Kasich contrasts his positions with Trump, Carson
Ohio governor seeks to pull ahead of crowded field of GOP candidates
COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. John Kasich worked this week to increase the visibility of his presidential campaign, while directing criticism at the two frontrunners in the battle for the 2016 Republican nomination.
Kasich ranks in ninth place, with 4 percent, in the latest national poll, by CBS and the New York Times, of the crowded GOP field of 14 candidates.
He spent much of the week focusing his attention on the two leaders in the race, real estate tycoon and reality TV star Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
“I’m done being polite and listening to this nonsense,” Kasich said Tuesday at a debate send-off rally in Westerville, his hometown, according to reports in the Columbus Dispatch and The Hill.
While Kasich did not name Trump and Carson directly, he took aim at their policy positions during the rally, first focusing on Trump’s proposal to deport all illegal immigrants from the country.
“We’re going to pick them up and we’re going to take them to the border and scream them out of the country?” Kasich said. “That’s just crazy. This is not the America I know.”
Kasich then turned his attention to Carson’s proposals.
“We got one candidate that says that we ought to abolish Medicaid and Medicare,” he said. “You ever heard of anything so crazy as that?”
Carson has advocated health savings accounts as a replacement for Medicare.
Kasich also found Carson’s idea of a flat tax system unfeasible.
“Why don’t we have no taxes?” Kasich said, “Just get rid of them all, and then a chicken in every pot, on top of it.”
Trump and Carson are running as outsider candidates and have not held elective office in the past.
Kasich, who is serving his second term as Ohio’s governor, has sought to contrast his record with those of Trump and Carson, stressing a message of competence and accomplishments.
The governor was a hot topic in political media on Wednesday, with his remarks picked up by a number of outlets and video of the rally put into high circulation.
Trump, Carson and Kasich were among the top-polling candidates selected to take part in CNBC’s presidential debate on Wednesday.
Kasich began his debate remarks by repeating his attacks on his two rivals, quickly getting a response from Trump, who was dismissive of Kasich’s role in Ohio’s economic recovery.
“John got lucky with a thing called fracking. He hit oil,” Trump said.
He then blamed Kasich, who worked for a Lehman Brothers’ office, for the financial firm’s 2009 bankruptcy. Trump also said Kasich was only attacking him to boost his low poll numbers.
“He was such a nice guy, and he said, ‘I’m never going to attack.’ But then his poll numbers tanked. That’s why he’s on the end,” Trump said, referring to Kasich’s placement on the stage, which was determined by CNBC from poll standings.
Many political observers have viewed Kasich as a more establishmened alternative to Trump and Carson, especially with the decline of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s poll numbers in recent months.
The Chicago Tribune, in a recent editorial last month, touted Kasich as “the anti-Trump,” citing his ability to work with the opposition.
“There’s something in Kasich’s past for almost every voter to like or loathe,” the editorial stated. “He supports a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution while admitting that he might tolerate deficit spending on tax cuts to spur growth and to build up America’s military, adding briskly, ‘with reform of the Pentagon.’”
Kasich needs to either solidify or increase his poll numbers, in order for his campaign to remain viable.
The next Republican debate is scheduled for Nov. 10 on the FOX Business Channel. Candidates must average at least 2.5 percent in four national polls in order to participate.