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Roger Ailes (Fox News/2MK)
Fox News chief Roger Ailes reportedly called Newt Gingrich a "sore loser" after the former House Speaker complained that the top-rated cable news network's support for Mitt Romney was one of the reasons he lost the 2012 Republican primary.
"Newt's a prick," Ailes told his personal spokesman, according to an upcoming book, "Roger Ailes: Off Camera," by Zev Chafets, a writer who was given unprecedented access to the outspoken executive. Excerpts from the book were published on Wednesday by VanityFair.com.
After Gingrich's public complaints, the spokesman had asked Ailes for guidance on how to respond.
"Brush him back," Ailes said, according to Chafets. "He's a sore loser, and if he had won he would have been a sore winner."
In the book, due later this month, Ailes sounds off on several other figures of the 2012 presidential race:
"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."
Ailes also spoke about his relationship with his boss, News Corp. CEO 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."
And President Barack Obama:
"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."
Ailes himself is portrayed as a bit of a micromanager with a paranoid streak. During a tour of Fox Business' street-level studios in New York with the network's chief engineer, Ailes had discussed the installation of bullet-proof glass:
Ailes walked over to the huge windows facing Sixth Avenue.
"What's the stop on this glass?"
"Three fifty-seven caliber," said the engineer.
"At what range?"
"Close up," the engineer said.
Ailes nodded. You put a television show on street level, you had better be prepared for armed critics.