Gretchen Carlson: Unofficial GOP Campaign Strategist

Fox & Friends host Gretchen Carlson regularly advises the GOP and Republican candidates on news and messaging they should use in order to defeat Democrats in upcoming elections. Carlson's advice for Republican candidates falls in line with a history of promoting GOP campaigns and Fox News' position as the communications arm for conservative candidates.

Carlson Regularly Acts As An Unofficial GOP Campaign Strategist

Carlson Advises GOP To Use Oil Price Chart In Campaign Against Obama. On the April 6 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson, after showing a chart of rising oil prices, said, “Well that graph of gas prices should be the Republicans' campaign message when they go up against President Obama.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 04/06/11]

Carlson Reminds Priebus That Obama's Campaign Was “Supreme At The Grassroots” ; Demands To Know How RNC Is “Going To Get The Messaging Out.” During the April 5 Fox & Friends, Carlson interviewed Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus to attack Obama. Carlson noted that Obama had “kicked ... off” his re-election campaign with a YouTube video, adding: “Well, now, your organization, the RNC has released a new ad as well. What's the difference with yours compared to his?” While Fox & Friends aired the RNC's anti-Obama attack ad, Priebus said that Obama is “tone-deaf to the American people,” had broken campaign promises, and has become a “plasticized” Washington politician. He also debuted the GOP's campaign slogan, “Hope Isn't Hiring.” At no point did Carlson challenge Priebus' attacks on Obama. Instead, she asked Priebus: “How are you going to get the messaging out? Because, remember, last time, they [the Obama campaign] were supreme at the grassroots level.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 04/5/11]

Carlson Advises Potential GOP Candidate Bachmann About “One Of The Things” She Might “Challenge President Obama On.” On the February 10 edition of Fox & Friends, during an interview with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Carlson asked Bachmann if she was running for president, then advised her that “one of the things you might challenge President Obama on is the fact that he seems to not be as urgent-minded thinking about our debt as you might be. Would you agree with that?” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 02/10/11]

Carlson Advises McMahon To “Remind Voters, Starting Today” That Blumenthal “Lied About Vietnam.” On the August 11, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, Carlson asked Linda McMahon, who was the Republican candidate for Senate in Connecticut at the time, “Don't you have to remind voters, starting today, that [opponent Richard Blumenthal] lied about Vietnam?” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 08/11/10]

Fox & Friends Routinely Promotes GOP Candidates Through Softball Interviews

Doocy Tells Brown That Democrats “Are Really Trying To Gang Up On You,” While Brown Fundraises. Then-Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown (MA) appeared on Fox & Friends on January 14, 2010. During the interview, co-host Steve Doocy told Brown he had “Democrats panicked up there,” and asked him what he planned to do in the Senate, providing a forum for Brown to give a lengthy and uninterrupted response. Doocy also asked him, “It really bugs you when people refer to that particular Senate seat as 'Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.' It's not Ted Kennedy's seat, is it?” Then, after discussing several groups campaigning against Brown, Doocy said, “You can see, Scott, that, you know, the forces on the other side are really trying to gang up on you.” In response, Brown plugged his campaign website for donations. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 01/14/10]

Doocy, Perino Open Fiorina Interview By Asking “How Did You Do It?” And “How Much Are You Looking Forward To Taking On Barbara Boxer?” Then-Republican Senate Candidate Carly Fiorina (CA) appeared on the June 9, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends. Doocy and Fox News contributor Dana Perino began the interview by asking her, “How did you do it [win the GOP nomination],” and “How much are you looking forward to taking on Barbara Boxer come this November?” They also asked her whether she was going to “pool her resources” with gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman (CA) because Democrats are “going to come at you with all the firepower that they've got,” and whether she's “willing to spend a bunch more” on the campaign. At one point, co-host Brian Kilmeade asked her how she would “answer” accusations from Boxer about her time at Hewlett Packard, where she was once CEO. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 06/09/10]

Doocy Asks Haley About The “Crazy Allegations” Made During The Campaign And Tells Her She Is “Lucky” To Have A Palin Endorsement. Then-Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley (SC) also appeared on the program June 9, 2010. During the interview, Doocy noted “these crazy allegations out there” about an alleged extra-marital affair “that you have denied” and asked her why her opponents would “make that stuff up?” Perino stated that “the guys were quite desperate because they couldn't win on the merits,” and asked Haley what her “biggest challenges going into” the general election would be. Later, Doocy stated that Haley is “lucky because Governor Sarah Palin, she selected just a handful of candidates to were one of them.” He asked her, “Have you spoken to her since your win? If you did, what was the conversation like?” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 06/09/10]

