Fox News chief Roger Ailes says President Barack Obama is “lazy’’ and claims the commander-in-chief “never worked a day in his life,’’ a controversial new book claims.
Ailes also takes shots at Vice President Joe Biden, saying, “he’s as dumb as an ashtray,” and at Newt Gingrich, who he says is a “sore loser.”
In his upcoming biography, “Roger Ailes: Off Camera,’’ author Zev Chafets writes that Ailes reacted to a crack by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen that Ann Romney, wife of last year’s Republican presidential candidate, “never worked a day in her life,” with his own blunt opinion of the president.
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“Obama’s the one who never worked a day in his life. He never earned a penny that wasn’t public money,’’ Ailes said, according to Chafets.
“How many fundraisers 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.”
Ailes insists, however, that he didn’t come up with Obama’s “lazy’’ tag — but rather the president did himself during a 2011 interview with Barbara Walters in which he described his most deplorable trait as “deep down, underneath all the work I do, I think there’s a laziness in me.’’
Ailes, who granted Chafets one-on-one interviews for the biography, also takes the gloves off on Vice President Joe Biden.
“I have a soft spot for Joe Biden. I like him. But he’s dumb as an ashtray,’’ Ailes says, according to the book, which is published by Penguin Sentinel and excerpted on VanityFair.com
Chafets’ biography shows there’s no love lost between Ailes and Obama and details a testy sit-down between the two during the 2008 presidential campaign in which the future commander-in-chief lit into Sean Hannity.
“Obama was upset by Fox News,’’ writes Chafets. In a private room at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan, “Obama arrived with his aide Robert Gibbs, who seated Ailes directly across from Obama, close enough for Ailes to feel the intention was to intimidate him.
“[Ailes] didn’t mind; in fact, he rather appreciated the stagecraft, one political professional to another.’’
Chafets says 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.
“Ailes didn’t deny that Hannity was anti-Obama. He simply told the candidate not to worry about it.
Ailes is quoted as responding: “Nobody who watches Sean’s going to vote for you, anyway.”
According to Chafets, Obama then asked Ailes what his personal concerns were.
“Ailes said he was mainly concerned about Obama’s strength on national security issues. The candidate assured Ailes that he had nothing to worry about,’’ the author writes.
“‘Well, why are you going around talking about making cuts in weapons systems?’ asked Ailes. ‘If you’re going to cut, why not at least negotiate them and get something in return?’”
Obama said Ailes was misinformed, according to Chafets. “He said this looking me right in the eyes,” says Ailes. “He never dropped his gaze, which is the usual tell. It was as good a lie as anyone ever told me.
“I said, ‘Senator, I just watched someone say exactly that on my computer screen before coming over here. Maybe it wasn’t you, but it sure looked like you and sounded like you. I think it was you.’”
At that point, according to Chafets, “Gibbs stood and announced that the session was over. ‘I don’t think he liked the meeting very much,’ says Ailes.’’
Ailes doesn’t let the GOP get by without some criticism.
Of Gingrich, he says, the former GOP House Speaker is a “sore loser and if he had won he would have been a sore winner.” The book claims Ailes also described Gingrich with an obscenity.
Chafets’ book is one of two new biographies on Ailes. The second is the upcoming “The Loudest Voice in the Room: Fox News and the Making of America,” by New York magazine writer Gabriel Sherman.
Meanwhile, The New York Times reports Ailes himself is writing his autobiography, although no date is set for its release.
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