Bob Beckel

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Bob Beckel
Bob Beckel.jpg
Bob Beckel, 2011
Born Robert Gilliland Beckel[1]
(1948-11-15) November 15, 1948 (age 68)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater Wagner College, BA (fine arts)
Occupation Political Pundit, CNN commentator
Home town Lyme, Connecticut, U.S.
Political party Democratic[2]
Religion Protestant[3][4]
Spouse(s) Leland Ingham (1992–2002)
Children 2
Relatives Graham Beckel (brother)

Robert Gilliland "Bob" Beckel (born November 15, 1948)[5] is an American political analyst and pundit, and a former political operative. He is currently an analyst and commentator on CNN. He had been a commentator on the Fox News Channel, where he co-hosted The Five until he was released in 2015 after being absent for several months while recovering from back surgery.[3]

Early life[edit]

Beckel was born in New York City and grew up in Lyme, Connecticut. He is the son of Cambridge Graham Beckel, Jr. (author of Workshops for the World: The United Nations Family of Agencies)[6] and Ellen Gilliland Beckel.[7][8] He is the older brother of actor Graham Beckel.[3]

Beckel has a BA from Wagner College in Staten Island.[9] While in college, he played football[10] and worked for Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign in 1968.[3][11]

After college, Beckel served in the Philippines as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1971 to 1972,[12] and later was a graduate school professor of politics at George Washington University.[13][14]



In 1977, Beckel joined the United States Department of State as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations, becoming the youngest deputy assistant Secretary of State in the Carter administration.[11] In that role, he helped to shepherd the Panama Canal Treaty through Congress to ratification.[11][15] The following year was appointed Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, working on ratification of Salt II and Mideast treaties.[11][16]


Beckel was the campaign manager for Walter Mondale's 1984 presidential campaign.[17] During that campaign he became known as the man who effectively wrapped the Wendy's slogan "Where's the beef?" around Gary Hart,[11][10] Mondale's opponent for the Democratic nomination.

In late 1984, he formed the consulting firm Bob Beckel & Associates, or BBA, a lobbying firm which was succeeded in 1985 by Beckel–Cowan.[18]

In 2002, Beckel managed the campaign of Alan Blinken, the Democratic nominee for United States Senate in Idaho, until he resigned after being targeted for extortion by a prostitute.[19] In 2010, he made a brief appearance as himself on the Season 8 premiere of TV series 24 in a mock debate with fellow Fox News Analyst Monica Crowley.

Fox News[edit]

In 2011, Beckel joined Fox News as a co-host of The Five, and co-hosted some 708 episodes,[20] until June 2015, when Fox announced that Beckel had left the program.[2][3][21] A Fox spokesman said: "we couldn't hold The Five hostage to one man's personal issues".[2] Beckel, whose last appearance on the show had been in February 2015, had been absent while recovering from back surgery.[2][21]


In October 2015, Beckel was hired by CNN to offer commentary on the 2016 election.[22]

USA Today[edit]

From 2005 until the end of 2015, Beckel had been a columnist for USA Today, where he wrote articles with friend and political opposite Cal Thomas in the style of "point–counterpoint".[23]

Controversial comments[edit]

