Bob Beckel
Beckel in 2011
Robert Gilliland Beckel

(1948-11-15)November 15, 1948
New York City, U.S.
DiedFebruary 20, 2022(2022-02-20) (aged 73)
EducationWagner College (BA)
  • Political commentator
  • columnist
  • political advisor
  • government official
Political partyDemocratic
Leland Ingham
(m. 1992; div. 2002)
RelativesGraham Beckel (brother)

Robert Gilliland Beckel (November 15, 1948 – February 20, 2022) was an American political analyst and pundit, and political operative.[1] He was an analyst and commentator on Fox News.[2][3] He had been a commentator on Fox News and was an original co-host of The Five until he was released in 2015 after being absent for several months recovering from back surgery.[4] After departing Fox News, Beckel became a commentator for CNN, but returned to Fox News as co-host of The Five on January 16, 2017.[5] On May 19, 2017, Fox News announced Beckel had been fired again after he was accused of making a racist remark to a Fox News employee.[6]

Early life

Beckel was born in Greenwich Village, Manhattan and grew up in Lyme, Connecticut.[1] He is the son of Cambridge Graham Beckel Jr. (author of Workshops for the World: The United Nations Family of Agencies)[7] and Ellen Gilliland Beckel.[8][9] Both of Beckel's parents were alcoholics.[10] He is the older brother of actor Graham Beckel.[11]

Beckel received a BA from Wagner College in Staten Island.[12] While in college, he played football and was a brother of Theta Chi fraternity.[13] and worked for Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign in 1968.[14] [15]

After college, Beckel served in the Philippines as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1971 to 1972,[16] and later was a graduate school professor of politics at George Washington University.[17][18]


Carter administration

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.[15] In that role he helped to shepherd the Panama Canal Treaty through Congress to ratification.[15][19] The following year he was appointed special assistant to the president for legislative affairs, working on ratification of Salt II and Mideast treaties.[15][20]

Political campaigns and consulting

Beckel was the campaign manager for Walter Mondale's 1984 presidential campaign.[21] During that campaign he became known as the man who effectively wrapped the Wendy's slogan "Where's the beef?" around Gary Hart,[15][13] 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.[22] In 2000 Beckel called on Florida electors to overturn George W. Bush's slim victory over Al Gore. Gore rejected this and Beckel's business partners in his firm left over Beckel's move forcing Beckel to break up his firm.[23]

In 2002 Beckel managed the campaign of Alan Blinken, the Democratic nominee for United States Senate in Idaho, until he resigned after it became public that he was a witness and victim in an extortion attempt by a prostitute.[24] 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

In 2011, Beckel joined Fox News as a co-host of The Five and co-hosted some 708 episodes,[25] until June 2015, when Fox announced that Beckel had left the program.[26][27][28] A Fox spokesman said: "We couldn't hold The Five hostage to one man's personal issues."[26] Beckel, whose last appearance on the show was in February 2015, had been absent while recovering from back surgery; he had also drawn controversy in the last episode prior to his dismissal, when he described himself as an "Islamophobe" in response to the Charlie Hebdo shooting.[1][26][28] The network issued a statement, saying that Beckel had "entered rehab facility for treatment of an addiction to prescription pain medication."[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.[27][30]

During his time on The Five, Beckel frequently made comments which attracted criticism. On a Fox News panel in 2011, Beckel called for "illegally shoot[ing]" Julian Assange, the editor of WikiLeaks.[31] In February 2013 Beckel said "When's the last time you heard about rape on a college campus?". After receiving criticism for his comments he apologized.[32] In July 2014, Beckel referred to Chinese citizens as "chinamen"[33][34] and in the same month he referred to The Bachelorette star Andi Dorfman as a "slut".[35][36]

On January 16, 2017, Beckel rejoined The Five as co-host.[37] However, he was again fired in May of that same year, amid claims that he had made racially insensitive remarks to a Black employee.[38] After being fired from Fox, Beckel criticized Fox for "using political tactics to front for Trump", specifically singling out Tucker Carlson.[39]


In October 2015, Beckel was hired by CNN to offer commentary on the 2016 election.[40] CNN was criticized for hiring Beckel due to his controversial views on Muslims.[41]

In response to Hillary Clinton calling Donald Trump supporters a "basket of deplorables", Beckel responded: "It's the wrong thing to say".[42] On an episode of Don Lemon Tonight, Beckel questioned former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski's unwillingness to criticize Trump.[43] After the release of the Access Hollywood tape, Beckel predicted that Trump would lose the 2016 presidential election.[44]

In February 2016, Beckel told CNN about an alleged letter that Trump had written to Diana, Princess of Wales, claiming the information would be damaging.[45][46] Beckel said he sought out the letter.[45]

USA Today

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."[47] Beckel and Thomas debated issues such as Immigration and the Iraq War.[10]

Political views

Beckel was a registered Democrat.[48][3] Beckel supported single-payer healthcare,[49] Campaign finance reform,[50] same-sex marriage,[51] and banning handguns.[52]

