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. norma jean

    Roger so many in the Repub side of our world...lives in his own little dream world!!!.....His comments about the lack of a working world for our president are so typical of the Repub. thinking. Aside from being in the U.S. senate..Illinois state Senate, Community organizer ,,Civil Rights attorney,Chicago Univ. proffessor,and a Harvard association with the Harvard Review... I guess Obama did have some down time in there somewhere!!!!..,..So lets hear what Ailies has done!!!

    March 6, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. David

    JJ, have you actually done any research or do you just parrot talking points? Because virtually every word of your post is factually incorrect, and the few things that are correct are used incorrectly.

    Out of curiosity, why, exactly, should the President be impeached?

    March 6, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  3. Chuck

    I don't think Ailes has missed too many meals in his day. When's his next 10k. Romney was a lousy governor with his foot out the door the day he took office. Came to my school to meet inner city folks and could not get out of the building fast enough

    March 6, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  4. K. in Miami

    The Grandwizard has spoken......

    March 6, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. Faux News

    Remember this is coming from Faux News...... whose motto is "make it up if you don't like the facts"

    March 6, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  6. Roger

    Ailes is the lazy one. He runs a "news" organization that doesn't care about truth or actual facts. It is only concerned with promoting its mean-spirited agenda of doing everything it can to support the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class.

    March 6, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. Greg

    Fox is simply the media arm of the GOP. Fox is so obvious about it that they have ended up preaching only to the choir. Fox and the GOP would be better served by a more neutral approach that views the world through a right-wing lens but is objective through that lens. With that approach, people not in the choir would give their reporting some credence. As is, it's easy to dismiss anything Fox has to say.

    March 6, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. Peace

    This is true and not a joke: Whenever I switch on my PC I go straight to Fox News Website. Not because I am a fan or like them, just to get the first depressing/bad news before I jump onto other sites. As I get used that always they operate that way, when I open other sites and find the same news, I never get depressed at all. It also happened to me today. I got first news that Hugo Chavez is dead from their website.

    March 6, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain: We don't have a spending problem; we have a Republican problem.

    @charles darwin: "Not much difference in reporting between Fox news and the Onion. Personally, I prefer the onion."

    The only difference I see is the tears I shed when reading the onion are tears of joy and the tears I shed when reading Fox talking points parroted by the fools who believe them? Sadness and despair that so many Americans are being duped.

    March 6, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. Cam Spurgeon

    Just an old man exerting power. Who takes him serious.His network is much worse than he is so let him be. Who cares what he says.

    March 6, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. MaryM

    Ailes, President of Faux news. lol laziest group of non news people in the business

    March 6, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. K. in Miami

    I don't understand how you get a network that thrives on lies and distortion of the truth to be objective. If I'm not mistaken, being objective is one of the core values regarding professional journalism.

    Fox News keeps Saturday Night Live in business, they are quite the joke.....

    March 6, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  13. Wake up People!

    Fox-lite strikes again......

    March 6, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. James Foley

    That a man in charge of a clearly biased sour grapes talking headf machine thinks Obama is lazy means absolutely nothing. The guy's a nobody and will forever remain in that position.

    March 6, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. James Bond

    Jj, why are you not outraged at george, he lied to us to go to war so haliburton could get billions in no bid military contracts?, please explain why that does not bother you, and how you can manage to blame hi for deaths caused by a war that was not his?, its called racism, and you need help with that, just sayin

    March 6, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain: We don't have a spending problem; we have a Republican problem.

    @JJ: Wow, take your meds, Dude. BTW, were you bothered by the White House memos that clearly showed Bush & Co. started planning an Iraqi invasion within a month of Bush being inaugurated? Or the way GW ignored the warning a month before 9/11 about al Qaeda – and instead of addressing the problem, took off for Crawford? Or even earlier than that, when the GW Bush transition team rebuffed Richard Clarke and other Clinton intelligence personnel when they were trying to impress upon Bush that the biggest threat to the U.S. was al Qaeda and bin Laden?

    How about GW Bush cutting taxes twice during wartime – something NEVER done before in our nation's history? Or passing unfunded Medicare Part D? Or the Clinton surplus going up in smoke because of that?

    How about Dick Cheney saying we'd be greeted as liberators in Iraq and that he'd be surprised if the war lasted 6 months? How did you feel when Cheney said that "deficits don't matter"?

    How do you feel about all these Americans who died under GW's watch (in addition to the 1000s who have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq):

    2002 U.S. Embassy Karachi, Pakistan: 10 killed, 51 injured
    2004 U. S. Embassy bombed in Uzbekistan: 2 killed, several injured.
    2004 U.S. Consulate Saudi Arabia: 8 killed
    2006 US. Embassy Syria: 1 killed, several injured
    2007 U.S. Embassy -Athens: building bombed with an anti-tank grenade...fortunately no one

    was in the building at the time.
    2008-U.S. Embassy – Serbia: 1 dead; Embassy set on fire
    2008- U. S. Embassy- Yemen- bombed 10 killed

    If you're looking for someone who should have been impeached, Bub, look no further than GW.

    March 6, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. Garrison Neighbor

    Roger Ailes is so completely detached from reality it's amazing he remembers his own name! IMO he's one of the biggest problems with this country, because the world has seen enough of his "news" shows that they realize it's nothing more than partisan, misleading, lies. Faux News is the laughing stock of the world!! What's truly pathetic is that so many Americans are stupid enough to actually watch and believe the garbage this windbag puts out there. I guess ya can't fix stupid and some people are just too racist/ignorant to deal with they keep watching. Sheeples.

    March 6, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  18. PearlieB

    Rogers Ailes, you are a waste of life and should be ashame of your mouth and what comes out of it. Your mentally is from old and you are old!!!!!!!!!!! President Obama has yet to have a decent vacation since he has been elected in 2008. He is constantly working for the people of this country including you, whether you like it or not. Give everyone a break and in the future choose your words wisley.

    March 6, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  19. ailes

    I'll bet Ailes couldn't keep up with Obama for a day. Hit the gym Roger.

    March 6, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. Dave

    Roger Ailes doesn't like Obama because Michelle Obama keeps talking about healthy eatting. And don't know why he said he wished he had time for basketball like the President. Can you imagine his little fat self trying to run up and down a court. The only running he does is back and fourth to the buffet line for seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths, etc.

    March 6, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  21. James Bond

    Clearly this man has a rigorous exercise routine, he is ugly inside and out

    March 6, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. db

    Why all the hate towards Mr. Ailes for telling the truth.

    March 6, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. Steven CaboWabo

    Anyone else think Ailes looks like the oldest love child of Droopy Dog and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew from the muppets?

    March 6, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. George

    This comes from Roger Ailes and Faux News and is, therefore, irrelevant drivel.

    March 6, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  25. db

    ThinkAgain: We don't have a spending problem; we have a Republican problem. (translated) Rudy NYC.

    March 6, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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