"I have more power than anybody other than the president"

The Fox News presenter, Bill O'Reilly, claims that he can "get things changed, quickly".

Bill O'Reilly, presenter of The O'Reilly Factor, made a rather bold statement in an interview with Newsweek this week:

I have more power than anybody other than the president, in the sense that I can get things changed, quickly. I don't have to go through the legislative process; I don't have to do any of that. I can just bring it to the people, and say, look, this has gotta be dealt with.

It's actually a step back from comments he made last year, when he was asked whether he would run for presidency in 2012:

I have more power doing what I'm doing.

O'Reilly certainly has huge influence as a leading presenter on America's "most trusted" news channel. However, as the Huffington Post points out, he may have a slightly inflated idea of his own importance -- for example, offering to broker the debt ceiling negotiations earlier this year.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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François Fillon's woes are good news for Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron

It is too late for the Republicans to replace their scandal-tainted candidate.

It's that time of the week again: this week's Le Canard Enchaîné has more bad news for François Fillon, the beleagured centre-right candidate for the French presidency. This week's allegations: that he was paid $50,000 to organise a meeting between the head of the French oil company Total and Vladimir Putin.

The story isn't quite as scandalous as the ones that came before it: the fee was paid to Fillon's (legitimate) consultancy business but another week with a scandal about Fillon and money is good news for both Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.

The bad news for the Republicans is that Fillon is on the ballot now: there is no getting off the train that they are on. Destination: blowing an election that was theirs to be won.

Who'll be the ultimate beneficiary of the centre-right's misery? Although Macron is in the box seat as far as the presidential race is concerned, that he hasn't been in frontline politics all that long means that he could still come unstuck. As his uncertain performance in the first debate showed he is more vulnerable than he looks, though that the polls defied the pundits - both in Britain and in France - and declared him the winner shows that his popularity and charisma means that he has a handy cushion to fall back on.

It looks all-but-certain that it will be Macron and Le Pen who face each other in the second round in May and Macron will be the overwhelming favourite in that contest.

It's still just about possible to envisage a perfect storm for Le Pen where Fillon declares that the choice between Macron and Le Pen is a much of a muchness as neither can equal his transformative programme for France, Macron makes some 11th-hour blunder which keeps his voters at home and a terrorist attack or a riot gets the National Front's voters fired up and to the polling stations for the second round.

But while it's possible he could still come unstuck, it looks likely that despite everything we've thought these last three years, the French presidency won't swing back to the right in 2017.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.