Rupert Murdoch Called Mitt Romney "A Terrible Candidate" In An Awkwardly-Timed Put-Down

The rich and powerful on the sidelines have considerable pull in politics, and as the potential Republican presidential field begins to take shape, one media tycoon has weighed in on the rumored candidates. On Wednesday, speaking to Fox News analyst Judith Miller at the Manhattan Institute, Rupert Murdoch said Mitt Romney was "a terrible candidate," making a dent in Romney's campaign ambitions.

In his criticism of the Republican presidential candidate hopeful, Murdoch accused Romney of winning the nomination in 2012 by "destroying every other Republican with his money." He also brought up an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, a paper his company owns, in which Romney as a candidate was roundly and soundly criticized. Murdoch said:

I rather agree with the [Wall Street] Journal this morning, which sort of lacerated Romney. He had his chance, he mishandled it, you know? I thought Romney was a terrible candidate.

Ouch. And to add salt to the wound, Murdoch seemed to be a Jeb Bush fan. When asked if he had a favorite potential candidate, the media mogul said:

No... [But] I like Jeb Bush very much.

As the former Governor of Massachusetts greases up his presidential campaign wheels for the third time — he has already hired Colin Reed, former campaign manager of Scott Brown in his failed New Hampshire Senate bid — those in the political scene have pit him against Jeb Bush, another GOP presidential candidate frontrunner. Both men are vying for the same deep-pocketed Republican donors, and, for now at least, seem to be the strongest presidential candidates the party has to offer.

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However, despite questioning his less-than-hawkish foreign policy platform Murdoch heaped praised on Rand Paul — though he didn't quite express much confidence in his chances at winning the nomination:

I personally like Rand Paul very much and I am very impressed by his brain... I think he will do well enough to move the debate. I don't think he will win... I would be very surprised if he won the nomination.

Scathing as his words might be this time, Murdoch has never been too impressed with Romney. Their relationship is reportedly lukewarm at best, and during Romney's 2012 presidential bid, Murdoch offered some — for lack of a better word — advice to Romney's campaign staff.

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Murdoch overall had pretty positive things to say about the potential Republican presidential candidates. He's not writing off Chris Christie, he said, and on the ever-contentious Ted Cruz:

I've met [him], quite an experience. He's smart... [but there's] a record of very questionable political judgment, so we will see.

Although admittedly, Murdoch isn't king of the world and therefore won't have a direct effect on the outcome of the nomination, the scope of his influence is wide. Though no single media outlet is probably capable of affecting the outcome of any one election, Murdoch's cable news outlets and newspapers — Fox News (gross), the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal, to name a few — collectively, might have an impact on millions of voters.

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