Bill O'Reilly: A lively Republican debate

Let's assess all seven of the candidates on the stage last night one by one. However, I want to start with this ridiculous Ted Cruz born in Canada business.

Why are we wasting time on this? Why? Senator Cruz is an American citizen. He is entitled to run for president. That's it. It doesn't matter what some Harvard lawyer says. It doesn't matter what his political opponents say. Cruz is eligible to run.

So I'm not going to spend any time on it ever again.

As to the debate, I felt sorry for Ben Carson last night. In the first hour, we saw him twice. In fact, the doctor spoke for only eight minutes 26 seconds last night compared to 18 minutes for Ted Cruz. It's simply impossible for Ben Carson to compete under those circumstances. And I think you will see his position in the polls not improved very much.

Dr. Carson is a good man. Has run a dignified campaign, but he's not going to win.

Jeb Bush had his best debate last night. He was strong on foreign policy, did not back down from Donald Trump. In fact, when Trump attacked the governor, the crowd didn't like it.


TRUMP: And we don't need a weak person being president of the United States, OK? Because that's what we get if it were Jeb. Ill tell you what, we don't need that. We don't need that.


O'REILLY: Jeb Bush spoke for 12.5 minutes last night and he helped himself. How much? I don't know.

The governor will hang in there and hope lightning strikes something because he needs divine intervention at this point.

John Kasich got as much air time as Mr. Bush. And again, Kasich has been a terrific governor in Ohio. But his record is simply not enough in this age of anger. Governor does not reflect the mood of the republican voters. He prefers to be a policy guy when the folks want emotion and confrontation.

In another time, John Kasich might have carried the day, he will not this year.

Governor Chris Christie was his usual feisty self. And I believe he has a very strong contender for vice president. Christie is competing well in New Hampshire, but does not seem to have enough juice to defeat the frontrunners. He is, however, very effective in attacking Hillary Clinton.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R), NEW JERSEY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you're worried about the world being on fire, you're worried about how we're going to use our military, you're worried about strengthening our military and you're worried most of all about keeping your homes and your families safe and secure, you cannot give Hillary Clinton a third term of Barrack Obama's leadership. I will not do that if I'm the nominee. She won't get within 10 miles of the White House.


O'REILLY: So, I will not be surprised if Chris Christie gets the V.P. nod on the republican ticket. Obviously, the GOP needs votes from the northeast.

That leaves us with the three main contenders right now, Trump, Cruz, and Rubio. Let's take Senator Rubio first. He's an excellent debater, we all know that. And, he displayed his skills last night. He filleted Ted Cruz on his voting record.


RUBIO: You used to support TPA. Now, you say you're against it. I saw you on the senate floor flip your vote on crop insurance because they told you it would help you in Iowa. And last week, we all saw you flip your vote on ethanol in Iowa for the same reason. That is not consistent conservatism. That is political calculation.


O'REILLY: Now, Cruz, of course, hammered Rubio for being a guy soft on illegal immigration.

That back and forth between the two men was entertaining. They also went after each other on taxes. Marco Rubio has a legitimate chance to win the nomination and is feared by the Clinton campaign because he is articulate. His demographic profile works in a general election and he makes Hillary Clinton look older.

But whether Rubio can convince hardcore conservative Americans to back him remains to be seen. The senator will be with us in just a few moments and I have some very specific questions for him.

Ted Cruz also a very strong debater but got in trouble challenging Donald Trump on New York values.


CRUZ: You know, I think most people know exactly what New York values are. But everyone understands that the values in New York City are social and liberal, or pro-abortion or pro-gay marriage focused around money and the media. Not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan. I'm just saying.

TRUMP: When the World Trade Center came down, I saw something that no place on earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than new York. And everybody in the world watched and everybody in the world love New York and love New Yorkers. And I have to tell you, that was a very insulting statement that Ted made.


O'REILLY: Trump won that exchange, but Cruz won the Canada birth issue. So it was pretty much a draw between the two men.

Ted Cruz had the most speaking time last night, nearly 18 minutes as we mentioned. Donald trump right behind, 17 minutes 15 seconds.

Mr. Trump did not back away from his tough anti-immigration stance concerning Mexicans and Muslims. He also hammered China but was a bit vague on the tariff issue.

As we all know, it's all about demeanor for Donald Trump, not policy. Continues to lead in the polls because he is perceived as an avenger, a person who will knock down the political establishment.

That's what many Republican voters want this time around. And Trump delivered again last night.

Trump has also set the agenda on immigration. He continues to support a temporary ban on all Muslims entering America from abroad, including Syrian refugees.

In deference to that stance, all the other GOP candidates, except Senator Rubio, said they would prevent any person from Syria coming here until better background checks could be developed.

Rubio was a bit nuanced on that. And I'll ask him coming up.

So, one more debate here on the FOX News Channel before the Iowa vote on February 1st. The race is still fluid. Anything can happen. Stock market is blowing up. Who's that going to help? Donald Trump.

However, realistically, it looks like Cruz, Rubio, and Trump are best positioned to secure the nomination.

And that's “The Memo”.