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. California Don

    Speaking for all lazy ashtrays, I find his comparison insulting!

    March 7, 2013 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  2. labman57

    Ailes continues to be a shining beacon of contemptuousness and acrimony for all of the "fair and balanced" commentators in his employ.

    March 7, 2013 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  3. BeverlyNC

    FOX is the ultimate in LAZY. They do not report actual new with verified sources and credible journalism. They just sit around and make up false and bigoted garbage passed to them by the Republican Party. It's why most of the nation sees them as a joke.

    March 7, 2013 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  4. Teej

    Poor. He sounds like he's got some jealousy issues.

    March 7, 2013 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  5. fernace

    As a Texan I recall that W was hanging out at his Crawford ranch so much, that I started to think maybe Washington had been moved to Texas!!

    March 7, 2013 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  6. fernace

    So working in the public sector means "never having worked a day in your life"! I'm sure this is news to every politician, military personell, government agency employees.....hmm!!

    March 7, 2013 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  7. Liber8me

    Is Ailes the head of the same Fox News that calls itself "Fair & Balanced?" LMAO!

    March 7, 2013 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  8. jamie

    To make this short and sweet, it's racial because a white man said it!! Bush was stupid and also called Hitler but guess what he's white so it's ok.. Evert time i here racial there is a black man involved and he's screaming it!

    March 7, 2013 03:42 am at 3:42 am |
  9. Spockish

    Ailes leads an organization that passes off lies and distortion as truth. He's a waste of skin.

    March 7, 2013 04:43 am at 4:43 am |
  10. captnavenger

    This Just In: Somebody who makes millions spreading hateful lies about people he doesn't like has hateful lies to spread about people he doesn't like! More surprises in store! Stay tuned!

    March 7, 2013 05:20 am at 5:20 am |
  11. Peter

    Ailes is his usual crude, boorish self. He seems to think it is appealing.

    So typical of the Hannity / O'Reilly technique of playing to the bottom feeders.

    March 7, 2013 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  12. Marie MD

    Of course, because being on a job 24/7 365 for the last four years plus is being lazy.
    Did this fat behind ever say anything about the shrub's 43 280 days of vacation vs 85 for Obama in the same time period? The President plays basketball and golf to relax. The shrub #43 ran every morning and spent all of his vacations cutting shrub in that ugly ranch in midland.
    Right wing zealots are really out of control. Even o'reilly had a shouting match calling one of his guests a liar. faux news is losing their followers and they are getting more and more desperate that the country is turning against them and their lunatic ideas.

    March 7, 2013 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  13. Mike

    He does not know how to lead. Obama is not lazy, he is just not a leader.

    March 7, 2013 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  14. Ram

    Fauxi is a race baiting clan.

    March 7, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  15. fxalbert

    Words of wisdom from a man who would steal the shoes off a blind person and sell his mother for a buck.

    March 7, 2013 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  16. Republican supporter of President Obama

    Disgusting and disrespectful. Glad that most people have the good sense to ignore such idiotic people such as him – after President Obama is still in office.

    March 7, 2013 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  17. cmh01

    Anyone remember how hard FOX 'news' works to get get MSNBC and NPR guys fired for having a political offiliation? Wonder how hard they will call for Roger to step down over this...

    March 7, 2013 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  18. Drake

    They lost to a lazy guy TWICE!

    March 7, 2013 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  19. Stephen

    What an insignificant, twisted little man. Maybe when he's finished dictating a book to his ghost writer (the guy who does all the work), and the book is instantly relegated to the "you must be kidding" bin, he will try his hand at running for public office...nah, it sounds like too much work.

    March 7, 2013 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  20. Patrick

    "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.""


    March 7, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  21. Patrick O'Donnell

    Go back to your "lamestream" news. The majority of the country isn't listening anyhow. Except for laughs.

    March 7, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  22. abby1

    This man is very obnoxious.

    March 7, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  23. Michael

    Fox is the very last insult to reporting. Forget lazy and the newt; remember hannity and o'reily as the most twisted newscasters ever; they could not tell the truth if it hit them in the face.

    March 7, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Ailes is just succumbing to his hatred. George W. Bush took well over 180 vacation during his first term, which works out roughly 7 weeks per year. Ailes didn't complain about that. Pres. Obama took just over 60 days during his first term.

    March 7, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  25. Julian

    A lazy socialist indeed!!

    March 7, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
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