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. Pedrons

    Grow up people at least Ailes have some cajones,

    March 7, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  2. Tracy

    I don't get all the hate posted here towards this man. He's only speaking the truth about Obama. Gee, so many seem to hate the truth.

    March 7, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. headoff

    So Ailes gets 30 million in salary for fake news, part of which come from a terrorist of Saudi Arabia, and he call OB lazy?

    March 7, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    If Obama is lazy, then what does that make Mitt Romney and the entire Republican Congressional Caucus? Romney was beaten in an electoral landslide. Republicans have been manuevered into strategical boxes for the past two years and running.

    March 7, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  5. Larke Marie

    I agree, Obama said that about himself! We need more honest talk, I commend Mr Ailes for having the guts to speak up.

    March 7, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. wiseup:

    ssme people who was calling Romney winning by a landside in 2012 election,and then surprisedthat it was there polls that was terribly inaccurate. Then they were very surprised Romney was defeated by over 200 electorial votes. Now Fox News only response is to call Obama names.

    March 7, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  7. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    Fox News Chief will be losing his job once obama is out of office.

    March 7, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Fox News Channel was launched in 1996, just 30 days prior to the general election. It began life as a "fair and balanced" 24/7 news channel, but it quickly became apparent that the outlet was biased. Almost all political ads being broadcast were all for conservatives, and most of the talks shows had clear right wing bias.

    March 7, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  9. kite005

    Ahh yes, fair and balanced.

    March 7, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. Homer and Jethro

    "the truth about Obama. Gee, so many seem to hate the truth." The truth is Obama is doing a decent job considering the entire GOP is set against America right now, frantic to kill the recovery. They are even going to allow weapons on airplanes again, hoping and planning for an "al-Qaeda attack" in time to blame Obama and maybe get elected one more time. It's not gonna work. We can all see what you are doing, lies and all.

    March 7, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. Fair is Fair


    Racists pig oinks racist words. Story at 11.
    Race-baiter Sniffit race-baits again. Story at 11.


    March 7, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  12. Charles

    Mr. Ailes, why don't you ask that career soldier if he's ever worked a day in his life? That's public money, isn't it?

    March 7, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. Don

    I wouldn't characterize Obama as lazy. He's working diligently for the globalist agendas including but not limited to "easing" in the use of drone strikes on American citizens without due process.

    March 7, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. Sniffit


    Racists pig oinks racist words. Story at 11.
    Race-baiter Sniffit race-baits again. Story at 11.


    Programmed Teatroll responds to objective observation of racism with knee-jerk accusation of race baiting. Color us all shocked.

    Cry about it. We all know the "Obama is lazy" nonsense is intended to play directly into the widespread, pervasive belief among Faux's radicalized target audience that "they" are all "lazy, feckless and living off the government teat."

    March 7, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  15. lucianne

    Seriously? Lazy black man,shuffling his feet but not saying YASSAH with enough enthusiasm? The guys at the federal trough who aren't working are the members of congress who would rather stomp their feet and take their toys and go home than work for the good of the citizens of this country. Tea parties are for little girls with imaginary friends.

    March 7, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. Bassmaster22

    Still trying to figure out why any reporters, media personalities or tv news execs are at all relevant. Just another example of the blurred line between reporting the news and becoming it. These people should be invisible, opinionless robots. Just give me the news and keep your opinions to yourself. If I want an opinion, I'll ask the cranky old man down the street.

    March 7, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. Momto3

    Ha! President Obama came from a mostly single parent family and lower middle class upbringing. When that is your situation you cannot be remotely lazy to make it to where he has! You have to work much harder because you do not have a wealthy family to pay for your college or even your living expenses while you are going to college. You have to work hard to get scholarships to help pay your way. Now Mitt Romney and George Bush - they never had to give a thought about how to pay for school. They didn't have to worry about qualifying for scholarships. There was always a wealthy family there to write a check for whatever they needed. Roger Ailes is an extremely dishonest and unethical man. It doesn't surprise me that he would say something insulting about our President. This is a strange choice of criticism, though.

    March 7, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lawd I can't believe this thread is still open...why? Its' the head of FOX fro chrissakes! Who cares what he thinks.

    Don't you know, Domininca mama? FOX is THE place to be when living in GOPerville. Julian told us so. GOPers and GOPettes can't get enough of their Hannity, and their O'Reilly, and their Malkin, and their Coulter and, well ... CNN apparently wants some of that GOPer and GOPette ... hate and, well ... you know.

    March 7, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  19. GRS62

    Can't say I'm surprised at the bias displayed by Ailes, it's been clearly put out front on Fox news. I find it odd that the FOx news tag line is "Fair and balanced". What other news agency feels the need to convince (brainwash) it's viewers that it's "news" is unbiased?

    March 7, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. Terry A Gordon

    The President did not appear "LAZY" in the recent election!!! It is now understandable why FOX is number six of the five major networks. When is ailes going to get fox to number five, after all he is not "LAZY"

    March 7, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  21. steve harnack

    Who cares what the ugly little toad thinks about anything? The appalling nonsense that spews from his network tells you all you need to know about him and it's really no surprise how vindictive he is toward anyone who criticizes his network. He's the quintessential conservative boor.

    March 7, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Since a Saudi has significant financial stake in Fox News Channel, is Sen. Cruz going to question how much money Republican candidates for POTUS got from "Hamas Friends of Fox"?

    March 7, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. goldylox

    Ailes couldn't of said it better - as dumb as an ashtray is a Nice portrayal of Bite Me Biden - and obama being lazy was just a repeat of what obama said - But the best part was watching wolf blutzer hair explode as he gave the story - THAT WAS COMICAL

    March 7, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. sb9054

    Fox. Who really, really cares what they think? All they do is incite racism and violence.

    March 7, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  25. Wake up People!

    Come on Dominican Mama. Fox Lite loves the Obama haters.....

    I'm not surprised in the least bit.

    March 7, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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