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. charles darwin

    Not much difference in reporting between Fox news and the Onion.
    Personally, I prefer the onion.
    This guy is a nobody anyhow.

    March 6, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. al

    I would suggest that the author is the lazy one. He can't even get his news organization to check any facts before running a story. The only thing he seems to work at is perpetuating lies about the president. He is nothing but a blowhard, nothing more.

    March 6, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. Glenn Rice

    A biography of Ailes? Who will buy that besides Ann Coulter and Rupert? Sarah would buy it too if there were more pictures than words......

    March 6, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. Tracey T

    Well I think that his "News" organization is made up of a bunch of partisan lying hacks.

    March 6, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  5. ArtInChicago

    I love white boy assessments of a black man that happens to be the most powerful individual on earth. Blows your eggshell fragile egos to see a person of color get off Air Force One, so you make up a false narrative that he is Muslim, Kenyan, a socialist, lazy, taking your guns, etc., to try to keep from going off the deep end.

    March 6, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. GQ

    I'm surprised he didn't wrap himself in the flag before adding some other stereotypes like thug, shiftless, un-american, welfare queen.

    March 6, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. ellid

    And yet Ailes and his network had nothing but praise for a man who spent nearly three of his eight years as President cutting brush in Texas. Can we say "double standard" boys and girls? Can we?

    March 6, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. sassafras

    @namethename, that doesn't make you any better than him then does it?

    March 6, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. hoohaa

    'Rupe the Duper' and his hired mouthpieces bought their influence in Britain with political endorsements. Now he's trying the same thing here. If the Brits had any balls Rupe would be on trial there for bribery and wiretapping.

    March 6, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. Laverne

    Yeah right, Obama is lazy, but was able to defeat the so called smart republicans TWICE, Joe Biden is as dumb as a ashtray, but is next in line to run this country should something happen to Obama and if Joe Biden is dumb, Sarah Palin is definitely dumber, the one you hired to give her political view, WOW! This man makes money by trashing and going after people, you can tell his fat ass haven't worked out a day in his life, nothing but his fat mouth!

    March 6, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  11. sassafras

    Since when would we have expected anything different from FOX? This is news? Why?

    March 6, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  12. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Mitt Romney worked so hard all his life that he refused to show his taxes and had to hide his illegal earnings and investments in off shore accounts. Let's face it, most of the 2%ers in this country never worked a day in their lives and neither has any conservative member of congress with the exception of a few like Senator Lugar. When was the last time has the GOPT done the work they're being paid to do??? Never.

    March 6, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. lazylinda

    If it looks like a swine and it talks like a swine, it must be . . . .

    March 6, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. Thatguy371

    With the bushels of blubber hanging off Ailes, he's certainly the one to call ANYONE lazy... not to mention the fact he isn't even running a news channel... but instead an ultra rightie opinion channel. Canada has it right... BAN Fox 'news'.

    March 6, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. Wake up People!

    @Ray. While I definitely feel your anger at this thing that calls himself a man. We can't hold fault all whites. There are many in our corner now and we wouldn't be where we are today if not for many more. Think of all the innocent whites that were killed during the Civil Rights movement simply for trying to help us blacks have rights.
    White women were murdered simply for having a black man in their car.

    We also can't forget the abolitionists that were completely against slavery.

    March 6, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. winchester74

    Why would anyone believe anything a right wing fascist blob of lard like Roger Ailes has to say? Ailes is the Dr. Joseph Goebbels of the fascist corporate criminals who control Faux News. "“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State." And that, in a nutshell, is the entire game plan of Faux News.

    March 6, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  17. stevetall

    We should have imprisoned this guy long ago just for being a former Nixon speechwriter. Roger Ailes is a first-class tool for the right-wing John Bircher-related Koch brothers, and none of them have anything to offer besides greed, hate, and the end of the American dream. Together they have done more to slow American evolution in the areas of intelligence, compassion, and salvation then anyone who has ever lived. Screw this clown and the horrer he represents. Hopefully his genes have not been passed on to future generations.

    March 6, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. Homer and Jethro

    Who cares what this rich, fat, soft, old man has to say? He's still angry that no one fell for his Mitt scam.

    March 6, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. Nodack

    Roger Ailes has been bought and paid for by the Republican Party. Sort of, the Saudis own most of FOX so you have to say he is a GOP/Saudi stooge and give them credit for owning his soul as well.

    March 6, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. Gurgyl

    Fox is foxy...

    March 6, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. Michael A. (Wake Forest, NC)

    Incredible, this person (I use the word loosley) calls himself a newsman running a news organization and can't even make a valid point of view in regards to opposing the policies and politics of our president. How in the world can people listen to him and take him seriously? Anyone who resorts to name calling in order to defend a point of view has a very limited intelligence and in my opinion is quite insecure in their own skin.

    March 6, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. mlmcleod

    Judging from the state of this guy's chins and jowls, I'd say he is the lazy one.

    March 6, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. albert

    Fux News, that's all I have to say...

    March 6, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  24. Cam Taylor

    Even though the people have spoken on which direction they want the country to go, yet the right wing fanatics are still trying to divide the country. How can anybody blame Obama when the republicans wanted to make him a one term president, by letting the country down and letting the people down, well it didn't work, now its to make him a bad president by screwing up the country and blaming him. If you listen you will hear its the right that hates government and hates the country, so if its anyone is trying to destroy the country just listen, they'll tell you its them.

    March 6, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. James Bond

    I love it, what a bitterold tool. one more piece of evidence, money cant make you happy, but it can make you delusional. he does not even consider his station part of the media, fox is anything but news, its all old recycled topics, over and over, not considered a real news channel

    March 6, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
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