Beckel was originally pro-choice but his views on abortion changed after he read the Bible.[53] Beckel was described as having anti-Muslim views when proposing to temporarily prohibit foreign Muslim students from entering the country in response to the Boston bombing.[54][55][56] Beckel was a Christian and credited God with saving him from drug addiction and alcoholism.[53]

Personal life

In 1992, Beckel married Leland Ingham.[57] They had two children and divorced in 2002.[58]

Beckel was a recovering alcoholic.[27][59] He spoke 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 said that he 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.[60]

In early 2015, Beckel 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." It was later revealed that he had major back surgery on March 26 at a New York–area hospital.[27]

Beckel was saved later in life, in accordance with Christian doctrine.[61][62]

In late 2015, Beckel published a memoir, I Should Be Dead: My Life Surviving Politics, TV, and Addiction, co-written with John David Mann.[27] Cal Thomas hosted a book-signing party celebrating publication of Beckel's book, which aired in November 2015 on C-SPAN.[63][64]


Beckel died at his home in Silver Spring, Maryland, on February 20, 2022, at the age of 73.[1] Friends and colleagues paid tribute to Beckel including Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Cal Thomas.[3]



  1. ^ a b c d Risen, Clay (February 23, 2022). "Bob Beckel, Liberal Operative Who Became a Fixture on Fox, Dies at 73". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 27, 2022. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  2. ^ "The Five". Fox News. March 10, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ I Should Be Dead, p. 289.
  5. ^ "Bob Beckel returns to 'The Five'". Fox News. January 16, 2017. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  6. ^ Steinberg, Brian (May 19, 2017). "Fox News Fires 'The Five' Co-Host Bob Beckel Over Racist Comment". Variety.
  7. ^ New York: Abelard-Schuman, 1954, 1962 (rev. ed.)
  8. ^ "The Lives Behind a Liberal [Bob] and a Conservative [Cal]". USA Today. September 3, 2009. p. 11A.
  9. ^ Thomas, Cal; Beckel, Bob (2007). Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That Is Destroying America. New York: William Morrow. p. 19. ISBN 9780061236341.
  10. ^ a b Risen, Clay (February 24, 2022). "Bob Beckel, Liberal Operative Who Became a Fixture on Fox, Dies at 73". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  11. ^ I Should Be Dead, p. 11.
  12. ^ "Political Contributor Bob Beckel". Fox News. January 13, 2011.
  13. ^ a b Weinraub, Bernard (June 8, 1984). "From Gloom to Exultation: Mondale's Long Campaign". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  14. ^ I Should Be Dead, p. 231.
  15. ^ a b c d e "Bob Beckel Bio". CNN. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 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.
  16. ^ "Business and Industry". Peace Corps. Archived from the original on May 24, 2013.
  17. ^ Gurciullo, Brianna (February 22, 2013). "Former professor says rapes on college campuses are uncommon". The GW Hatchet. George Washington University. Retrieved June 11, 2014. ...Beckel, a liberal commentator who taught in the Graduate School of Political Management for more than a decade...
  18. ^ "Bob Beckel". George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. Archived from the original on July 26, 2011.
  19. ^ Mostafavi, Beata (April 25, 2008). "Pundits Cal Thomas, Bob Beckel spar, but on common ground". The Flint Journal. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  20. ^ "Robert G. Beckel Exit Interview" (PDF). December 3, 1980. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 29, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ "Chapter 13". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on February 24, 2013.
  23. ^ Schudel, Bob. "Bob Beckel, campaign manager and political commentator, dies at 73". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  24. ^ "Campaigner resigns after reported extortion attempt". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Lewiston, Idaho. Associated Press. September 1, 2002. p. 4C.
  25. ^ The Five at IMDb Accessed December 31, 2015
  26. ^ a b c Balakrishnan, Anita (June 26, 2015). "Fox News releases Bob Beckel for 'personal' issues". USA Today.
  27. ^ a b c d e Beckel, Bob; Mann, John David (November 3, 2015). I Should Be Dead: My Life Surviving Politics, TV, and Addiction. New York City: Hachette Books. ISBN 978-0-31-634775-4. Retrieved January 10, 2016.
  28. ^ a b Byers, Dylan (June 25, 2015). "Fox News drops Bob Beckel". Politico. Retrieved June 25, 2015.
  29. ^ Kirell, Andrew (April 30, 2015). "Fox's Bob Beckel Undergoes Addiction Rehab". Mediaite. Archived from the original on May 1, 2015.
  30. ^ "Bob Beckel Choking: Says Roger Ailes, Eric Bolling Saved His Life". HuffPost. October 14, 2011. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  31. ^ O'Malley, Nick (January 9, 2017). "From traitor to patriot: how the US right fell for Julian Assange". Sydney Morning Herald.
