"Feast Your Eyes": Fox Swoons Over Rick Perry

››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER & REMINGTON SHEPARD

Following Texas Gov. Rick Perry's announcement that he will seek the GOP nomination for president, Fox News has relentlessly hyped his campaign, from promoting his policies to asking whether he would "ride his horse" rather than fly on Air Force One and defending his comments about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Fox Figures Promote Perry's Policies And Candidacy

Bolling: "I'm Going To Talk About Perry A Lot Today, Because I Really Find The Guy Compelling." On the August 17 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends, guest co-host Eric Bolling said that he was going to talk about Perry "a lot today" because "I really find the guy compelling." From the broadcast:

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): I know Senator Lieberman is always smiling and nonconfrontational. However, who can forget the confrontation he had with President Obama -- who was senator then -- who was questioning why Joe Lieberman was so vociferously defending John McCain as opposed to his own party? And remember, they were threatening to take his chairmanship away for a while, and they actually ran somebody in the Democratic Party against him, Ned Lamont, over in, in Connecticut. So it does not surprise me at all that he's still keeping his powder dry.

BOLLING: Yeah, he, he, yeah, absolutely. It would be very hard for him to kind of turn and go back, oh, Mr. Obama, I'm going to support you now after all that history. But I guess he's going to wait and see. But you got to think, again, I'm going to talk about Perry a lot today because I really find the guy compelling. This is someone you can get behind. This is someone he can absolutely get behind. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/17/11, via Media Matters]

Bolling On Perry: "Here Is The Real Winner Of The Weekend [Straw Poll]." On the August 15 broadcast of Fox News' The Five, Bolling held up a picture of Perry and declared, "Here is the real winner of the [Ames Straw Poll] weekend." From the broadcast:

BOLLING: You know, it was a great weekend. It was a fantastic weekend. Fox did a great job from top to bottom. You heard the candidates, you heard the people here. But really, I'm going to hold it up again. We held it up on Friday. Here's the real winner of the weekend, you guys. And Bob, look at that --

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE (co-host): Does he ever take a bad picture?

BOLLING: Have you noticed, have you noticed the sheer hatred of this guy from the left? I mean, David Axelrod out there, Krugman -- it goes on and on. They're just taking shots at Rick Perry. Good looking guy. Rick Perry -- I mean, he was the real winner of the weekend. [Fox News, The Five, 8/15/11, via Media Matters]

Gutfeld: "You Get Everything With [Perry]." On the August 15 broadcast of Fox News' The Five, co-host Greg Gutfeld stated of Perry: "You get everything with him. A guy who can create jobs. You got a guy who's religious who doesn't talk about it too much. You got -- you've got a guy who has conservative principles." From the broadcast:

GUTFELD: It's going to depend on who the candidate is, and the party will unite behind the candidate. And I do think if you look at somebody like Perry -- you could look at him as far right, but he's establishment. This is like -- this is like that whole cable package --

GUILFOYLE: Right --

GUTFELD: -- you get. You get everything with him. You're going to get, you got --

GUILFOYLE: You get HBO.

GUTFELD: A guy who can create jobs. You got a guy who's religious who doesn't talk about it too much. And you got -- you've got a guy who's got conservative principles.

GUILFOYLE: He's got a great jobs--

BOLLING: And the guy -- thank you. Say it. Right there.

GUILFOYLE: I was going to say a guy that knows how to create jobs --

BOLLING: There it is.

GUILFOYLE: We need help here in the economy --

BOLLING: That is the most important of all of them.

GUILFOYLE: You even have Democrats consulting with Governor Perry about how to get jobs back on track in their states. I happen to know one that visited him from California. [Fox News, The Five, 8/15/11]

Wallace Touts Perry's "Good Story To Tell About Job Creation." On the August 15 broadcast of Fox News' Special Report, guest-host Chris Wallace claimed that Perry has a "good story of job creation." From the broadcast:

WALLACE: All right, in the time we have left in this segment, let me start with you Jonathan, let's talk about Governor Perry. Governor of Texas for 10 years. Good story to tell about job creation. Somewhere between 35 to 40 percent of all the jobs created since the recession in Texas. But some questions about -- about his record. And -- and just sort of the unknown. Can he play at this level? What is your early read on Rick Perry?

JONATHAN WEISMAN (Wall Street Journal reporter): I think a lot of reporters were really impressed with watching him work the room in Waterloo and watching him today in Des Moines at the Iowa straw poll. He just has a very deft touch with the public. But that public that he's talking to is the conservative wing of the Republican Party. And he, he came at Obama with language that we haven't heard, saying that he's in this so that, you know, so that men in uniform, or men and women in uniform, can respect their commander in chief again, or we need a president who is in love with this country. That's the rhetoric that, you know, really gets conservative audiences going. But it still is untested out beyond that, beyond, you know, the republican electorate.

WALLACE: Karen, he is a bare knuckles politician.

