'Policy More Important Than Politics, Ideology or Other Nonsense': Kasich Announces 2016 Bid

Surrounded by a crowd at his alma mater Ohio State, Gov. John Kasich jumped into the presidential race today in an unscripted address that touched heavily on themes of personal responsibility, empathy and man's duty to serve others.

"If we're not born to serve others, what were we born to do?" Kasich said.

The former congressman and onetime Fox News host stressed that "policy is far more important than politics, ideology or any of the other nonsense we see" and mused on challenges faced by various communities, including minority communities.

"If you are a member of the minority community, an African-American? You wonder: The system, I think, sometimes doesn't just work for me but sometimes I feel like that system works against me. And you think about the troubles that many of our African-Americans still face today in a world where we have worked to provide equal rights and opportunities," Kasich said. "Sometimes they are not so sure and I don't blame them."

In his 2014 re-election, Kasich won a third of black male voters and 20 percent of black women voters. In 2012, Mitt Romney got just 6 percent of the African-American vote.

"I have to humbly tell you -- and I mean humbly tell you -- that I believe I do have the skills and I have the experience and the testing, the testing which shapes you and prepares you for the most important job in the world. And I believe I know how to work and help restore this great United States. And I have to tell you, it's a daunting challenge," the governor said.

And the former House Budget Committee chairman vowed his "top priority will get this country on a path to fiscal independence, strength, and we will rebuild the economy of this country, because creating jobs is our highest moral purpose, and we will move to get that done."

"...And as I hope you all know, economic growth is not an end unto itself. If you're drug addicted, we're going to try to rehab you and get you on your feet. If you're mentally ill, prison is no place for you. Some treatment and some help is where you need to be. If you're the working poor, we're going to give you an opportunity to take a pay raise and not bang you over the head because you're trying to get ahead. Well, we're changing that system. If you have an autistic son or daughter, for most of them, they can get insurance, and we'll work to make sure all of them have it. For the developmentally disabled, they're made in God's image. They have a right to rise, they have to be successful."

Kasich said he's going "tto take what we've learned here in the heartland, that band of brothers and sisters that I work with every day, and we are going to take the lessons of the heartland and straighten out Washington, D.C., and fix our country."

The governor stressed that "if you save one life, you changed the world. And the Lord will record what you've done for another in the Book of Life."

"I just would ask you to think. Put yourself in the shoes of another person. We're so quick to make judgments today in our country," he said. "...People who have not been dealt -- dealt the best hand in life, yeah, we want to hold them accountable, but the Lord wants our hearts to reach out to those that don't have what we have. I mean, that shouldn't be hard for America. That's who we are."

"When people have studied our country, they have talked about our compassion, and we need to bring it back. Empathy, don't be so quick to judge. Me, too, OK? Me, too."