Category Archives: John Kasich

Kasich & Sebring

Ohio Governor John Kasich was confronted with the Sebring, Ohio water crisis while campaigning in New Hampshire Friday night.   The developing Sebring crisis echoes Flint Michigan, with the local water system delivering water with dangerous levels of lead and copper.

During a town hall in Bedford a man rose and asked whether Kasich has yet apologized to the people of Sebring.  Kasich defended the actions and responsiveness of state government.

Here’s what happened:

Super Kasich (Updated)

Kasich - Greenland, NH 2-1-16Republican presidential candidate John Kasich weighed in this afternoon on super PACs, both one supporting him and those supporting key rivals Jeb Bush and Chris Christie.  As he finished a town hall in Greenland, New Hampshire Kasich launched into a condemnation of negative ads, including a negative ad aired by the super PAC supporting him.  He described himself as “outraged” by that negative ad aired by his super PAC, which he first saw this morning and “thrilled” that they have instead aired a “positive” ad.  He then called for his “good friend Chris Christie and Jeb Bush” to “take their negative nonsense off television.”

As Kasich then tried to end his town hall a man showed him a pile of negative mail attacking Kasich.  As he rifled through them Kasich facetiously growled “I sided with Ooobammaa! Aahgghh!”

Kasich did not stop to talk with reporters afterwards, only calling out “I’ve said it all, all I need to say” when asked about his comments as he briskly strode onto his campaign bus.

Here’s how it went:

Update – Photo Gallery:

Our photo gallery from Kasich’s Greenland town hall is here.

Band of Brothers

Kasich - Franklin, NH 1-22-16Republican presidential candidate  and Ohio Governor John Kasich rolled through New Hampshire with an ad hoc band of brothers last Friday, continuing his New Hampshire-focused campaign.  Kasich was joined by former U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey, former Air Force pilot and P.O.W. Tom Moe who was held in the “Hanoi Hilton” alongside John McCain and who later served as the Ohio Director of Veterans Services under Kasich, and Tim Penny, a former Democratic member of the House of Representatives from Minnesota.  Tom Rath, a former New Hampshire Attorney General and Republican power broker, also accompanied Kasich but did not address the audience.

Kasich - Franklin, NH 1-22-16

Kasich - Franklin, NH 1-22-16Speaking to a modest-sized audience of about 40 people in Franklin,  the four travelers appeared to greatly enjoy each other’s company.  Their presentations were heartfelt, quickly moving into deeply personal territory.  Moe’s experience as a prisoner of war for five years, with beatings and other torture, is riveting and inspiring even 40 years later.  While discussing Moe’s time working in the Kasich administration as state director of veterans services and their meetings with families of soldiers lost in war, Kasich discussed the loss of his own parents, killed together in a car accident caused by a drunk driver.  His introduction of Tim Penny, a former Democratic congressman who served alongside Kasich, included the fact that Penny’s wife died about ten years ago.  Although hardly light and breezy, it all seemed to fit together and gave a window into Kasich and his compatriots. Continue reading Band of Brothers

Kasich, Music Critic

Avowed Linkin Park fan, and Republican presidential candidate, John Kasich had a discussion of music this morning as he entered the New Hampshire GOP candidate town hall.  Kasich encountered Rod Webber, a New Hampshirite who tries to advance the cause of peace by presenting each candidate with a symbolic peace flower.   Kasich declined the flower, but lingered momentarily to talk tunes:

Kasich Press Q&A: The Franklin Edition

Kasich - Franklin NH 1-22-16Republican presidential candidate John Kasich spoke briefly with the press following a town hall in Franklin, New Hampshire this afternoon.

Asked who he views as his main competition in the New Hampshire primary, Kasich declined to answer directly and instead describing his “biggest challenge” as getting in front of enough voters.  He recounted advice he said he gives to his daughters; “in a race … if you look around you lose time.”  Kasich sidestepped a question on an attack ad targeting Jeb Bush that Kasich’s campaign just released.  Saying that “the campaign is gonna do what it has to do” Kasich added that “I let my campaign do what they want as long as it’s not personal.”

Kasich soundly rejected any engagement with a Republican group focused on “anybody but Trump or Cruz.”  When asked if he plans to visit Israel he said yes.  The timing of such a trip was unclear, with his only specificity being that it would not be before the February 9th New Hampshire primary.