KAREN TUMULTY (Washington Post correspondent): He is. And he has spent his entire career being underestimated. You talk to people in Texas, and they say Rick Perry is a very fierce campaigner, and he's a very good campaigner. But he has never been tested on a national level. He's also never been vetted by the national press. And while there is a good story to tell, in his Texas record, there's also -- has always been -- he is not a terribly popular figure in Texas. And he's not even a terribly popular figure among Texas Republicans. There are deep divisions in that party over the question of Rick Perry. [Fox News, Special Report, 8/15/11]

Morris: "Many People Say" Perry "Was Tea Party Before Tea Party Was Cool." On the August 16 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, guest host Clayton Morris said to Tea Party Express co-chairman Amy Kremer: "I'll ask you the same question that Michele Bachmann received no short of, like, 10 times on the Sunday talk shows this week. Why would somebody vote for Michele Bachmann if they're a tea party member as opposed to Rick Perry, who's been a governor and who, as many people say, was tea party before tea party was cool?" [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/16/11, via Media Matters]

Fox Figures Swoon Over Perry's Hair, Looks, Use Of Note Cards

Kilmeade On Perry's Use Of Note Cards During Speech: "You Have A Guy That Says In The Most Important Speech Of His Political Career, Says, I'm OK Winging It." On the August 15 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade stated of a Perry speech in South Carolina: "[Y]ou have a guy that says in the most important speech of his political career, says, I'm OK winging it." Kilmeade also stated: "It was so comfortable, as if it was coming off organically, and I think this country thirsts for what they don't have. Right now they have a president that even at awards ceremonies has two prompters." From Fox & Friends:

KILMEADE: And -- and by the way, Governor Perry not speaking -- I thought this was noteworthy -- in South Carolina as well as last night, not speaking with the prompter. He has little note cards with him. He might have it written out entirely -- but a totally different approach than most everybody else right now. He's willing to wing it and comes off extremely confident on stage.

CLAYTON MORRIS (guest co-host): Ann Coulter on our show yesterday called it the best presidential announcement speech she's ever seen. She linked to it on our website --

KILMEADE: In South Carolina?

MORRIS: In South Carolina, and speaking off the cuff like that. Interesting. And of course, someone who has been slammed for his prompter skills for a long time now is President Obama, who's starting his three state bus tour.

[...]

KILMEADE: I just love -- I thought the speech in South Carolina was interesting for Governor Perry. Came out so strong, so confident, and he lived up to the hype, at least initially, as he introduces himself to the country. What I also thought was fascinating, because we're in a position a lot of times to give speeches and talk without notes, he -- if he wrote it out verbatim, I'd be surprised. He put it here --

MORRIS: Right --

KILMEADE: And walked around. It was so comfortable, as if it was coming organically, and I think this country thirsts for what they don't have. Right now, they have a president that even at awards ceremonies has two prompters on each side.

GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): Yes, this reminds me of --

KILMEADE: Now you have a guy that says in the most important speech of his political career, says, I'm OK winging it. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/15/11]

Guilfoyle On Perry Photo: "Feast Your Eyes On That Hair Club For Men Shot." On the August 15 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle reacted to a photograph of Perry by saying, "Feast your eyes on that Hair Club for Men shot." [Fox News, The Five, 8/15/11, via Media Matters]

Gretchen Carlson: "We Don't Know If Governor Perry Would Even Want To Fly On Air Force One ... Maybe He'd Ride His Horse." Responding to a clip of President Clinton saying that, if president, Perry would "ride on Air Force One," Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson said, "Well, first of all, we don't know if Governor Perry would even want to fly on Air Force One. I mean, I think he would have to from time -- maybe he would ride his horse around town." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/16/11, via Media Matters]

Megyn Kelly Asks Guests: Do You Agree With Bill Clinton That Perry Is "A Good-Looking Rascal?" On the August 17 broadcast of Fox News' America Live, host Megyn Kelly asked her guests if they agreed with former President Bill Clinton's assertion that "Rick Perry is 'a good-looking rascal.' " From the broadcast:

KELLY: Let me ask you this -- Kirsten and then Ron. I want to ask you if you agree with our former president, Bill Clinton. Do you think that he's a good-looking rascal?

KIRSTEN POWERS (Fox News contributor): No.

KELLY: Ron?

RON BONJEAN (Republican strategist): I can't comment on that. I -- he has great hair, that's what I've been told. He's got -- he's got great hair.

KELLY: It's so interesting that that's how President Clinton chose to weigh in on him. And then he said, well, he speaks a lot of nonsense. But just the term, "he's a good-looking rascal." [Fox News, America Live, 8/17/11 via Media Matters]

Fox & Friends Turns To KISS Singer Gene Simmons' Twitter Feed To Hype Perry. On the August 18 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Carlson referenced messages tweeted by KISS singer Gene Simmons that predicted Perry would win the presidency in 2012. Simmons in one tweet asserted: "I voted for President Bush. I voted for President Clinton. I voted for President Obama. The next president will be Governor Rick Perry." From the broadcast:

CARLSON: You know how usually celebrities sometimes put themselves into politics and sometimes we say, "Oh, not again." But, you know, when they make predictions, it's worth noting. So let's talk about KISS frontman Gene Simmons -- he's been on this show before. And he says that he's made the correct call for president the last -- at least four times. He now says it's a done deal. Rick Perry will be president in 2012. Here are the tweets that he posted in the last few days: "I voted for President Bush. I voted for President Clinton. I voted for President Obama. The next president will be Governor Rick Perry."

