Interview with Ohio Governor John Kasich

Interview with Ohio Governor John Kasich

By John King, USA - May 16, 2012

KING: So why worry so much about just one state? Well, this one state could settle the election. No Republican has won the White House in modern times without carrying Ohio.

Republican Governor John Kasich joins us to discuss the 2012 political terrain.

Governor, you are in the middle of perhaps the most competitive battleground state. The vice president was there today trying to convince blue-collar in your state that Romney is a bad guy.

Let's listen.


BIDEN: Then, there is the Romney philosophy, the Romney economics, which says as long as the government helps the guys at the top to do well, workers in small businesses and communities, they can fend for themselves, but the country will be OK if the big guy is doing well.


KING: You hear this coming. Romney is rich. He is greedy, he doesn't care about you, the guy who works with his hands. What does Governor Romney need to do to counter that?

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Well, John, look, this state of Ohio had a near-death experience in the last few years.

And we came in. And we had lost 600,000 jobs, 400,000 in the last four years. Our credit was going down the drain. We had an $8 billion hole. So, working with the legislature, we were able to balance the budget, cut taxes, build up the rainy day fund from 89 cents to $240 million, get our credit upgraded when the United States' credit went down and get our credit improved out here.

And I -- when Governor Romney was out here, I told him, I said, we are following the formula of streamlining regulations, being job creating friendly, balancing budgets, cutting taxes, and, you know, using common sense. And if you get to be president, we are going to do more of that.

And, frankly, what happens out of Washington is, it creates a wind in my face, uncertainty over Obamacare, uncertainty over their tax policy, uncertainty over the regulatory policy. And when Joe talks about small businesses, this is paralyzing small businesses' ability to make decisions.

So when they don't have certainty, they go the other way. In Ohio, we have given them certainty and things have been improved. But if we can get a Romney presidency, they are going to get much better.

KING: Well, you just made the economic case there. Help me with the empathy case.

I was out there when you were campaigning, when you were running for governor. It was a tough campaign. You like to get on the factory floor, you like to grab people in the street and shake their hands. That's the knock, as you know, on Governor Romney, that he doesn't make the connection, especially with the working class.

What does he need to do to be better?

KASICH: What people really want to know from their doctor is, are you going to make me feel better? And what they really want to know from a president are, are you going to give me some security when it comes to my work? Because if I'm not working, my family is in trouble. And when I am working, the fact of the matter is, my whole family is doing better. So, all this high-fiving, it goes to a certain degree. But it is frankly about, people are worried out here and they want to have some sense that tomorrow will be better. And that's what he needs to communicate. And that's what I have told him.

KING: You know the politics. You used to work in this town, Washington. You were smart enough to get out. And you work out there now.

KASICH: Yes. That's right.

KING: But a lot of people look at the electoral map. When they look at presidential history, they say Romney has to win Ohio. So why not pick a Kasich or a Portman to be your number two?

What do you think?

KASICH: Well, I think Rob Portman would be a great pick.

I'm governor. I have got a job to do out here, John. I mean, I have no interest. And that means I am not even going to express no interest, because that indicates interest.


KASICH: You got to be kidding me.

No, I think Rob Portman would be a great pick. But, frankly, at the end of the day, voters don't vote on the basis of vice president. We always talk about it. It gets everybody fired up. I can remember when Bob Dole picked Jack Kemp. And, my God, isn't he great?

And you know what? At the end of the day, it gets down to Obama and Romney. And what it's going to get down to is this. Obama is going to say, I inherited a mess and I'm making it better. And Romney is going to say, you haven't made it good enough. And I can do far better than you have done.

And it is going to get down to mom and dad and the kids in the living room saying, who do I believe and who do I trust and who do I want to bet the future on? That's what it's going to get down to, not who the vice president is. 

Kasich in the Spotlight
Michael Gerson · November 11, 2014

John King, USA

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