Romney during a 2011 appearance on "The Factor" (Fox News/AP)
Bill O'Reilly thinks Mitt Romney has to verbally "smack the president" during Wednesday's debate in Denver.
"It's all on him," O'Reilly said on "Fox & Friends" on Tuesday. "All President Obama has to do is basically just be himself and not say anything, just repeat the same old thing. But Mitt Romney has to convince the American people that going forward he's a better alternative than the president. That's not going to be easy. So he's going to have to paint the president as an incompetent."
The "Factor" host said Romney also needs to shed the caricature he's helped create.
"Romney has got to put aside his politician persona," O'Reilly said. "He looks perfect, right? He looks like a president should look. But that's now working against him because people don't know who he is. He's got to find a way to say, 'Look, this is who I am. This is why I'm better.' In very simple terms. It's a daunting task for the governor."
When "Fox & Friends" co-host Gretchen Carlson noted that an aggressive debate strategy could be risky for Romney ("The press might say, 'Oh wow, he really went too far'"), O'Reilly dismissed the warning.
"He can't care about the press," O'Reilly said. "He can't care about them one bit. He's got to smack the president like Laura Ingraham would smack him."
O'Reilly has been critical of Romney's public posture of late. "The governor has not really been robust—he hasn't been Clint Eastwood out there," O'Reilly said on his prime-time show last month. "He better snap out of it by the time the debates roll around."
Meanwhile, O'Reilly has his own ideological battle to prep for. The Fox News star and "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart will take part in a 90-minute debate—"The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium"—on Oct. 6 at the Lisner Auditorium on the Washington, D.C., campus of the George Washington University.