Bill O'Reilly on first presidential debate of 2016, new "Killing" book

O'Reilly on debate, new book
O'Reilly on debate, new book 05:53

Monday’s first prime-time faceoff between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump could be the most-watched in debate history, as the two presidential candidates battle on stage for 90 minutes with an expected television audience of 100 million people or more.

According to Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, both candidates have “heavy deficits” going into the debate, but he believes Clinton has the advantage.

First 2016 presidential debate 04:48

“It’s like sports. You’ve been there before. It takes a little bit of the edge off, and so I think she has the advantage,” O’Reilly said Monday on “CBS This Morning.” “She’s well-versed on policy. She can deal with pretty much any issue you put in front of her, so you’d have to say, handicapping it, she has the advantage.”

Meanwhile, Trump, who appears to have taken a more nonchalant approach to debate preparations​ – a senior adviser said Monday​ that no one has stood in as Hillary Clinton for mock debates – will experience a starkly different debate than in the Republican primaries.

“The camera doesn’t lie, and when you have 17 guys​ up there and your air time is limited, the mistakes don’t really matter because there’s too much clutter. But one-on-one, with everybody analyzing every word you say, every syllable you say, it’s a lot harder,” O’Reilly said.

While politicians, pundits and media organizations have accused Trump of being light on policy details​, whether it’s on immigration, foreign policy, or building a wall on the Mexican border, O’Reilly said Trump portrays himself as a “generalist, the big-picture guy.”

Trump’s message? “‘Country’s in trouble. I’m going to fix it. I’m the master negotiator.’ His supporters and those who may vote for him who are undecided accept the fact that he’s not a guy who’s going to be teaching at Princeton, political science. They accept it,” O’Reilly said. “The voter’s going to be looking at how they conduct themselves tonight.”

The two candidates are now running neck-and-neck in recent polls, with the latest national poll from Bloomberg Politics​ showing them tied at 46 percent among likely voters. Clinton led by six points in the same poll after July’s Democratic convention​.

“The ‘basket of deplorables​’ really hurt her because that’s condescending. Speaking down,” O’Reilly said, referring to Clinton’s description of half of Trump supporters made at a New York City campaign fundraiser. “Americans, even if they don’t like [Trump], don’t like that. There’s been so many things about her. She comes off as an ice queen. And again, this is a lot of personality involved in this election, a lot of personality.”

Song, Jean

Meanwhile, O’Reilly is also promoting the latest book in his “Killing” series, “Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan,” which addresses one of the U.S.’ pivotal national security decisions: the use of the atomic bomb.

In the book, co-authored by Martin Dugard, O’Reilly asked all five living presidents to write him a letter on whether they would have supported President Harry Truman’s decision to drop the bombs in Japan. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush responded.

“All three said yes,” O’Reilly said. “Now, President Obama didn’t because – and this is speculation – I don’t think he would have dropped the bomb. Clinton didn’t because he didn’t want to get into a controversy with his wife running for president, but I think Clinton would have dropped it.”

“Killing the Rising Sun” is currently No.1 on best-seller lists for the New York Times and USA Today. O’Reilly said there are three more books coming in the “Killing” series.

Watch the video above to see what surprised O’Reilly about the country’s history during the research process for the book.