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 67)
New York City
Nationality United States
Education Wagner College, BA (fine arts)
Occupation Political Pundit
Home town Lyme, Connecticut
Political party Democratic[2]
Religion Protestant
Relatives Graham Beckel (brother)

Robert Gilliland "Bob" Beckel[1] (born November 15, 1948)[3] is an American political pundit and former political operative. He was an analyst on the Fox News Channel, where he co-hosted The Five until he was released after being absent for several months. He is also a columnist for USA Today where he writes articles with friend and political opposite Cal Thomas in the style of "point–counterpoint".

Early life and career[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 [New York: Abelard-Schuman, 1954, 1962 (rev. ed.)]) and Ellen Gilliland Beckel.[4][5] He is the brother of actor Graham Beckel. Beckel is a Protestant.[6]

Beckel holds a BA from Wagner College in Staten Island.[7] While in college, he worked for Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign in 1968.[8] He played football in college.[9]

Beckel served in the Philippines as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1971 to 1972.[10] Beckel was a graduate school professor of politics at the George Washington University.[11][12]

In 1977, Beckel joined the United States Department of State and became the youngest deputy assistant Secretary of State (Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations) for the Carter administration, helping to shepherd the Panama Canal Treaty to ratification;[8][13] and the following year was appointed Special Assistant to the President for congressional liaison, working on Salt II and Mideast treaties.[8][14]

Beckel was the campaign manager for Walter Mondale's 1984 presidential campaign.[15] During that campaign he became known as the man who effectively wrapped the Wendy's slogan "Where's the beef?" around Gary Hart,[8][9] Mondale's opponent for the Democratic nomination.

In late 1984, he formed the consulting firm Bob Beckel & Associates, or BBA, which was succeeded in 1985 by Beckel–Cowan, described by Robert G. Kaiser in The Washington Post as "a pioneering 'grass roots' lobbying firm whose specialty was building support for policy ideas—or creating the appearance of it—around the country. This was the art form that came to be known as "Astroturf" lobbying, since the grass-roots sentiments being expressed were not entirely natural."[16]

Beckel managed Alan Blinken's 2002 Senate campaign until he was dismissed after being targeted for extortion by a prostitute.[17] He made a brief appearance as himself on the Season 8 premiere of 24 in a mock debate with fellow Fox News Analyst Monica Crowley.

On June 25, 2015, Fox News announced that they had officially dropped Beckel from the "The Five", saying the show could no longer be held "hostage" to his personal issues.[2][18]

Personal life[edit]

In 1992, Beckel married Leland Ingham.[19] They had two children from the marriage and divorced in 2002.[20]

Beckel is a recovering alcoholic.[21] 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.[22]

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.[23]

In early 2015, Bob was absent from The Five for a number of weeks which led to speculation that he had been fired. 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. His spot has been filled by Fox regulars Juan Williams, Julie Roginsky and others. During his absence, Beckel stated via his Twitter account that while many conservatives sent well wishes for a recovery and return, many on the left never said anything.[24]

Controversial comments[edit]

  • In December 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."[25]
  • 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."[26] Both Gutfeld and Beckel later said they were joking, however.[27]
  • 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.[28][29]
  • In August 2012, Beckel reportedly offended some Jews when he 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."[30]
  • 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!"[11][31]
  • 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."[11][32]
  • 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.[33] 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."[34]
  • 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."[35]



  1. ^ a b The Five, March 10, 2014
  2. ^ a b 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. ^ "The Lives Behind a Liberal [Bob] and a Conservative [Cal]". USA Today. September 3, 2009. p. 11A. 
  5. ^ Thomas, Cal; Beckel, Bob (2007). Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That Is Destroying America. New York: William Morrow. p. 19. 
  6. ^ "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. 
  7. ^ "Political Contributor Bob Beckel". Fox News. January 13, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c d "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. 
  9. ^ a b Weinraub, Bernard (June 8, 1984). "From Gloom to Exultation: Mondale’s Long Campaign". New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved 2014-06-11. 
  10. ^ "Business and Industry". Peace Corps. 
  11. ^ 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... 
  12. ^ "Bob Beckel". George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. [dead link]
  13. ^ Mostafavi, Beata (April 25, 2008). "Pundits Cal Thomas, Bob Beckel spar, but on common ground". The Flint Journal ( Retrieved October 12, 2008. 
  14. ^ "Robert G. Beckel Exit Interview" (PDF). December 3, 1980. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ "Chapter 13". The Washington Post. [dead link]
  17. ^ "Campaigner resigns after reported extortion attempt". Lewiston Morning Tribune (Lewiston, Idaho). Associated Press. September 1, 2002. p. 4C. 
  18. ^ Byers, Dylan (June 25, 2015). "Fox News drops Bob Beckel". Politico. Retrieved June 25, 2015. 
  19. ^ Cooley, Joshua (February 14, 2001). "Beckel: From Beatnik Golfer to College Coach, Mother". The Gazette (Gaithersburg, Maryland: Post Community Media). Retrieved 2014-06-11. 
  20. ^ Grove, Lloyd (September 4, 2002). "The Reliable Source". Washington Post. p. C3. 
  21. ^ "Beckel: It Takes Faith to Overcome Addiction". CBN. May 29, 2008. Retrieved 2014-06-11. 
  22. ^ "And You Think He’s Feisty on Fox". 
  23. ^ Bob Beckel Choking: Says Roger Ailes, Eric Bolling Saved His Life. Huffington Post. 2011-10-14.
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Fox News' Bob Beckel Calls For 'Ilegally' [sic] Killing Assange: 'A Dead Man Can't Leak Stuff'". The Huffington Post. December 10, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Fox News Hosts Admit They’ve ‘Pulled Punches’ With Sarah Palin". The Huffington Post. August 4, 2011. 
  27. ^ Bauder, David (August 4, 2011). "Fox analysts say remarks about Palin were a joke". The Huffington Post. 
  28. ^ "Fox News' Bob Beckel Drops F-Bomb On Air". The Huffington Post. April 17, 2012. 
  29. ^ Edwards, David (April 17, 2012). "Beckel: ‘Right winger’ doesn’t ‘know what the f*ck’ she’s talking about". The Raw Story. 
  30. ^ Algemeiner Staff (August 8, 2012). "Fox News Host: Romney’s Israel Fundraiser Held with "Bunch of Diamond Merchants"". Algemeiner Journal. Retrieved March 9, 2013. 
  31. ^ Grenoble, Ryan (November 21, 2012). "Bob Beckel, Fox News Host, Concludes San Francisco Nudists 'Were Gang Banged, Probably' (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 9, 2013. 
  32. ^ Fung, Katherine (February 20, 2013). "Bob Beckel: Rape On College Campuses Doesn't Really Happen". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 9, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Bob Beckel Walks Back Anti-Muslim Comments About Mosques (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. July 11, 2013. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  34. ^ Horowitz, Alana (July 10, 2014). "Bob Beckel Uses Racial Slur On Live Television". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  35. ^ 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. 

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