Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he doesn’t “have any options closed” for a 2016 run at the White House.
“What I’m saying is I’m running the great state, seventh largest in the country. We’re growing. We’re doing fantastic, and I have a lot more thing I want to do. I don’t need to go run for president to feel as though I’m accomplishing things,” Kasich told Fox.
“But, look, if there is something that I think can give me a path to being more effective in a bigger way, I’m not closed to that. I’m open to it. I’m not just interested in doing it to go through motions. A lot of people who are going to run for president do it to sell more books, they can get a television show. That’s not my interest.”
Kasich, recently sworn in to his second term as governor, said the “one thing people in my political party don’t always understand” is that “economic growth is not an end unto itself.”
“Economic growth provides the means whereby we can reach out and help those who live in the shadows,” he said.
“I think the problem in America today is that the folks out there don’t think the politicians understand them. And it is my job as governor to solve problems.”
Kasich won 86 out of 88 counties in Ohio on election night. He called the GOP’s messaging “incomplete.”
“How do you allow people to rise? How do you get everyone, like our minority community, how do we get them to share in the prosperity? We are a divided country, rich, poor, black, white, rural, urban. This is not how we’ll succeed as a country,” he said.
“There are about 20 states in America that don’t have a balanced budget. Not only do we have a balanced budget, structurally balanced, from an $8 billion, but we’re running an over $1.5 billion surplus. And I was one of the key guys to balance the federal budget. So when people start talking about my fiscal stuff they don’t know what they’re talking about,” Kasich replied to conservative criticism of some of his policies. “Secondly, the faith community is a big chunk of the conservative movement of the Republican Party. Just read Matthew 25. Did you feed the hungry? Did you clothe the naked? If we’re doing things like that, to me that is conservatism. And you know what, I have a right to define conservatism as much as somebody sitting in the stands down in Washington trying to tell us what we ought to do. And as a governor it is my job to answer the bell.”
“When I expanded Medicaid people said I brought Ohio’s dollars back to Ohio to deal with mentally ill and drug addicted, so I get criticized by some. I don’t really care about it. Guess what. Do you know how many Republican governors are trying to figure out how to do exactly what did it? Look, this is Reagan. This is what he believed. You don’t — Reagan expanded Medicaid.”