KILMEADE: "Governor Perry worked for Al Gore and then switched Republican. He'll be our next president. I've never been wrong."

BOLLING: Have we fact-checked Gene Simmons, whether he voted --

KILMEADE: No, we have done no background on Gene Simmons. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/18/11, via Media Matters]

Fox Figures Defended Perry's Bernanke Comments As "Passionate," Using "Texas Swagger"

Bolling: "The Guy Is Passionate. He Said Stop Printing Money ... Nothing Wrong With That." On the August 17 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Bolling defended Perry's comment that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would be "almost tresaonous" if he "prints more money between now and the election." Bolling stated: "[T]he guy is passionate. He said stop printing money, you're ruining the country. Nothing wrong with that." Carlson later claimed, "We don't think that he actually thought out what treason means." From Fox & Friends:

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Yeah, and what [Perry] brought up yesterday is, saying in Texas, he's really upset about [what] Ben Bernanke says, he says it's almost treasonous to do what he's doing. Got some backlash on that, but he did not apologize for saying it.

BOLLING: Let me ask you something, Brian. You're going to play somebody in basketball, and you go, you know what? I'm not only going to beat you, I'm going to kill you. You think I'm actually going to kill you -- physically kill you? No, the guy is passionate. He said stop printing money, you're ruining the country. There's nothing wrong with that.

CARLSON: But when you're running for president, and we argued about this on the radio -- not argued, but debated -- that we don't think that he actually thought out what treason means, and that you can, you know, get the death penalty if you're convicted of treason. You're right, you just do figures of speech. But when you're running for president, unfortunately, every single thing you say now is going to be looked at and parsed and videotaped and picture taking, and it's just -- you have to be so incredibly careful. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/17/11, via Media Matters]

Napolitano: Perry "Was Using His ... Texas Swagger"; "I Would Have Applauded The Governor If I Was There." On the August 16 edition of Fox News' Your World, Fox Business host Andrew Napolitano reacted to Perry's comments by claiming, "I would have applauded if I was there," and stating that Perry was "using his, can I say, Texas swagger." From Your World:

NEIL CAVUTO (HOST): Well, he might have gotten a round of applause from that crowd, but the White House quickly blasting Governor Perry's warning for Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman. The presidential candidate standing by those remarks. To the judge, who says that the governor is expressing his frustrations with the economy. What do you make of it?

NAPOLITANO: Well, I would have applauded the governor had I been there. You know, politicians sometimes speak, even Reagan did this, with exaggerations in order to make their point. To be precise, treason is defined in the Constitution, and as horrible as QE3 would be, it's not treason. But --

CAVUTO: Quantitative easing -- buying up more paper by the Fed.

NAPOLITANO: Correct. Correct -- the funny money that they have just printed. Governor Perry was making a point. Most Americans understand what the Fed has done to us, and many Americans are against this happening again, because inflation is the cruelest tax of all. It was his way of expressing it. Did the governor threaten the chairman of the Federal Reserve? Absolutely not. Did he say some harm would come to him? Absolutely not. He was using his, can I say, Texas swagger, to say, you're not going to get away with this if you say it to me.

Napolitano later said Perry's comments "were appropriate and made a good, strong point." [Fox News, Your World, 8/16/11, via Media Matters]

On Fox, Michael Reagan Claims, "Most People In This Country Agree With Rick Perry ... It Is What It Is. Get Over It." On the August 16 edition of Fox News' America Live, guest and conservative commentator Michael Reagan reacted to Perry's comments by claiming that "[m]ost of the people in this country probably agree with Rick Perry." From America Live:

REAGAN: Most of the people in this country probably agree with Rick Perry here. Printing more money is not going to answer the problems we have in the United States of America. We're running a primary here, not a general election, and he knows who the audience is. The audience [would] say, 'We print enough money, we need to get our house in order.' And this is the governor who, in fact, has done nothing but create jobs in Texas since he's been there. Eleven years he has been the governor of Texas. He's been creating jobs. And that's what this election is going to be about.

Reagan later said that "people say things of that nature. I think sometimes we just -- we take this stuff too seriously in the middle of a campaign. It is what it is. Get over it." [Fox News, America Live, 8/17/11, via Media Matters]

Tucker Carlson: "Probably Best Not To Say Stuff Like That" But "The Fundamental Point He Makes Is Totally True." On the August 16 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson reacted to Perry's comments by stating:

CARLSON: It's probably best not to say stuff like that, but the fundamental point he makes, and I know the [George W.] Bush people are mad about this, they don't like Perry, but the fundamental point he makes is totally true, actually. We are devaluing the currency. It's happening because of the Fed's policies. And it is benefitting, in a short term way, I think, the White House. Or that is one of its potential effects, and he's right to call them out on it. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/16/11, via Media Matters]

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