Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg had a long day of grilling executives at their All Things Digital Conference. But they saved Rupert Murdoch — their Wall Street Journal overlord — for last. The highlight? Murdoch’s not-quite-but-almost endorsement of Barack Obama for president.The founder — and defender — of Fox News said he expected Obama to win in a landslide, citing widespread unhappiness with the current administration and his disenchantment with Republican contender John McCain. Murdoch added that after a long career in the Senate, McCain had been forced to compromise too much and doesn’t stand for much. Murdoch even nonchalantly owned up to influencing the New York Post to back Obama in the New York primary.
During the Q&A, I pressed Murdoch — a new U.S. citizen — on whether he would actually vote for Obama in November. He said he was leaning toward it, but would know in the next six months. When I asked if I could call him, he said yes, then joked I could probably just figure it out from reading the Post.
I also asked Murdoch about reports that he said he would buy the New York Times if he had the opportunity, just to shut it down. He said he was kidding, but likely Times staffers in the audience shuddered.
I caught up with Kara of the WSJ and All Things D once they got offstage to discuss her new found admiration for the outspoken mogul — not to mention Alaskan elk.