ago.
    ...and when he is not serving others, he is literally running for his life from bigots like FOX news, the NRA and all their friends and relatives.

    March 6, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. Latenitejj

    This man is an opportunistic fool, plain and simple.

    March 6, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. Mike Texoma

    Roger Ailes is the quintessential white man over 50 years old. He has a lot of money and a lot of power, so the news has not reached him yet. His vision has a piece missing, and his power is no longer enough. The world he lives in has passed him by.

    March 6, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. cnnife

    This comment betrays deep hatred and racism. Why in the world should a comment made by Hilary Rosen about Ann Romney suddenly elicit this kind of response from Roger! The president had nothing to do with what Hilary said.

    March 6, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. buckeye

    It's true. I consider myself an avid golfer, and Obama has played more rounds of golf while in office than I have in my entire life. He played all weekend a few weeks back, and I saw a report that he has played well over 100 rounds while in office. I think I have played about 30 in the last 4-5 years. Why don't I play more? I don't have time...

    March 6, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. Boomer in Mo

    Roger and Rupert are just mad because they have not been able to completely take over the American political process like old Murdock did in Great Britain.

    March 6, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. Former Republican, now an Independent

    So who is Roger Ailes that anyone would care in the least what his opinion is??? This loser can't even get his channel to report the news accurately and truthfully.

    March 6, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  12. AE

    My My, Where is the watermelon!!!! Roger

    March 6, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  13. ray

    i wish all republicans die soon so this country can be a better place

    March 6, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  14. amazed2

    Yep. Sounds fair and balanced to me.....

    March 6, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |

    Ho hum. A rich, old, white guy aligned with the GOP made vapid, incendiary comments in order to sell his lame book. Big woop. Sales will be lower than "Going Rogue".

    March 6, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  16. James Bond

    Physically, and mentally disgusting, yikes

    March 6, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. southernwonder

    if you provide service or product to govt, is it a bad thing to get paid for it? what's aile saying here? that it is a sin to do business with the govt? so, where is the govt suposed to go to buy for its needs? to india and china?

    March 6, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. nino

    yes, he's so lazy. He hasn't start any war.....come on!!!

    March 6, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. ART

    Roger Ailes a heart attack waiting to happen.

    March 6, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  20. fayray11

    just more fair and balanced steaming pile of Fox

    March 6, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. The Real Tom Paine


    @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.
    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. You won't even try to point something out because you are incapble of grasping it. Btw, I'm not paid to post, but I'm sure that you are.

    March 6, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  22. JoeBlow

    I really care what a fat, white, lying, moron thinks (that would refer to you, Ailes).

    March 6, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  23. goblackhawks

    Well said Mr. Ailes ... Obama wasn't a Prof... he was a guest lecturer ... who never showed up. Obama voted present 120 times present as a Sen. and as far as a community orgzr. I actually live in Chicago and I never heard of him. He tried to join Harold Washington's office and they wouldn't even have him. Bobby Rush beat him in election... All you Obamabots need to read about your hero

    March 6, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  24. FrankinSD

    Still with the racial stereotypes. News flash – lazy folks don't get through Harvard Law. The grading is blind and wicked tough.

    March 6, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. pkfops

    Anybody who watches FOX News is lazy.

    Let Roger do your thinking for you.

    March 6, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
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