Vanity Fair released an excerpt from a new book about Roger Ailes by Zev Chafets, Rush Limbaugh’s biographer, called “Roger Ailes: Off Camera,” which includes some candid quotes from Ailes about everyone from President Obama to MSNBC to Newt Gingrich.
Here are the highlights:
“M.S. is a damn disease”
On Rupert Murdoch:
“Does Rupert like me? I think so, but it doesn’t matter. When I go up to the magic room in the sky every three months, if my numbers are right, I get to live. If not, I’m killed. Our relationship isn’t about love—it’s about arithmetic. Survival means hitting your numbers. I’ve met or exceeded mine in 56 straight quarters. The reason is: I treat Rupert’s money like it is mine.”
On Newt Gingrich:
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.”
“Obama’s the one who never worked a day in his life. 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.” He noticed my arched eyebrows and added, “I didn’t come up with that. Obama said that, to Barbara Walters.” (What Obama said was that he feels a laziness in himself that he attributes to his laid-back upbringing in Hawaii.)
On Marco Rubio and Joe Biden:
“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.”
Though Ailes cooperated with Chafets, there’s another, unauthorized version of Ailes’ biography coming out soon by New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, called “The Loudest Voice in the Room: Fox News and the Making of America.”