Robert Gilliland Beckel played college football at Wagner College in Staten Island, where he received a bachelor's degree. He is best known as a pundit and political operative, and very little information has been reported about his college years and his participation in team sports. Beckel began his political career in college in 1968 when he worked for Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign.
From 2011 to 2015, Bob Beckel appeared as an analyst on the Fox News Channel, where he served as a liberal co-host on the talk show, "The Five" and became known for making controversial statements. He was released from the network in June 2015 after an extended absence due to back surgery. Beckel, a recovering alcoholic, later revealed that he had sought rehabilitation from an addiction to painkillers during his absence. As of November 2015, he serves as a columnist for USA Today, writing a series of debate-style articles with long-time friend, conservative pundit Cal Thomas.
Prior to becoming a pundit, Beckel was a political operative who most notably served as the campaign manager for Walter Mondale's 1984 presidential campaign. Beckel was responsible for a series of effective attacks against Mondale's opponent, Gary Hart, using Wendy's popular slogan, "Where's the Beef?" In the 1970s, Beckel joined the U.S. Department of State and worked on the Panama Canal Treaty and the Salt II Treaty.