Fox's Ailes Offered to Back Petraeus Presidential Bid

He urged general to reject CIA directorship, reports Bob Woodward
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2012 12:17 AM CST
Fox Chief Offered to Back Petraeus Presidential Bid
Gen. David Petraeus, then top commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, salutes during a changing of command ceremony in Kabul last year.   (AP Photo/Musadeq, File Sadeq)

Fox News chief Roger Ailes made a serious effort last year to enlist Gen. David Petraeus to seek the GOP nomination for president, reports Bob Woodward for the Washington Post. Fox News national security analyst Kathleen McFarland was asked to speak to the general on Ailes' behalf on a trip to Kabul, and to urge him to run for president if he was offered the CIA directorship instead of the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In a recording of the Kabul meeting obtained by the Post, McFarland suggested that Ailes, a former adviser to Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George HW Bush, might quit Fox to run Petraeus' campaign.

The pair discussed the possibility that Rupert Murdoch himself might bankroll a White House bid. But a run for president is "never going to happen," Petraeus told McFarland. "You know it’s never going to happen. It really isn’t." Ailes admits that he asked McFarland to speak to the general, but says it was "more of a joke, a wiseass way I have. I thought the Republican field needed to be shaken up and Petraeus might be a good candidate." Ailes says that there is now "zero chance" he would return to politics on behalf of Petraeus or anybody else. Click for Woodward's full report. (More Bob Woodward stories.)

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