Roger Ailes called Newt ‘a prick,’ Biden ‘dumb as an ashtray’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
Font Size:

According to excerpts released last night from the upcoming book “Roger Ailes: Off Camera” by columnist Zev Chafets, Fox News head Roger Ailes doesn’t think too highly of Newt Gingrich or Joe Biden.

Gingrich was critical of Fox News during his 2012 presidential bid, often accusing the network of demonstrating a pro-Romney bias.

One day during the 2012 primary season, Newt Gingrich complained that Fox News’s support for Mitt Romney was responsible for Gingrich’s poor showing. Rick Santorum had made a similar claim when he dropped out of the race. Gingrich and Santorum had been Fox commentators before getting into the race, and Ailes found their complaints self-serving and disloyal. Brian Lewis, his spokesman, asked Ailes for guidance on how to respond to Newt. “Brush him back,” Ailes said. “He’s a sore loser and if he had won he would have been a sore winner.” Lewis nodded.

Ailes was silent for a moment and then added, “Newt’s a prick.”

Ailes also considered Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio a viable pick for the vice presidential slot, according to Chafets:

“I like Marco Rubio,” Ailes told a staff meeting of Fox News Latino when talk about the Florida senator being Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential pick was at fever pitch. “But I don’t know about as a vice-presidential candidate. He’s a nice guy, and that role requires kicking the crap out of your opponents.” He paused, thinking about vice presidents he had known. “I have a soft spot for Joe Biden,” he said. “I like him. But he’s dumb as an ashtray.”

Chafets also described a meeting between then-Sen. Barack Obama, Ailes and News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch:

After some pleasantries, Obama got to the point. He was concerned about the way he was being portrayed on Fox, and his real issue wasn’t the news; it was Sean Hannity, who had been battering him every night at nine (and on his radio show, which Fox doesn’t own or control). Ailes didn’t deny that Hannity was anti-Obama. He simply told the candidate not to worry about it. “Nobody who watches Sean’s going to vote for you anyway,” he said.

However, as Chafets recounted, the meeting didn’t end particularly well:

At that point, Gibbs stood and announced that the session was over. “I don’t think he liked the meeting very much,” says Ailes.

The excerpts were released online by Vanity Fair magazine late on Tuesday.

Follow Jeff on Twitter