Roger Ailes, president of Fox News, urged Gen. David Petraeus to run for president in the spring of 2011, according to a report from the Washington Post published late Monday.
So in spring 2011, Ailes asked a Fox News analyst headed to Afghanistan to pass on his thoughts to Petraeus, who was then the commander of U.S. and coalition forces there. Petraeus, Ailes advised, should turn down an expected offer from President Obama to become CIA director and accept nothing less than the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top military post. If Obama did not offer the Joint Chiefs post, Petraeus should resign from the military and run for president, Ailes suggested.
According to tapes of the 90-minute, wide-ranging conversation between Petraeus and the analyst, former national security and Pentagon aide Kathleen T. McFarland, Ailes conveyed through McFarland that he would consider leaving Fox News in order to run his campaign and that Rupert Murdoch might "bankroll" it. Petraeus said he would consider the CIA job if it was offered.
Ailes told the Post that he had sent the message but that it had not been serious. “It was more of a joke, a wiseass way I have,” he said. “I thought the Republican field [in the primaries] needed to be shaken up and Petraeus might be a good candidate.”