  • On December 6, 2010, with reference to Julian Assange while on Eric Bolling's show Cashin' In (on the Fox Business Network), Beckel commented, "This guy's a traitor, he's treasonous, and he has broken every law of the United States. And I'm not for the death penalty, so [...] there's only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch." Fox contributors Joel Mowbray and Bo Dietl agreed with him. [24]
  • Beckel evoked controversy in August 2011 when he implied on air that he had held back from criticizing his Fox News colleague Sarah Palin. He agreed with The Five co-host Greg Gutfeld when Gutfeld said he felt awkward making negative comments about Palin, because "it's like [badmouthing] a co-worker." "I know exactly what you mean," Beckel added. "I'll be honest, I've pulled my punches."[25] Both Gutfeld and Beckel later said they were joking, however.[26]
  • On April 16, 2012, Beckel appeared on Hannity with Jennifer Stefano and Neal Boortz. After Stefano claimed that the Head Start Program, which aims to help poor children, did not work, Beckel replied, "You don't know what the fuck you're talking about!" Beckel did not realize the show was back from the commercial break, and initially refused to apologize. When persuaded that the show was, in fact, live, Beckel apologized for his choice of language, but stood by the overall intent of the statement.[27][28]
  • In August 2012, Beckel referred to Jewish Americans who had participated in a Mitt Romney fundraiser in Israel as "a bunch of diamond merchants we don't know the names of."[29]
  • In November 2012, Beckel concluded, while commentating on the San Francisco public nudity ban live on Fox News, that most nudists were, as children, "probably gang-banged, I don't know!" and then proceeded to laugh about his comment and saying, "they were probably sexually assaulted, I don't know!"[13]
  • In February 2013, Beckel made the statement that rapes on campus do not really happen and asserted that victims of date rape are not going to "take a gun out and shoot [their] date."[13][30]
  • In April 2013, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Beckel commented that visas should be denied to students who emigrate from Islamic countries.[31] Beckel later apologized for his statements.
  • In July 2014, during a discussion on The Five about who poses a threat to the U.S., he stated, "The Chinese are the single biggest threat to the national security of the U.S. They have been, they will be and they can wait, they're very patient. Do you know what we just did? As usual, we bring them over here and we teach a bunch of Chinamen–er, Chinese people–how to do computers and then they go back to China and hack into us."[32]
  • In January 2015, during a discussion on The Five about youth sentiments about radical Islam, he said: "I think it's sort of like in the United States where younger people today, it's not at all unusual for people to see multicultural dating, for example. Back when I was young you didn't date out of your own ethnicity. But in Europe and other places, this mingling that's going on here, younger people are beginning to find this acceptable. And that's the thing that is sort of scary because they're getting exposed to it on a daily basis."[33]

Personal life[edit]

In 1992, Beckel married Leland Ingham.[34] They had two children from the marriage and divorced in 2002.[35]

Beckel is a recovering alcoholic.[3][36] He has spoken openly about his past addictions to drugs and alcohol, admitting in July 2011 on The Five: "I'm a recovering addict and cocaine was my drug of choice."

In 2007, Beckel was involved in an altercation in a Bethesda, Maryland, grocery store parking lot with a man who took issue with his anti–George W. Bush bumper stickers.[37]

In October 2011, Beckel nearly choked to death on a piece of shrimp at a Fox News reception, but was saved by Fox News chief Roger Ailes and The Five co-host Eric Bolling.[3][38]

In early 2015, Bob was absent from The Five for a number of weeks which led to speculation that he had been fired, but Fox later announced that his absence was due to "health related issues", and it was later revealed that he had major back surgery on March 26 at a New York area hospital.[3]

2015 Memoir[edit]

Only in America can a guy manage a presidential candidate to a forty-nine-state rout, then go on to be paid very well to dispense political advice on TV and in lecture halls. What a country!

Bob Beckel, in Prologue from: I Should Be Dead - p. 3[3]

In late 2015, Beckel published a memoir, I Should Be Dead: My Life Surviving Politics, TV, and Addiction, co-written with John David Mann.[3]

A book-signing party celebrating publication of Beckel's book, hosted by Cal Thomas, aired in November 2015 on C-SPAN.[39][40]



