Fox News chief Roger Ailes tried to get David Petraeus to run for president against President Obama in 2012, the Washington Post's Bob Woodward reported on Monday night.

Woodward released a 13-minute audio recording of Petraeus speaking to Fox News national security analyst KT McFarland in 2011. In the recording, McFarland told Petraeus that she had a message for him from Ailes: accept no government position other than chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and if he was refused, run for president.

Petraeus laughed at the idea, but indicated that he had had other conversations with Ailes about it. "He said he would quit Fox ... and bankroll it," he said, adding that Rupert Murdoch was "after me as well" about a run.

"No, I think the one who's bankrolling it is the big boss," McFarland said, referring to Murdoch.

New York magazine first reported in 2011 that Ailes was hankering for Pretraeus to toss his hat into the ring. That story portrayed Ailes as eagerly casting around for a Republican standard bearer to take on Obama. Ailes frequently has private conversations with top GOP figures.

Of course, Petraeus' own reticence -- and, later, a certain extramarital mistake -- torpedoed any presidential dreams Ailes may have had for him.

Speaking to Woodward, Ailes said he was mostly making a "joke" in his efforts to get Petraeus to run.

Intriguingly, McFarland also said that Ailes wanted to know if Petraeus thought there was anything "that Fox is doing right or wrong that you want to tell us to do differently." Petraeus immediately said he thought the network's coverage of the wars he was commanding had grown too harsh in the years since Obama was elected. (McFarland mentioned Shepard Smith as an example of increased skepticism, though Smith arguably attacked Obama from the left, not the right, in his criticisms of American foreign policy.) Petraeus added that Bret Baier and Bill O'Reilly had been striking the right tone.

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  • Paula Broadwell

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  • Leon Panetta, John Allen, David Petraeus

    FILE POOL - In this July 9, 2011 file photo, USMC Gen. John Allen, left, and Army Gen. David Petraeus, top U.S. commander in Afghanistan and incoming CIA Director, greet former CIA Director and new U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, right, as he lands in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, July 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul J. Richards, Pool)

  • John Allen

    FILE -- In an April 28, 2011 file photo Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Allen, speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington. The sex scandal that led to CIA Director David Petraeus' downfall widened Tuesday with word the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is under investigation for thousands of alleged "inappropriate communications" with another woman involved in the case. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak/file)

  • FBI agents carry boxes and a computer from the home of Paula Broadwell, the woman whose affair with retired Gen. David Petraeus led to his resignation as CIA director, in the Dilworth neighborhood of Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

  • FBI agents carry boxes and a computer from the home of Paula Broadwell, the woman whose affair with retired Gen. David Petraeus led to his resignation as CIA director, in the Dilworth neighborhood of Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

  • The home of Paula Broadwell, the woman whose affair with retired Gen. David Petraeus led to his resignation as CIA director, is shown as FBI agents conduct a search inside in the Dilworth neighborhood of Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Nov. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

  • FBI agents leave the home of Paula Broadwell, the woman whose affair with retired Gen. David Petraeus led to his resignation as CIA director, after a search in the Dilworth neighborhood of Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg police stand guard outside the home of Paula Broadwell, the woman whose affair with retired Gen. David Petraeus led to his resignation as CIA director, in the Dilworth neighborhood of Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

  • FBI agents conduct a search inside the home of Paula Broadwell, the woman whose affair with retired Gen. David Petraeus led to his resignation as CIA director, in the Dilworth neighborhood of Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Nov. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

  • An FBI agent carries boxes from the home of Paula Broadwell, the woman whose affair with retired Gen. David Petraeus led to his resignation as CIA director, in the Dilworth neighborhood of Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

  • An FBI agent carries boxes to the home of Paula Broadwell, the woman whose affair with retired Gen. David Petraeus led to his resignation as CIA director, in the Dilworth neighborhood of Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

  • Jill Kelley, David Petraeus

    A Tampa police officer walks away after talking to Jill Kelley through the window at her home Monday, Nov 12, 2012 in Tampa, Fla. Kelley is identified as the woman who allegedly received harassing emails from Gen. David Petraeus' paramour, Paula Broadwell. She serves as an unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where the military's Central Command and Special Operations Command are located. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • Jill Kelley, David Petraeus

    Jill Kelley leaves her home Monday, Nov 12, 2012 in Tampa, Fla. Kelley is identified as the woman who received threatening emails from Gen. David Petraeus' paramour, Paula Broadwell. She serves as an unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where the military's Central Command and Special Operations Command are located. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • Jill Kelley, David Petraeus

    ADDS ALLEGEDLY AND CORRECTS TO RECEIVED HARASSING EMAILS, NOT THREATENING EMAILS - Walkers pass the home of Jill Kelley in Tampa, Fla. on Monday, Nov. 12, 2012. Kelley is identified as the woman who received allegedly harassing emails from Gen. David Petraeus' paramour, Paula Broadwell. She serves as an unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where the military's Central Command and Special Operations Command are located. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • David Petraeus, Jill Kelley

    This photo taken Monday, Nov. 12, 2012 shows the home of Jill Kelley in Tampa, Fla. Kelley is identified as the woman who received threatening emails from Gen. David Petraeus' paramour, Paula Broadwell. She serves as an unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where the military's Central Command and Special Operations Command are located. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

  • FILE - In this June 23, 2011, file photo, Gen. David Petraeus, center, walks with his wife Holly, left, past a seated Paula Broadwell, rear right, as he arrives to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee during a hearing on his nomination to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on Capitol Hill in Washington. Petraeus quit Nov. 9, 2012, after acknowledging an extramarital relationship. As questions arise about the extramarital affair between Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell, she has remained quiet about details of their relationship. However, information has emerged about Jill Kelley, the woman who received the emails from Broadwell that led to the FBI’s discovery of Petraeus’ indiscretion. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

  • In the frame grab from C-SPAN Book TV video taken Feb. 6, 2012, author Paula Broadwell speaks to an audience about the book she co-authored, "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus," at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington. The scandal that brought down CIA Director David Petraeus started with harassing emails sent by his biographer and paramour, Broadwell, to another woman, and eventually led the FBI to discover he was having an affair, U.S. officials told The Associated Press on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. Petraeus quit Friday, Nov. 9, after acknowledging an extramarital relationship. (AP Photo/C-SPAN Book TV)

  • Paula Broadwell

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  • David Patreaus, Holly Petreaus

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  • David Patreaus, Holly Petreaus

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  • Barack Obama, David Petraeus

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  • David Petraeus

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  • David Petraeus

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  • George W. Bush, David Petraeus

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  • Joe Biden, David Petraeus, Holly Knowlton Petraeus

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