Dennis Kucinich Signs on As Fox News Commentator
Stephen Koff, The Plain Dealer
Former Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio has joined Fox News Channel and Fox Business as a paid contributor. (photo: Getty Images)
ennis Kucinich has years of experience speaking on the House of Representatives floor, on the stump and in political debates. He likes to mix it up.
So it's only natural that the Fox News Channel should announce him as its newest contributor.
That's right, the man every Clevelander knows simply as "Dennis" is launching a part-time career as a Fox News commentator. Kucinich, 66, a former Cleveland mayor, will debut in his new role on "The O'Reilly Factor" at 8 p.m. Thursday. He'll soon appear on a variety of other Fox programs as well, sometimes once a week, sometimes more often.
"I'm really looking forward to it," Kucinich told The Plain Dealer in a telephone interview. "I've had a good relationship with Fox over the years. They've always been open to letting me express my point of view."
He said he signed a multi-year contract, but would not discuss the terms. As for the possibility of getting rich off TV, he said, "I never look at the world in those terms."
The deal came together quickly, after Fox asked him to come to New York last week, he said.
"This was not negotiated by an agent," he said, adding when asked that he only discussed doing commentary and analysis and did not talk about having his own show.
"They contacted me directly. My wife and I went to New York to hear what they were offering me, to review the contract and to sign it."
Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes said he's always been impressed with Kucinich's fearlessness and thoughtfulness on the issues, reported the Associated Press, which broke the news out of New York.
"His willingness to take a stand from his point of view makes him a valuable voice in our country's debate," Ailes said in a statement emailed to The Plain Dealer.
About that point of view: Kucinich is notably liberal. Fox is noted for its conservatism.
Fans of Kucinich's politics -- his calls for a Department of Peace, his early opposition to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, his desire to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney during the Bush administration, his insistence on single-payer, universal health care -- are more likely to be in MSNBC's television audience. Some of them might argue that Kucinich is going to the network of the dark side.
Kucinich sounds thrilled by the very idea.
"All networks provide a service," he said. "People who are familiar with my perspective know that I relish the opportunity to go into the lion's den.
"I don't yield to anybody on standing up for what I believe in," he continued. "If all you do is talk to people who agree with you, how are you going to change anybody's mind?"
After serving as a Cleveland council member and mayor, state legislator, two-time presidential candidate and 16-year congressman, Kucinich left the House of Representatives this month. His former district and that of fellow Democrat Marcy Kaptur of Toledo were merged by Republicans who controlled Ohio's redistricting process, and Kaptur won the subsequent primary election against the Clevelander last year.
Fox said Kucinich will provide analysis and commentary across its daytime and prime-time programming, as well as on Fox Business Network.