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. ThinkAgain: We don't have a spending problem; we have a Republican problem.

    @Thomas: "Ten years and $60 billion in American taxpayer funds later, Iraq is still so unstable and broken that even its leaders question whether U.S. efforts to rebuild the war-torn nation were worth the cost."

    GW, Dick & Co thought they could just waltz into Iraq and take over the oil fields, create a foothold to launch an attack against Iran and get the whole Middle East sewn up.

    It'd be funny it so many hadn't been killed, so much money wasted, so many patriotic Americans duped into believing somehow invading Iraq was in our national interest.

    There's a special place in Hades for Ailes and his ilk for their role in all this ...

    March 6, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  2. John

    Can you imagine wanting to read a book about the person known as Roger Ailes? Why in the world would he or his opinions be an object of interest?

    March 6, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. DanielinAZ

    I guess he forgot that Obama interned as law clerk during the summer for Sidney Austin, worked as an attorney for nearly a decade, and worked as an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago Law School (a private university). All of those are private sector jobs. It is surprising that people will spew things as if the public does not know better.

    March 6, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Food for Thought: Fat guy calls fit and trim guy, "lazy."

    March 6, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain: We don't have a spending problem; we have a Republican problem.

    @bcrunner: "@Thomas: $60 billion? The Iraq war has cost close to a trillion dollars in direct costs to the defense department without the hidden costs and futre costs to take care of the wounded and the veterans."

    Actually, the projected cost is between $2-$3 trillion.

    March 6, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. OhReally


    Yes, the world just fell apart after GW Bush left office. When the GOP controlled everything there were no wars, no dept, do unfunded medicare spending (remember part D), and no economic crisis. No put down the crack pipe and step away...

    March 6, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. Donna

    Obama has proven over the last 4 years he is as lazy as he says he is. All he likes doing and does a lot of it is hob knob with celebrities and Hollywood elite. He thinks that is what being President is all about. The leftists and LSM have fashioned an Obama cult where only praise may be expressed concerning the Dear Leader Kim Jung Obama.

    March 6, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  8. Woman In California

    The most laziest president of all time. He is nothing but a narcissist.


    Typical TPer language: most and laziest DON'T belong in the same sentence. The president graduated from Harvard can you say the same?

    March 6, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  9. vic , nashville ,tn

    What I learn from FOX news in past 24 hours
    News Anchors don’t understand simple math and they screaming and calling names

    March 6, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. Mark Bernadiner

    FoxNews is the most objective, truthful and knowlegable media in US, as I check out almost each of them against documentary facts.

    March 6, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  11. Thomas

    Why didn't Roger Ailes play Alfred Hitchcock in the Movie ?

    March 6, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. Observer

    They are the same dim bulbs that immediately lied when he was re-elected that it was the worst election results of any 2nd term president.

    No integrity for FOX News.

    March 6, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. Molly Harper

    If I cared what Ailes thought I wouldn't be reading the CNN website.

    March 6, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. Kevin Madigan

    Before that blob calls ANYONE lazy, he ought to take a look at himself in a full length mirror just before stepping into the shower!

    March 6, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. dreamer96

    And who looks more like Porky Pig with glasses...

    March 6, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  16. kayla

    if you want my humble opinion, i dont' think anybody either in congress or the house works.and if they do 3 months tops in a year. you call that work?

    March 6, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  17. Lynda/Minnesota

    "There's a special place in Hades for Ailes and his ilk for their role in all this ... "

    Yes. Yes there is. And the good news is, they get to take their "toys" and their "hate" with them when they go to that special place reserved just for them and their ilk.

    March 6, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  18. Woman In California

    But you play by the traditional rules, stay in school and get an education and defy the odds and become a person of stature or a model citizen like Ambassador to the UN or Attorney General, or President and First Lady of the United States of American and all of a sudden, to conservatives you're a bum and you're lady.


    I told you Blah, blah the Obama's MADE IT. Despite all the racist garbage tallied against them they made it and it kills these pigs that they can't include them in their TP statistics. Count my family "IN" to. We also made it without the help of these bigots.

    March 6, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. Allie

    This just in: Dude with jowls calls president lazy.

    March 6, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  20. just askin

    Rudy NYC
    Food for Thought: Fat guy calls fit and trim guy, "lazy."

    so you claim skinny people can't be lazy and all fat people are lazy? pretty dumb.

    obama is lazy with regards to doing his job as president. please try to keep up.

    March 6, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  21. Roger

    I agree with him on both Obama and Biden. Obama has no idea of what it takes to really do things because he's lived his life on public money – not far different from when ALL of his people lived in the housing projects. And as for Biden, he's learned how to parrot political rhetoric over the years, but he's dumb as an ash tray.

    March 6, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  22. CTYank

    Like most of his recent wonder-minions, Rog likes one-way conversations, where he can avoid anything objective.
    Outsource this "journalistic" tumor! Total absence of integrity.

    March 6, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  23. FunnyDude

    It's not that Obama is lazy, it's that he has no ambition to solve problems. Name one bill he is known for in his Senate career. Name one bill he is known for as an Illinois politician. You can't, there are none. Notice how he fixed immigration his first term? Oh, ooops. Unemployment, Not. The man is the epitome of a "politician" and the left praises him. He did get Obamacare...his first and only accomplishment....and it is a terrible law. A joke...yes.

    March 6, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  24. Jack

    Here we go again....

    March 6, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  25. baa

    So in Ailes’ logic, the 18 y/o that joined the Army, spent 40 years serving his country “never worked a day in his life. He never earned a penny that wasn't public money”. Same for the firefighter, policemen, teacher, all must be lazy based on this logic.

    March 6, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
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