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, Fox News commentator
Home town Lyme, Connecticut, U.S.
Political party Democratic[2]
Spouse(s) Leland Ingham (1992–2002)
Children 2
Relatives Graham Beckel (brother)

Robert Gilliland "Bob" Beckel (born November 15, 1948)[3] is an American political analyst and pundit, and a former political operative. He is currently an analyst and commentator on Fox News Channel. He had previously 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.[4] After departing Fox News in 2015, Beckel became a commentator for CNN. On January 16, 2017, he returned to Fox News as a co-host of The Five.[5]

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.[4]

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.[4][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 that 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][4][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 was in February 2015, had been absent while recovering from back surgery.[2][21] On January 16, 2017, Beckel rejoined The Five as co-host.[22]


In October 2015, Beckel was hired by CNN to offer commentary on the 2016 election.[23] In October 2016, after the Donald Trump and Billy Bush recording surfaced, Beckel stated that he did not believe Trump could recover from the incident.[24] .

USA Today[edit]

From 2005 until the end of 2015, Beckel was a columnist for USA Today, where he wrote articles with friend and political opposite Cal Thomas in the style of "point–counterpoint."[25]

Personal life[edit]

In 1992, Beckel married Leland Ingham.[26] They had two children from the marriage and divorced in 2002.[27]

Beckel is a recovering alcoholic.[4][28] 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.[29]

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.[4][30]

In early 2015 Beckel 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.[4]

Beckel is a Protestant.[4][31]

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[4]

In late 2015, Beckel published a memoir, I Should Be Dead: My Life Surviving Politics, TV, and Addiction, co-written with John David Mann.[4]

Cal Thomas hosted a book-signing party celebrating publication of Beckel's book, which aired in November 2015 on C-SPAN.[32][33]



  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. ^ "Bob Beckel". Celebrity Net Wealth. August 21, 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2012. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ "Bob Beckel returns to 'The Five'". Fox News. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  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. ^ 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... 
  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. ^ "BOB BECKEL TO RETURN AS CO-HOST ON FOX NEWS CHANNEL'S THE FIVE – Fox News Channel Press". Retrieved 2017-01-16. 
  23. ^ Wemple, Erik (2015-10-21). "CNN hires jolly Islamophobe Bob Beckel, formerly of Fox News". The Washington Post. 
  24. ^ "All Business The Essential Donald Trump". CNN Documentaries. October 7, 2016. CNN. 
  25. ^ "Common Ground: It's time to say goodbye". USA Today. 2015-12-29. 
  26. ^ Cooley, Joshua (February 14, 2001). "Beckel: From Beatnik Golfer to College Coach, Mother". The Gazette. Gaithersburg, Maryland: Post Community Media. Retrieved 2014-06-11. 
  27. ^ Grove, Lloyd (September 4, 2002). "The Reliable Source". Washington Post. p. C3. 
  28. ^ "Beckel: It Takes Faith to Overcome Addiction". CBN. May 29, 2008. Retrieved 2014-06-11. 
  29. ^ "And You Think He's Feisty on Fox". 
  30. ^ Bob Beckel Choking: Says Roger Ailes, Eric Bolling Saved His Life. Huffington Post. 2011-10-14.
  31. ^ "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. 
  32. ^ 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
  33. ^ Book Party for I Should Be Dead (Video),, November 15, 2015. Accessed 2016-01-10

External links[edit]