inherited from his father into a $60 billion global media power. But
a teetotaling Mormon from the Midwest and a thrice-married
Australian who publishes photos of topless women in one of his
British newspapers are bound to have very different world views.
Mr. Murdoch's wariness about Mr. Romney is similar to the way many Republican primary voters felt. Mr. Murdoch wanted anybody else and could not resist getting swept up in the flavor-of-the-week fickleness that gummed up the Republican nominating process.
Along with Roger Ailes, chairman of Fox News, Mr. Murdoch urged New Jersey's governor, Chris Christie, to run. Both men admire Mr. Christie's gusto and toughness, a sharp edge they see in themselves. "He really wanted Christie," one Mr. Murdoch's friends said.
Despite being cast by critics on the left as an arm of the Romney campaign, Fox News has been far more aggressive toward Mr. Obama than it has been kind to Mr. Romney. Fox offers daily reports on subjects that infuriate the right but receive relatively little attention from most media outlets, like a failed environmental subsidy program and a botched sting that allowed weapons to fall into the hands of drug dealers.
People close to both Mr. Ailes and Mr. Murdoch say they both complain that Mr. Romney's campaign has been too timid in taking on Mr. Obama.
Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign, politely brushed off Mr. Murdoch's concerns about the staff's competence. "Governor Romney respects Rupert Murdoch, and also respects his team and has confidence in them," Ms. Saul said.
The day before the Iowa caucuses, Mr. Murdoch urged Iowans to think about voting for Rick Santorum, saying he was the only candidate with a "genuine big vision." When Mr. Santorum dropped out, Mr. Murdoch called him a friend and sounded downright doleful.
Those who know him say that his fondness for sounding off on Twitter is classic Murdoch. A compulsive e-mailer and phone caller, he has always had a hyperactive mind. And the impetuous, unfiltered nature of Twitter suits his shoot-from-the hip style. His public postings, they say, reflect the lack of enthusiasm he has privately voiced about Mr. Romney for years.
Mr. Murdoch's political influence in the United States has never been anywhere near what it was in Britain, where he once slipped into a private meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron through the back door of 10 Downing Street. But the phone hacking scandal there has rendered him something more of a political hot potato in the United States.
Mr. Romney and his staff have said they can ill afford to waste time and energy rebutting all their critics. Even Mr. Murdoch and his News Corp., with all its sway and potency among those on the right, is not immune from the Romney campaign's well practiced cold- shoulder media treatment.
Romney advisers say privately that having Mr. Murdoch sniping at them is better than the alternative: to be praised by him would open the campaign up to criticisms that it is a tool of the establishment right.
Last week, the campaign invited a few dozen leaders from Wall Street, the news media and Republican politics to an informal discussion with Mr. Romney at a private New York social club, a meeting first reported by Politico.
Mr. Murdoch was one of the first to offer a suggestion. Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster who was there, recalled that Mr. Murdoch spoke up after the chief executive of Univision, Randy Falco, told Mr. Romney that Mr. Obama had appeared on his network a dozen times and was building a considerable edge with Latino voters.
"Every campaign attracts a fair number of critics," Ms. Conway said. "But not every critic is created equal."
Referring to the Latino vote, Mr. Murdoch gave Mr. Romney some more unsolicited advice. "I hope that you'll take the fight to President Obama."
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