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. Lenny Pincus

    Odd. Obama worked at a law firm and at a private university. Obama looks like he's in pretty good shape. Ailes however is an obese slob.

    March 6, 2013 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  2. blake

    The list of negative adjectives that can be accurately used to describe Obama is quite lengthy. Lazy is actually a ways down on the list.

    March 6, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  3. paradisehotdog

    Even today's world, isn't "prick" a little coarse for mainstream news? Perhaps that's a source of pride for Fox.

    March 6, 2013 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  4. reaperfearer

    Fox News is desperately trying to remain relevant – any press is good press, or so they say.

    March 6, 2013 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  5. Aboojum

    So the lazy guy destroyed the best candidate the Repubs could come up with? Yikes. Imagine what the Beltway would be like if (when) the Demos put their more industrious candidates into these races. LOL. Roger needs to lay off the hyperbole and Oreos.

    March 6, 2013 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  6. Yanni

    CNN is playing childish game setting up unhinged people to vent irrationally. What is the credential needed to be a journalist? It seemed journalism have the lost bar of any professions.

    March 6, 2013 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  7. madelefant

    All money is public money.

    March 6, 2013 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  8. MarioLuiggi

    It blew me a away how a man with no experience at all could be voted to be elected US senator and a year later, President. A man with absolutely NO experience. And then the press supporting him all the way because he is pro-abortion, pro-gay, and a socialist and continues to support him forthe same reasons today. And then turn around and critized Sarah Palin who was mayor and governor for many years, with at least 10 more years in executive experience tha this guy and is a decent mom, pro-life and pro-family Christian woman. Would her presidency be worse than Mr. Hussein Obama? Absolutely not. However, it was hard to get any Republican elected after George W Bush.

    March 6, 2013 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  9. LouAZ

    Some fellows get credit for being conservative when they are only stupid.- Kin Hubbard

    March 6, 2013 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  10. Klaark

    I wonder if Fox will run a "Bias Alert" like they do whenever another news organization doesn't love 'Merica hard enough.

    March 6, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  11. roger watson

    wow, i guess the neutrality of the press is a concept thats foreign to the fox news department, im canadian and a newscaster in this country would never event hint at his political stripes, shame on you mr ailes

    March 6, 2013 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  12. Gino

    We've always enjoyed Mr. Ailes' Fox Political Comedy Show featuring Bill O'Really and the other lesser comedians, particularly the cameo appearances by The Comb Over and Rush, the loudmouthed windbag who speaks for the thousands of lesser- and low-informed Faux News viewers who have few, if any, reasoned thoughts of their own and rely on the Fox stand-up crew to lead the way.

    Ah, Mr. Ailes, you act as if stupidity is a virtue, but then, we consider the source.

    March 6, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  13. Robert in Toronto

    Fox News and Ailes are both jokes- nuff said.

    March 6, 2013 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  14. Samurai

    Barack, “Lazy", Obama's Résumé

    -Magna Cum Laude Harvard student
    -Harvard Law Review President
    -Constitutional Professor
    – Senator
    -President of USA
    -Again President (contested with one of the most successful people in business and in times of depressing economic recession)
    -Conviced Michelle to be wife (A.K.A. " former boss in law firm")
    -Daddy – "lazy" straight 'A' Kenyan Harvard student.
    -Mommy – "lazy" with PHD in Anthropology
    -Last but not least....."privilage" in color and Muslim middle name...

    March 6, 2013 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  15. EdgarX

    Conservatives strive to conserve their lack of intellect and their opinions reflect that philosophy every single time. This dude needs to go back to grade school and learn some basic civics.

    March 6, 2013 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  16. HenryMiller

    The more time Obama spends playing golf or whatever, the less time he spends screwing up the country. That's a good thing. But he really ought to be required to reimburse the country, out of hs own pocket, for the $180 thousand per hour it costs to take Air Force One on all his vacations.

    March 7, 2013 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  17. Cynthia

    Noticed the far right still showing on these pages that they are choosing to remain ignorant in an attempt no to look too stupid when they believe this junk or when they repeat the other lies and misleading 'facts'. I didn't know what was true, did some research and every document I read, including what some might call biased and unbiased, they all reported (or had to admit) the same information. Obama has taken less time off, including vacations, personal events, political trips, etc.President Obama has been on vacation 78 days from 2009 to 2011. At the three year mark into their first terms, George W. Bush spent 180 days at his ranch in Crawford, Texas and Ronald Reagan spent 112 vacation days at his ranch in California. Bush spent 32% of his presidency 'on vacation' FactCheck: Bush had 967 days away from the White House during his eight years in office, which means he was on vacation 32 percent of the time he was on the taxpayers’ payroll. This included 77 vacations totaling 490 days at his “ranch” in Texas, which cost taxpayers at least $124 million, as well as 487 days at Camp David. This does not include all his trips, like to Kennebunkport to a total of 1,020 days, that's almost 3 year!! President Clinton took all or part of 174 days of vacation during his eight years as president — most of that "vacation" time was during the summer, according to Knoller. But Knoller says Clinton only took 21 "vacation" days during his first year. Sources: Obama: public records, White House events calendars, CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller. For Presidents Reagan, Bush I, Bush II and Clinton: Their Presidential library material, public White House records and Knoller Even FDR, who was in office 12 years, took less total vacation days than Bush!

    March 7, 2013 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  18. bear

    Obama was asked by,Barbara Walters on 20/20, what was his worst personality trait was. He said it was laziness.

    March 7, 2013 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  19. noteasilyswayed

    He's just pissed because he put all of that money in and the Republicans lost the election...... same guy that kept Gingrich in the race and threw away a lot of money there too. Billionaires expect to always win and for everyone around them to kiss their rears.

    March 7, 2013 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  20. Mike

    The man heads a news agency, openly exposes his bias, and people still lap his diarrhea up as fact.

    March 7, 2013 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  21. Gordonbains

    Trust Fox News to pick a wan ker to run the company.

    March 7, 2013 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  22. GO_GOP

    I fully agree with him. How our country chose Obama over Romney, or how smart people like Rick Santorum and Rick Perry got ignored in the primary process is a mystery I haven't been able to solve.

    March 7, 2013 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  23. BrightStar

    Speaking of pricks, look in the mirror Mr. Ailes.

    March 7, 2013 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  24. Rupert Murdoch

    I tell him everything he says. He is my puppet. I am only out for the interests of the upper-upper elite class. The middle-class peasants make me sick. The Democratic party makes me sick and that's why FOX news, which I own, is news only for the ultra-elite rich class. We at FOX news try to influence you stupid middle-class people to be in favor of my republican party and we use propaganda and dis-information to try to make the Democratic party look bad.

    March 7, 2013 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  25. nvmature

    I am a Democrat and forever will be. However, I don't believe any president from either party can seriously be called lazy. The job is just too demanding and consistent for laziness. I think you can argue some presidents aren't as sharp as others or politically astute as others, but lazy? No. None of them.

    March 7, 2013 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
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