Kilmeade Introduces Rubio As “Soon To Be Senator, According To Some.” Then-Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio (FL) appeared on Fox & Friends on February 5, 2010. During the interview, Kilmeade introduced Rubio as “one of the great upstart political stories right now in America,” and “soon to be senator, according to some.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 02/05/10]

Camerota Asks DioGuardi, “What's Your Platform,” And Asks Him About His American Idol Daughter. Then-Republican Senate candidate Joe DioGuardi (NY) appeared on the program March 16, 2010. Guest-host Alisyn Camerota asked him, “What's your platform, why are you getting back into this racket?” After DioGuardi spoke at length, Kilmeade said, “You know how much work this's going to be hard, especially in New York, to be a Republican,” and asked DioGuardi what his daughter, then-American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi, thought about his campaign. They also asked him about his daughter's appearances on American Idol, in which she made a “memorable” “mark” by wearing a bikini. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 03/16/10]

Kilmeade Asks Johnson, “What Role Do You Think The Tea Party Has Had In Inspiring You?” Then-Republican congressional candidate Ron Johnson (WI) appeared on Fox & Friends on June 1, 2010. Kilmeade asked him during the interview, “Does this seem real to you?” and, “What role do you think the tea party has had in inspiring you and supporting you?” After Johnson replied that he was concerned with the “loss of freedom” and that “Obamacare” was a “huge assault on our freedom,” Kilmeade asked, “When that happened, instead of just complaining about it or being - holding court with your friends in your neighborhood, you took action?” Kilmeade also asked him, “What do you plan on doing if you get in” and what his “plan” is for winning over the tea party. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 06/01/10]

Fox & Friends Hosts Vets For Freedom Exec To Plug 10 GOP Candidates. Vets for Freedom executive director Pete Hegseth appeared on Fox & Friends on May 31, 2010, to promote 10 GOP congressional candidates his organization was endorsing. Guest host Dave Briggs asked him, “Why is it of particular importance to get these vets... elected to Congress?” and read through biographies of some of the veterans that Hegseth hoped would “win their congressional battles in 2010.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 05/31/10]

Kilmeade Ignores Key Question About Detainee Assault In Promoting West Candidacy, Military Expertise. Then-Republican congressional candidate Lt. Col. Allen West appeared on Fox & Friends on February 8, 2010. During the interview, Kilmeade said West's “personal interrogation tactic...saved a lot of lives in Iraq,” and then repeatedly allowed West to criticize the Obama administration for its handling of the Northwest Airlines bombing suspect. Kilmeade contrasted Obama with West, saying West had “dealt with Al Qaeda directly.” Kilmeade did not ask West about his reported resignation from the military after he assaulted a detainee. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 02/08/10]

Kilmeade Hosts Candidates From Conservative Freshman Coalition To “Share” Their “Mission.” On April 29, 2010, Kilmeade hosted two Republican congressional candidates from the Conservative Freshman Coalition, a group that “promote[s] conservative values.” He asked them why it's “necessary” to run, why they were a part of the coalition, what their “take” is on then-Florida Governor Charlie Crist's run as an independent for U.S. Senate, and where they stand on illegal immigration. At the end, he thanked them for coming on the program to “share your mission.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 04/29/10]

Fox & Friends Plugged Campaign For 90-Year-Old Republican Candidate Who Admitted Fox News' Ailes Was Once His Manager. Then-Republican congressional candidate John Snyder (IN) appeared on Fox & Friends on March 15, 2010. Kilmeade noted that Snyder had “never really felt compelled to run for Washington - an office in Washington,” and asked him whether he really felt “things are that bad at this point, throughout your entire life, they've never been worse than now?” After Snyder noted Fox News Chief Roger Ailes was once his campaign manager, Doocy stated that Snyder wasn't taking donations and asked him, “You're going to just come up with all the cash yourself?” After Kilmeade said, “the top of your agenda is about spending, correct?” Doocy stated: “There are certainly a lot of people across the country who feel the same way -- they're fed up. Few have taken such drastic measures and put off retirement to run for Congress.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 03/15/10]

GOP Candidates “Speak Through Fox News” For Friendly Coverage

Palin: "[S]peak to the American people. Speak through Fox News." Fox News contributor Sarah Palin appeared on the September 15, 2010, edition of The O'Reilly Factor and advised Christine O'Donnell, at the time the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Delaware, to “speak to the American people. Speak through Fox News and let the Independents who are tuning in to you, let them know what it is that she stands for, the principles behind her positions.” [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 9/15/10]

GOP Republican Candidates “Sp[oke] Through Fox News” 269 Times Through September 2010. As Media Matters has noted, potential GOP presidential candidates made at least 269 appearances on Fox through September 18, 2010. Comparatively, these candidates appeared six times on all the other major news channels combined. [Media Matters, 09/27/10]