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. d slocum

    Since Ailes has no qualifications whatsoever to criticise the three men with distinguished political careers, why would any of the three comment on his ignorance. He covered that pretty well himself. He runs a cheesy tabloid TV network that promotes divisiveness, yellow journalism, propaganda and outright lies. Ailes has NO credibility.

    March 6, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. Guest

    We already knew he was a lazy tail.

    March 6, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. Ted Bickford

    President Obama has made millions in book sales, it is still where the majority of his income comes from.

    March 6, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. mark w

    Mike J

    FAUX News where empty drums make the noise & Ailes is just a dim light in the hallway of life.
    You do realize the groups who voted overwhelmingly for obama are statistically the least educated people in the country ...
    axelrod is a genius

    March 6, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. RN

    Obama may consider himself very lazy. Yet, he cannot compete with Bush Jr for the number of vacation days taken. W set a record for the number of days off, the number of days he spent on his ranch clearing brush and his unwillingness to be more active in the work of this country. For any conservative to complain now about a leader who is lazy shows a pathological lack of awareness of their own party.

    March 6, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. jim

    Once again, irony prevails. Mr. Ailes' network's lack of "balance" in its polling and reporting of the 2012 Presidential race helped contribute to Mr. Obama's victory, as Mr. Romney was led to believe that he was in the lead by Fox's inaccurate polling. This misinformation led Romney's team to take the foot off of the gas in the last month of the campaign. Kind of looks like Fox got lazy.

    Nice oversight, Roger.

    March 6, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  7. John R.

    Roger Ailes is a lazy, dumb prick.

    March 6, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  8. Dave The Butcher

    So the head of fox news is critical of Obama. In other news the sky is blue.
    More of the same "Democrats wants to cater to people who don't want to work", "Liberals want a socialist agenda that takes away guns". Blah Blah Blah. The Government has been bought and our version of democracy has failed. Democrats and Republicans are both guilty. Now stop the finger pointing and let's figure out how to wipe it all clean and start over. Big Business is not the answer, neither is Big Government. There has to be an ideal compromise (remember that word?).

    March 6, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  9. Mr. Moderate

    Ummmm...Roger, in addition to yet another thinly disguised racial attack, you are lying. The President worked for many years for University of Chicago, a PRIVATE college.

    March 6, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. Drew

    Ow, that must really hurt, to have a puffy, wheezing white guy whose dream of fulfilling Richard Nixon's pro-Republican news station has come true, to call you "lazy."

    March 6, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. Name

    He's right liberals just can't see the truth

    March 6, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. Larry

    Right the President is lazy – so you know him personally and you work along side him and so you know that statement is true? As usual you are a know nothing fool spouting BS in an endless stream. I'm just wondering how many groundless rumors he has likely started ini his lifetime. Let's guess and then tell the world our guess is fact.

    March 6, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. tuscany590

    Shocking, all the Obama sheep here blasting Fox News..But as usual, they are 100% correct..Obama is more incompetent than Carter and a bigger liar than Nixon..See how easy it is to be bipartisan.

    March 6, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. Daniels

    Hahahaha years later and people still have no other response than to blame Bush or blindly defend or attack Obama... God forbid there's a middle ground. THAT'S the real problem with this counrty folks.. all the nut jobs on the extreme side of issues (right and left).. Our political parties reflect and play into this. We are just the suckers who actually care..

    March 6, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  15. ghostriter

    I think outside of riding the Weiner-mobile, Paul Ryan is a career politician. I'm just saying....

    March 6, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC


    When the man is right the man is right. Obama is lazy and caters to people who are not willing to work. Name one part of his statement that is not true
    President Obama worked harder than Mitt Romney and won the election. He came better prepared for the debates, for one.

    March 6, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  17. Dispatches from the Bubble

    You do realize the groups who voted overwhelmingly for obama are statistically the least educated people in the country ...


    Another "fact" from Ailes backside?

    March 6, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. Country Above Parties

    Republicans who hate everything "foreign" love foreign owned propaganda machine FOX NEWS. (how stupid it's called "NEWS"). It is an insult to laughable to brand themselves as "FAIR and BALANCED". Yes, they serve the LAZY people of America who want entertainment and sex appeal out of so-called news. Shame on nuckle-head crowd.

    March 6, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. Flagship, NC

    A puffy, wheezing white guy having a childish fit.
    Makes him look very, very bad.

    March 6, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. aCriticalEye

    Faux Noise is NOT, and I repeat NOT....NEWS. It is ENTERTAINMENT, they were taken to court for openly lying. The outcome of the court decision said it all, Faux is Noise. They do not have to tellthe truth any more than rush Limbaugh, they are merely entertainment.
    Faux Noise is also the only outlet NOT allowed in Canada for lying.
    For all you hard core GOP/Tea Nuts out there, ever wonder why all the pre election polls said Mr Obama was winning but Faux was the only outlet that had RobMe as winning. Faux lies.....repeatedly.

    My personal favorite is how you GOP/Tea Nuts chant how ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, PBS etc are all liberal media. NEWS FLASH, it's called responsible journalism, which implies telling the truth.

    March 6, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. John in Brooklyn

    I don't think I've ever heard anything more overtly racist by such a prominant figure in decades, with Ailes essentially referring to our first African American president as "shiftless". Ironically, by comparison to George W. Bush, Obama is trending toward taking less than HALF of the vacation days....and we never heard hypocrite Mr. Ailes burp a word of criticism about Bush's "lazyness".

    March 6, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    "Newt's a prick," Ailes succinctly concluded..."

    Oh, Mr. Ailes... you disgust me on so many levels.
    It's too bad CNN wants to follow this man into journalistic irrelevency.
    Sean Hannity. Megan Kelly. Bill O'Reilly. Michelle Malkin. Sarah Palin.
    Shrills making millions off the stupidity of the Grand Old Party cult of followers.
    They tune in for hate. They live for hate. They endorse hate.

    March 6, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. Weasley

    Just more GOP propaganda from the No-News Fox News. Nothing new here. Moving on.

    March 6, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. Luis

    We the People depend on the media to learn what is going on in our country and in our Government. When 95% of the Media is in the tank with one particular party, I feel we have lost the "concept of a free media".
    It becomes a situation very similar to Government controlled Media.

    March 6, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  25. Ethan

    Every girl that has ever rejected was also lazy, I tried to talk people into giving me money but they wouldn't–they were just lazy, I tried to make people view every issue the same way I did but when they refused–they wer just plain lazy.


    March 6, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
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