Roger Ailes, founder and current chairman of Fox News, asked then-General David Petraeus to run for president last year, the Washington Post‘s Bob Woodward reported Monday.
The Post released a 13-minute audio recording of a spring 2011 conversation between Petraeus and a Fox News national security analyst. In the recording, the analyst, Kathleen T. Parker, says that she spoke “directly” to Ailes, and that his advice to Petraeus was to reject President Obama’s forthcoming offer to become CIA director and hold out for the top military post—chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“If you’re offered anything else [but JCS chairman],” McFarland relayed to Petraeus, “don’t take it; resign in six months and run for president.”
Petraeus laughed at the idea, saying he would consider running the CIA if Obama offered him the position—which the president did shortly thereafter. Petraeus did, however, indicate that he’d had similar conversations with Ailes in the past.
“Tell him [Ailes] if I ever ran,” Petraeus said, “but I won’t…but if I ever ran, I’d take him up on his offer…He said he would quit Fox…and bankroll it.”
He also told McFarland, “Rupert’s after me as well,” referring to News Corp. head Rupert Murdoch. McFarland agreed that “…the one who’s bankrolling it is the big boss [Murdoch].”
The recording starts with McFarland pointing out Petraeus’ close relationship with Fox News—”everybody at Fox loves you,” she says before asking Petraeus for his advice as to what Fox is doing right or wrong.
“The editorial policy of Fox had shifted,” Petraeus said. “It was almost as if, because they’re going after Obama, they had to go after Obama’s war as well.”