By Lucas Shaw
NEW YORK (TheWrap.com) – With New Jersey governor Chris Christie officially out of the 2012 presidential race, that leaves it to the current crop of Republican candidates to win over the electorate and the pundits.
Based on Monday’s sit-down between Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and his former colleague Glenn Beck on GBTV, it would appear that Mitt Romney has the edge in O’Reilly’s view, but he’s not exactly overly enthusiastic about the candidate.
Romney is “a very good economics guy, and that might be enough right now,” O’Reilly said.
O’Reilly then compared Romney to Dwight Eisenhower and reiterated his belief that the country needs someone to fix the economy, not a showy ideologue.
“He’s basically a moderate Republican who governed in a way that was unobtrusive,” O’Reilly said. “He wasn’t a flashy kind of Obama guy. Romney would be that, but he’d set up an economic team that would be very effective. That’s his biggest advantage right now.”
O’Reilly was cautious throughout the interview, complimenting the candidates with one hand while still offering criticisms of most of them.
The only criticism of Romney was his lack of flash.
With Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain? Insufficient experience.
Rick Santorum? Too ideological.
Rick Perry? He’s waiting for him to come on “The O’Reilly Factor.”
“To me he’s a great unknown,” he said. “I have no idea.”
“Governor Perry has a record in Texas that’s pretty good but he hasn’t been able to sell the total package because it’s very hard to do that.”
Meanwhile, Beck seemed to like every candidate, referring to Cain’s “9-9-9 Plan” as “brilliant” and insisting Bachmann’s toughness would outweigh her inexperience.
In keeping with his normal shtick, Beck called Obama a Marxist, and conducted the interview with a baseball bat in between his legs.
All told, the exchange was a series of amicable disagreements, but even O’Reilly’s appearance does not seem to be enough to give Beck’s new show substantial media attention.