36 Hours In Campaign Country

This small rugged state teeming with presidential aspirants offers visitors unique proximity to question, praise, berate or hug the next American president.


The presidential campaign has been running in high gear for months, but New Yorkers see it only from afar.  Candidate visits to New York are almost entirely out of public view, primarily for fundraising and TV appearances.  New Yorkers hoping to see candidates in person can visit campaign country, however, with New Hampshire the closest corner of campaign country and just a short drive away.

Sunday 8:15 a.m. – On The Road

Meet a fellow reporter just north of New York City and drive through western Connecticut north into Massachusetts.  Watch for the plentiful state troopers on I-91.  Don’t let the genius political arguments bandied about distract you from the speedometer.

Sunday 11:00 a.m. – Your New Friend Irving

A stop awaits before the first campaign event – a visit to an Irving, the ubiquitous gas station/convenience store.  Gourmet it’s not, but Irving offers a quick, clean stop for hot coffee, cold seltzer and a cellophane wrapped sandwich.  With lots of driving between five events efficiency is a key to success.  Pro-tip: Always get two sandwiches, one for now, one to tuck in your bag for a pre-candidate town hall boost.

Sunday 1:00 p.m. – Dr. Ben Carson

Keene State College is dead quiet on a Sunday morning, notwithstanding an imminent presidential candidate appearance.  With Secret Service protection and security screenings for Carson, entering his town hall is a lengthier process.  About 30 minutes ahead of his town hall, only 30 or so people are in the auditorium.  “Don’t worry, they’ll be here after church” says an early arrival and indeed a crowd of 200+ materialized by 1:00.  Chatting with attendees it appears that his audience is significantly centered around faith, both their own and Carson’s.

Carson - Keene, NH 12-20-15

Continue reading 36 Hours In Campaign Country

Kasich Continues

Kasich - Keene, NH 12-29-15Ohio governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich continues campaigning vigorously in New Hampshire, holding on to possibility but not yet moving into the top group of Trump alternatives.  Kasich, heavily focused on New Hampshire, closed out 2015 with two New Hampshire town halls Tuesday, in Nashua and Keene.

Drawing respectable audiences of 50-60 people on a slick snowy day Kasich worked his basic message on both groups.  (Jeb Bush cited weather in canceling a town hall midway between Kasich’s two appearances.)  He touts his substantial experience in both federal and state office (as a member of the House and as Ohio governor), with a focus on fiscal accomplishments in both.  He also preaches a more moderate tone than many of his rivals, emphatically saying that legislative successes depend on working cooperatively with Democrats.


He often connects well with his audiences, listening to their questions and engaging in conversation.  He veers off into some disconnected, even awkward, moments though.  In Nashua he let loose with a seeming genuine rant about the dangers of drugs.  All true and all good advice but his audience, including the college-age questioner who prompted it, is well-aware of that truth and his rumbling ruminations added little to their views.  In Keene Kasich gleefully noted that he was headed to directly to Florida for a family vacation, with warm-weather golfing scheduled for the next day.  It seemed a bit odd as a selling point to New Hampshirites settling in to the beginnings of winter.

Town Hall Video:

Nashua (full):

Keene (Q&A only):

Photo Gallery:  Our photo gallery of both town halls is here.

Kasich On Puerto Rico Fiscal Crisis

Kasich - Keene, NH 12-29-15Ohio Governor John Kasich punted on the topic of whether Puerto Rico should be given the legal authority to file for bankruptcy protection.  Puerto Rico, overwhelmed by more than $70 billion of debt owed by the Commonwealth and some of its agencies and municipalities, is seeking the ability to file a bankruptcy petition.  Current law precludes Puerto Rico, as well all of the states, from filing a bankruptcy petition.  Unlike states however, which may authorize their municipalities and agencies to file petitions under Chapter 9 of the federal bankruptcy code, Puerto Rico is also precluded from allowing its municipalities and agencies from filing bankruptcy petitions.  With the first significant default on Puerto Rico’s debt having just occurred, the situation is likely to rapidly deteriorate.

Kasich initially referenced Puerto Rico’s status by saying that bankruptcy would require statehood.  That’s not quite right, however, and allowing Puerto Rico to be treated like a state (i.e. permitted to authorize its municipalities and agencies to file, but not itself authorized to file) would only require a very simple (albeit consequential) change in the federal bankruptcy code.  Kasich’s brief response then moved to a quick statement that he would put “people in a room” to discuss solutions and concluding that he’s “not prepared to say… yet” that bankruptcy is an appropriate solution.

