Fox News chairman Roger Ailes allegedly sent political analyst Kathleen McFarland to Afghanistan to tell then-General David Petraeus that he should run for president in 2012 and that Rupert Murdoch would “bankroll” the campaign.
Bob Woodward of The Washington Post obtained recorded conversations between David Petraeus and Kathleen McFarland, a Fox News analyst who flew to Kabul in the spring of 2011 to pitch the idea to him.
At the time, David Petraeus was the commander of the Allied Forces in Afghanistan, and Kathleen McFarland said that if President Barack Obama didn’t offer him a position like the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or something comparable, Petraeus should consider a run for the Republican nomination.
Apparently David Petraeus was unaware that the conversation was being recorded, and Bob Woodward has since gained access to those tapes.
Kathleen McFarland is heard saying that the “advice to you from Roger Ailes is…. He says that if you’re offered (JCS) chairman, take it. If you’re offered anything else, don’t take it; resign in six months and run for president,” according to The Washington Post.
“Tell him if I ever ran…but I won’t…but if I ever ran, I’d take him up on his offer… He said he would quit Fox,” David Petraeus said of Roger Ailes’ alleged offer to help run his possible campaign.
David Petraeus was apparently clear in his rejection of the offer, but also reaffirmed that he respected and liked Roger Ailes.
In the light of his resignation from his CIA post and ensuing sex scandal, another one of David Petraeus’ reasonings against a presidential run is particularly interesting.
He said during the taped conversation that he would not run because “my wife would divorce me. And I love my wife… we have a beautiful house, with his and hers bathrooms, believe it or not. I just want to live in it. I’ve never spent a night in it.”
He also went on to say that in addition to heading up the Joint Chiefs, David Petraeus would consider heading up the CIA as its director if he was offered the position.
He explained that since the military efforts in the Middle East would be ramping down in the following months, much emphasis would be placed on the intelligence community, which piqued David Petraeus’ interest in running the CIA.
That prediction came true just a few weeks after the conversation took place.
When asked for comment for The Washington Post piece, Roger Ailes said that while he did ask McFarland to bring the idea up to David Petraeus, he never meant it seriously.
He explained that he suggested the conversation as a way to get a message across that he felt that, in the early stages of the Republican presidential primary, the main candidates left something to be desired and David Petraeus would shake up the field.