Could John Kasich be the GOP’s secret weapon in 2016? At least John Kasich thinks so

Andrew Romano— It’s a frozen February evening in West Virginia, and John Kasich has gotten sidetracked yet again. For two full days, Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio, has been wooing local legislators and jousting with the press as he tours Columbia, S.C., and Charleston, W.Va., in support of his longtime hobbyhorse: a federal balanced-budget amendment. He has also been telling everyone who asks, including a growing gaggle of national reporters (CNN’s Gloria Borger, Bloomberg’s Dave Weigel) that he is thinking about running for president in 2016. “I’m taking no options off the table in terms of my future,” Kasich, 62, declared yesterday in South Carolina — a pivotal early-primary state, and the first of many he plans to visit. (New Hampshire is next on March 24.) “I hope to do a significant amount of traveling.” But for now, at least, the traveling is over. It’s time to relax. Kasich […]

Kasich Looks to Republican Primaries, ‘Ohio Story’ in Hand

COLUMBUS, Ohio Sheryl Gay Stolberg — Gov. John R. Kasich was sipping coffee in the sun-drenched garden room of his official residence, boasting about his “Ohio story” of economic recovery, when he was told that some Republicans thought a fellow Midwestern governor, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, was more conservative. He bolted upright. “I think I have the right to define what conservatism is,” Mr. Kasich roared, launching into a breathless oration about tax cuts, the mentally ill, prison reform, faith in American culture, unwed motherhood, welfare and why he hates being called a “compassionate conservative.” He wrapped up 11 minutes later, declaring: “This is a big deal! This is about human life!” The lecture was typical of Mr. Kasich — voluble, impassioned, a little bit scattered — and his irritation at being compared with Mr. Walker was revealing. As the 2016 presidential field takes shape, Mr. Walker is gaining traction. But […]

Ohio Governor John Kasich’s positive politics, even with Hillary Clinton

CONCORD, New Hampshire  Scot Lehigh —  Halfway through John Kasich’s testing-the-presidential-primary-waters pitch at a local restaurant on Wednesday, something odd struck me: Ohio’s Republican governor hadn’t engaged in Obama-trashing or Clinton-bashing. Indeed, he declined even when an audience member asked for “two or three of the best reasons you can give us as to why Hillary should not be president of the United States.” “I’m not getting into Hillary today,” Kasich replied. He answered another question, then circled back. “If I’m talking about what I don’t like about Hillary, then I’m not telling you what I think. And I think you need to know more about who I am, and what I think, than what I think negative about somebody else.” That response won Kasich a round of applause, prompting him to note that at the New Hampshire GOP’s presidential-candidate cattle call last month, he had stuck to a positive message while […]

How John Kasich could win

CINCINNATI, Ohio Chrissie Thompson – No chance? THINK AGAIN John Kasich is like your 8-year-old son. You’re at a school event, and someone comes up to you to say what a nice young man your son is. “You’re like, ‘My kid?’ ‘Yeah, he can behave really well. He has really nice manners,’ ” said Renee Plummer, a real estate developer and political activist in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “And then you start to look at your child – or your governor – and say, ‘You know what, he can be president, and look at all the people who are behind him.’ “ As I’ve covered our governor’s mounting presidential campaign, feedback from Cincinnati has increasingly sounded like this: Kasich, as president? Leader of the free world? Are you kidding? He hasn’t a chance. What is he thinking? Ohio Governor John Kasich answers questions from the audience during the 2016 Iowa Caucus Consortium […]

Who Is the GOP’s Strongest Candidate?

Ohio Daniel J. McGraw – A couple weeks ago, one could see the stark contrast and difficult decision facing the Republican Party in the coming year. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was on a stage at Liberty University in Virginia, formally announcing his candidacy in front of 10,000 students at a well-orchestrated tent revival of sorts. Up in New Hampshire at about the same moment, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has not announced his candidacy for president but seems to be getting closer and closer to doing so, was learning about the latest in 3-D printing research. He was touring Nashua Community College, where he talked about jobs, the economy and NASCAR racing. Earlier in the day he had discussed issues with voters over breakfast at another small college. The Kasich events were not much on show. They were being done, however, to showcase the new-and-improved Kasich, who many remember as […]