“The presidential race is on,” Bill O’Reilly said tonight, reflecting on the Iowa Freedom Summit last weekend where eight Republicans showed up to present themselves to voters.

O’Reilly said that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker recently caught a break by getting praise from Rush Limbaugh.

“Scott Walker has the blueprint for winning and winning consistently and winning big in a blue state with conservative principles that are offered with absolutely no excuses,” Limbaugh said.

O’Reilly described Walker as a proponent of smaller government who has “generally defeated the far-left at every turn in a state where the Democratic Party is strong.”

“The Factor” host said that Walker will have to go up against populists like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Dr. Ben Carson who effectively speak to voters. Still, he said Walker and fellow Governors Rick Perry (R-Texas) and John Kasich (R-Ohio) have positive economic stories to tell.

Meanwhile, O’Reilly said that Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) “remains somewhat of a mystery to [him],” adding that he has asked Paul on the show a number of times and Paul always declines.

O’Reilly called Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-P.a) conservatives who “must break through quickly in order to raise money.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) seems to have more momentum, O’Reilly said, because he espouses conservative principles from a minority’s perspective. But a campaign could put him up against his former mentor Jeb Bush, who would run as a moderate Republican with a successful record in Florida.

Then, there’s Mitt Romney, who O’Reilly noted is able to raise a lot of money. He said Romney would run as an economic stimulator but his road would not be easy.

O’Reilly said Sarah Palin and Donald Trump “liven up the proceedings” but it would be a challenge for them to have effective organizations in 50 states.
  
“All in all, the race is already interesting, and that's a good thing,” O’Reilly said.

Watch the memo above.