Rupert Murdoch weighed in on the 2016 presidential race during a public appearance at the Manhattan Institute on Wednesday, praising Jeb Bush and writing off Mitt Romney as "a terrible candidate."
In a conversation with Fox News analyst Judith Miller, a senior
fellow at the Institute, the News Corp/21st Century Fox Chairman talked
extensively about the prospective Republican field, excerpts of which
were relayed to us by our colleague Maggie Haberman.
Asked if he had a favorite candidate yet, Murdoch replied, "No." But he did say, "I like Jeb Bush very much."
Murdoch also expressed admiration for Rand Paul: ""I personally like
Rand Paul very much and I am very impressed by his brain," he said.
Though he was skeptical about Paul's foreign policy platform, "which is
frankly a major issue," he commended the Kentucky Senator for
"campaigning on the theory that Washington is too big."
"I think he will do well enough to move the debate," Murdoch said. He
added, "I don't think he will win... I would be very surprised if he
won the nomination."
Murdoch was less kind toward Mitt Romney, who is considering a third
bid for the Republican nomination after his failed attempts in 2008 and
"I rather agree with the [Wall Street] Journal this morning, which
sort of lacerated Romney," Murdoch said in reference to an editorial in
the paper he owns. "He had his chance, he mishandled it, you know? I
thought Romney was a terrible candidate."
Murdoch also hit Romney for winning the nomination "by destroying
every other Republican with his own money" and for failing to deflect
criticism that he was "super rich."
On Chris Christie: "I wouldn't write off Chris Christie at all.... We will just see how he handles himself."
On Scott Walker: "He will be an interesting candidate" (though he questioned his charisma.)
On Paul Ryan, who has said he will not run: "He's only 44... [he has] plenty of time."
And finally, Ted Cruz: "I've met [him], quite an experience," Murdoch
said to laughter. "He's smart... [but there's] a record of very
questionable political judgment, so we will see."
Overall, Murdoch said, "it will be a big and lively field."