US

Ed Rollins: Roger Ailes was a warrior who fought hard for the causes he believed in

Edward Rollins

Roger Ailes was a warrior! He was my friend. A man I knew and respected for nearly four decades. A man who mentored and cultivated some of the top political talent and trained some of the most outstanding journalists in the business today.

Roger was an American patriot, an extraordinary leader both as a political strategist and as a pioneer in modern cable communications.

But most of all he was a devoted husband and a dedicated father.

I first got to know Roger in the 1970s. He was without peer and was the best media consultant in the business. Every major campaign in the Republican Party wanted Roger to do the media for their campaigns.

He won some of the toughest campaigns of that era, and trained a generation of strategists that followed him into the business.

He was generous with his knowledge and talents and was a fabulous mentor – though he was not my mentor, as I came from California and he was from the Midwest (Ohio) and then he moved to New York.

He was also a good guy. Democrats and Republicans all loved and admired him.

In the 1980s, when I was the White House political director for Ronald Reagan, Roger was always there to offer advice and counsel.

So in 1984, when I was managing Ronald Reaganˋs re-election campaign and we were putting together some of the top advertising talent in the country, the man I hired to oversee this all-star but politically-inexperienced group of talent, was … Roger Ailes.

The "Morning Again in America" campaign is still viewed as one of the best ad campaigns ever. That advertising campaign – without one single negative ad – contributed immensely to Reagan's 49-state victory.

Roger is also credited in that ’84 campaign with refocusing the president after a disastrous first debate to go on and easily win the last debate that led to a Reagan landslide.

Roger passed away Thursday morning after a fall in his home in Florida. The idea that this tough, strong man couldn't bounce right back doesn't diminish my images of him. He has struggled with debilitating injuries for several years, but always battled on. Courage was his strongest asset. 

My memories of him will always be that of the warrior fighting for the causes he believed in, fighting for the freedoms that he helped guarantee, and fighting for this extraordinary country that he so loved.

Rest In Peace, my friend. Your service to this country made it a better place.

Edward J. Rollins is a Fox News contributor. He is a former assistant to President Reagan and he managed his reelection campaign. He is a senior presidential fellow at Hofstra University and a member of the Political Consultants Hall of Fame. He is a strategist for Great America PAC, an independant group that is supporting Donald Trump for president.