  32. ^ "Fox News Host Addresses Huge Controversy". HuffPost. February 21, 2013. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  33. ^ Hughes, Jason J. (July 10, 2014). "Bob Beckel's Racial Slur on 'The Five' Triggers Internet Backlash (Video)". Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  34. ^ Byers, Dylan (July 14, 2014). "Fox's Bob Beckel to address 'Chinamen' remark amid calls for termination". POLITICO. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  35. ^ Gajewski, Ryan (July 31, 2014). "Fox News' Bob Beckel: 'Bachelorette' Star Andi Dorfman Is a 'Slut' (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  36. ^ Gupta, Prachi (July 30, 2014). "Fox anchor Bob Beckel: "Bachelorette" star Andi Dorfman is "a slut!"". Salon. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  37. ^ "Bob Beckel To Return as Co-Host on Fox News Channel's The Five" (Press release). Fox News Press. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  38. ^ Battaglio, Stephen (May 19, 2017). "Fox News fires Bob Beckel from 'The Five,' claims he made insensitive remark to black employee". Los Angeles Times.
  39. ^ "Former Fox Newser Bob Beckel Asks Tucker Carlson: 'What the F*ck Has Happened to You?'". Mediaite. June 20, 2018. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  40. ^ Wemple, Erik (October 21, 2015). "CNN hires jolly Islamophobe Bob Beckel, formerly of Fox News". The Washington Post.
  41. ^ "CNN hires jolly Islamophobe Bob Beckel, formerly of Fox News". Washington Post. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  42. ^ Tatum, Dan; Merica, Sophie (September 10, 2016). "Clinton expresses regret for saying 'half' of Trump supporters are 'deplorables'". CNN. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  43. ^ Gauthier, Brendan (August 26, 2016). ""Have you said one thing negative about Donald Trump?": CNN's Bob Beckel grills Corey Lewandowski". Salon. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  44. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (October 8, 2016). "Donald Trump Apologizes For Lewd Comments But Insists They're "Distraction" And Hillary Clinton Has Done Worse". Deadline. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  45. ^ a b "Beckel: Trump Wrote Letter to Princess Diana". CNN. January 9, 2016. Retrieved December 26, 2022.
  46. ^ Sykes, Tom (February 26, 2016). "Trump: 'I Could Have 'Nailed' Princess Diana'". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 26, 2022.
  47. ^ Beckel, Bob; Thomas, Cal (December 29, 2015). "Common Ground: It's time to say goodbye". USA Today.
  48. ^ Lincoln, Ross A. (February 21, 2022). "Bob Beckel, Ex-Democratic Party Strategist Turned Fox News Host, Dies at 73". Retrieved April 9, 2022.
  49. ^ "Do media deserve credit for ObamaCare disaster? Bob Beckel's advice for President Obama". Fox News. March 24, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2022.
  50. ^ Thomas, Bob Beckel and Cal. "Common Ground: We need an ethics check". USA Today. Retrieved July 14, 2022.
  51. ^ "The Five Hosts Take On President Obama's New Gay Marriage Stance". Mediaite. May 9, 2012. Retrieved April 9, 2022.
  52. ^ "Greg Gutfeld And Bob Beckel In Screaming Match Over Liberal Hypocrisy On Guns, 'Evil' NRA 'Thugs'". Mediaite. January 18, 2013. Retrieved April 9, 2022.
  53. ^ a b "How Bob Beckel Survived Addiction: 'But for God, I'd Be Dead'". CBN News. December 4, 2015. Retrieved October 3, 2022.
  54. ^ "CNN hires jolly Islamophobe Bob Beckel, formerly of Fox News". Washington Post. Retrieved April 9, 2022.
  55. ^ Rothkopf, Joanna (January 9, 2015). "Fox's Bob Beckel compares supporting radical Islam to supporting interracial dating". Salon. Retrieved April 9, 2022.
  56. ^ Edwards, Breanna (April 23, 2013). "Beckel: Halt Muslim student visas". POLITICO. Retrieved April 9, 2022.
  57. ^ Cooley, Joshua (February 14, 2001). "Beckel: From Beatnik Golfer to College Coach, Mother". The Gazette. Gaithersburg, Maryland: Post Community Media. Archived from the original on February 6, 2014. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  58. ^ Grove, Lloyd (September 4, 2002). "The Reliable Source". Washington Post. p. C3.
  59. ^ "Beckel: It Takes Faith to Overcome Addiction". CBN. May 29, 2008. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  60. ^ Argetsinger, Amy; Roberts, Roxanne (May 25, 2007). "And You Think He's Feisty on Fox: Beckel's Parking Lot Punch-Up". The Washington Post.
  61. ^ I Should Be Dead, p. 242.
  62. ^ "What are 'The Five' giving up for Lent?". Fox News. February 13, 2013. Archived from the original on January 18, 2014. Retrieved June 11, 2014. Look, I'm not one of you Catholics. I'm a Protestant.
  63. ^ 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 January 10, 2016
  64. ^ "Book Party for I Should Be Dead (Video)". C-SPAN. November 15, 2015. Retrieved January 10, 2016.