The day after our conversation Kasich’s campaign announced the selection of a “chair for Governor Kasich’s newly created Puerto Rico team.”*  The announcement references “the importance of permanently resolving Puerto Rico’s status issue” (whether continuing as a commonwealth, becoming a state or an independent nation), but makes no mention of Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis.  While status seems likely to be discusses as part of any federal action on bankruptcy or otherwise dealing with Puerto Rico’s debt, it’s a distinct topic without direct bearing on the fiscal crisis.

I spoke with Kasich following a presidential campaign town hall in Keene, New Hampshire.


Note:  Puerto Rico does not participate in the presidential general election, but presidential primaries are held in Puerto Rico.

Kasich Of The North

Ohio Governor John Kasich ribbed an absent Jeb Bush this evening, noting Bush’s cancellation of a town hall in Peterborough, New Hampshire due to snow.  Kasich held a town hall this afternoon in Nashua, New Hampshire, driving through Peterborough on his way to an evening town hall in Keene.  (I drove the same route, encountering a few inches of snow and some slick surfaces but finding it completely passable.)

Here’s what Kasich had to say, both as he concluded his town hall and when I spoke with him afterwards.

Kasich Q&A

Tamir Rice dominated Ohio Governor John Kasich’s post-town hall press Q&A this afternoon in Nashua, New Hampshire.  The 12 year old boy was killed last year by a Cleveland police officer and the announcement that the officer will not be criminally charged has sparked protests and outrage from many people.  As Ohio governor Kasich is not directly involved in the case, but it’s a major issue in his state.

Kasich urged calm, voiced respect for the right to protest and described steps he’s taken in the aftermath of the November 2014 shooting.  Kasich said that he intends to review standards and training for police dispatchers.  When asked, Kasich stated that he has no immediate plans to return to Ohio.  He’s been campaigning in New Hampshire for the past couple of days and heads to Florida this evening for a family vacation.

Kasich Q&A

Ohio Governor John Kasich briefly spoke with the press Monday following a campaign stop in Rochester, New Hampshire.  He offered praise for Lindsey Graham, saying that he would welcome Graham’s endorsement but has not yet asked for it, dismissed a characterization of his campaign as facing a “tough road” in the race saying that “I don’t kinda feel that way” and characterizing Marco Rubio’s call for candidates to pledge to “cancel” the Iran nuclear deal as “premature.”

Here’s his full Q&A:

Kasich Continues

Kasich - Manchester NH 12/4/15Ohio Governor John Kasich continued his New Hampshire focus with a recent three day visit, trying to push his way into the top tier of candidates.  His visit featured four town halls, including a Manchester town hall Friday which I attended.

New Hampshire polls continue to have Kasich mid-pack with Trump, Carson, Cruz and Rubio ahead of him, although Carson appears to be fading.  Kasich has, like all of the non-Trump candidates, struggled for attention.  He has far more electoral office experience than any of the other “major” Republican candidates, with substantial state and federal experience, but that has not resonated with voters yet in this season of anti-government fervor.  (He has more time in elective office than Trump, Carson, Cruz and Rubio combined.)

Kasich - Manchester NH 12/4/15 Continue reading Kasich Continues

Kasich Press Q&A: The American Legion Edition

Ohio Governor John Kasich held a town hall this afternoon in Manchester, New Hampshire.  An audience of about 60 people came to Manchester’s  American Legion Sweeney Post 2 for an hour of Kasich conversation.

Kasich spoke with the press afterwards, fielding questions focused on the San Bernadino killings, including whether gun control is part of a solution, whether the attacks are “being politicized” and whether increased intelligence efforts should be directed at domestic plots and actions.  He rejected the notion of gun control, instead urging addressing intelligence-gathering challenges posed by encryption and returned to his oft-stated goal of increased mental health services.

I asked Kasich, who spoke powerfully about combating radical islamic terrorism,  how he can separate himself on this issue from the other Republican candidates.  “Imitation is the highest form of flattery” responded Kasich, saying that he was the first candidate to address ISIS.  “I don’t worry about that, I just do my job” he added.