  1. ^ The Five, March 10, 2014
  2. ^ a b c d Balakrishnan, Anita (June 26, 2015). "Fox News releases Bob Beckel for 'personal' issues". USA Today. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Beckel, Bob; Mann, John David (December 2015). I Should Be Dead: My Life Surviving Politics, TV, and Addiction. New York/Boston: Hachette Books. ISBN 978-0-316-34775-4. Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  4. ^ "What are 'The Five' giving up for Lent?". Fox News. February 13, 2013. Retrieved 2014-06-11. Look, I'm not one of you Catholics. I'm a Protestant. 
  5. ^ "Bob Beckel". Celebrity Net Wealth. August 21, 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2012. 
  6. ^ New York: Abelard-Schuman, 1954, 1962 (rev. ed.)
  7. ^ "The Lives Behind a Liberal [Bob] and a Conservative [Cal]". USA Today. September 3, 2009. p. 11A. 
  8. ^ Thomas, Cal; Beckel, Bob (2007). Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That Is Destroying America. New York: William Morrow. p. 19. 
  9. ^ "Political Contributor Bob Beckel". Fox News. January 13, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Weinraub, Bernard (June 8, 1984). "From Gloom to Exultation: Mondale's Long Campaign". New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved 2014-06-11. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "Bob Beckel Bio". CNN. Retrieved 2014-06-11. After a political baptism as a college student in Robert Kennedy's 1968 campaign, a tour of duty in the Peace Corps and a successful stint heading up his own consulting firm, Beckel joined the government in 1977. As the deputy assistant secretary of state, he steered the controversial Panama Canal Treaties through Congress. He moved to the White House to head an Administration effort to press Congress into passing the Mideast and SALT II treaties. 
  12. ^ "Business and Industry". Peace Corps. 
  13. ^ a b c Gurciullo, Brianna (February 22, 2013). "Former professor says rapes on college campuses are uncommon". The GW Hatchet. George Washington University. Retrieved 2014-06-11. ...Beckel, a liberal commentator who taught in the Graduate School of Political Management for more than a decade...  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Gurciullo_2013" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  14. ^ "Bob Beckel". George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. 
  15. ^ Mostafavi, Beata (April 25, 2008). "Pundits Cal Thomas, Bob Beckel spar, but on common ground". The Flint Journal. Retrieved October 12, 2008. 
  16. ^ "Robert G. Beckel Exit Interview" (PDF). December 3, 1980. 
  17. ^ Darling, Lynn (April 24, 1983). "They Are Driven: What Makes Campaign Managers Run?; Why Are the Campaign Managers So Driven?". The Washington Post. p. C1. 
  18. ^ "Chapter 13". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on February 24, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Campaigner resigns after reported extortion attempt". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Lewiston, Idaho. Associated Press. September 1, 2002. p. 4C. 
  20. ^ The Five at IMDb Accessed 2015-12-31
  21. ^ a b Byers, Dylan (June 25, 2015). "Fox News drops Bob Beckel". Politico. Retrieved June 25, 2015. 
  22. ^ Wemple, Erik (2015-10-21). "CNN hires jolly Islamophobe Bob Beckel, formerly of Fox News". The Washington Post. 
  23. ^ "Common Ground: It's time to say goodbye". USA Today. 2015-12-29. 
  24. ^ "Fox News' Bob Beckel Calls For 'Illegally' Killing Assange: 'A Dead Man Can't Leak Stuff'". The Huffington Post. December 10, 2010. 
  25. ^ "Fox News Hosts Admit They've 'Pulled Punches' With Sarah Palin". The Huffington Post. August 4, 2011. 
  26. ^ Bauder, David (August 4, 2011). "Fox analysts say remarks about Palin were a joke". The Huffington Post. 
  27. ^ "Fox News' Bob Beckel Drops F-Bomb On Air". The Huffington Post. April 17, 2012. 
  28. ^ Edwards, David (April 17, 2012). "Beckel: 'Right winger' doesn't 'know what the f*ck' she's talking about". The Raw Story. 
  29. ^ Algemeiner Staff (August 8, 2012). "Fox News Host: Romney's Israel Fundraiser Held with "Bunch of Diamond Merchants"". Algemeiner Journal. Retrieved March 9, 2013. 
  30. ^ Fung, Katherine (February 20, 2013). "Bob Beckel: Rape On College Campuses Doesn't Really Happen". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 9, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Bob Beckel Walks Back Anti-Muslim Comments About Mosques (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. July 11, 2013. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  32. ^ Horowitz, Alana (July 10, 2014). "Bob Beckel Uses Racial Slur On Live Television". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  33. ^ Garcia, Arturo (January 8, 2015). "Fox's Bob Beckel compares Islamic terror to dating your mixed-race girlfriend". The Raw Story. Retrieved January 8, 2015. 
  34. ^ Cooley, Joshua (February 14, 2001). "Beckel: From Beatnik Golfer to College Coach, Mother". The Gazette. Gaithersburg, Maryland: Post Community Media. Retrieved 2014-06-11. 
  35. ^ Grove, Lloyd (September 4, 2002). "The Reliable Source". Washington Post. p. C3. 
  36. ^ "Beckel: It Takes Faith to Overcome Addiction". CBN. May 29, 2008. Retrieved 2014-06-11. 
  37. ^ "And You Think He's Feisty on Fox". 
  38. ^ Bob Beckel Choking: Says Roger Ailes, Eric Bolling Saved His Life. Huffington Post. 2011-10-14.
  39. ^ Book Party for I Should Be Dead: Bob Beckel delivers remarks and mingles with guests at a book party for his book, I Should Be Dead: My Life Surviving Politics, TV, and Addiction - Newsvader, January 2, 2016. Accessed 2016-01-10
  40. ^ Book Party for I Should Be Dead (Video),, November 15, 2015. Accessed 2016-01-10

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