GOP contender, Ohio Gov. John Kasich campaigns in Sun City [And Hilton Head]

John Kasich 2
Bluffton Today: By SCOTT THOMPSON, July 8, 2015

If he is elected president, Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Monday he will use his Republican principles to guide him, but will govern by seeking bipartisan solutions — a sentiment he added is absent in today’s political climate.

“You ever notice when people run for president, they never keep their promises? That’s because they don’t understand what they’re promising, and they don’t have the experience,” Kasich said to an overflow crowd of roughly 200 people at the Lakehouse Ballroom in Sun City. “You can’t solve major problems just by dictating. That is not the way you run things in America.

“You have to have a consensus of people about solving problems that aren’t so simple.”

Kasich, who also made a stop earlier Monday at Aunt Chilada’s on Hilton Head Island, has not officially announced he is running for the presidency, but is expected to formally launch his campaign July 21 at an event in Cincinnati.

The former 18-year Congressman and Fox News Channel commentator, who is in his second term as governor of the Buckeye State, will likely join a field of major Republican candidates expected to grow to 17 by next month.

During the hour-long Sun City stop, Kasich reflected on a career in politics that has spanned decades and was inspired by a December 1970 meeting in the Oval Office with President Richard Nixon when he was a freshman at Ohio State University.

While early national polling has pegged Kasich as a long shot to win the nomination, he said his record of reaching across the aisle to craft solutions distinguishes him from the rest of the field.

He referenced his role as chief architect of the 1997 balanced federal budget deal and his efforts to overhaul the U.S. welfare system as examples of the approach he would employ in the White House.

“The Republican Party is my vehicle, not my master. That’s not what I’m about,” Kasich said. “…I can give you my general thinking and philosophy, but for me to pound my fist on the table and say it’s going to be this way or the highway, that’s what we’ve had in Washington for the last 15 to 20 years, and where do you think we are?

“We can’t balance a budget; we can’t cut taxes or simplify the tax code; we can’t fix immigration; we can’t build a stronger national defense, and we’re a weaker country because of it. What we’ve done wrong, in my opinion, is demonize people who don’t think the way we think.”

One issue Kasich pledged to work with Democrats on is repairing what he considers a broken immigration system.

“I don’t favor a path to citizenship (for everyone who enters the country illegally), but I’m not taking it off the table for the simple reason I want to get an immigration bill done,” Kasich said. “The more we sit and argue about it, the crazier things get.

“I actually don’t understand the whole hang-up here. Seal the border, have a guest worker program for those who want to come work here, and if any people who come here illegally are criminals, then you deport or imprison them. But if the rest are law-abiding citizens, then we need to take a look. Everybody doesn’t like that answer, but that’s my answer, and that’s the way it goes.”

Kasich, who was active on national defense issues in Congress, leveled more pointed criticism at President Barack Obama on foreign policy matters. He hammered the administration on its approach toward a nuclear weapons deal with Iran and called for lending more support to Ukraine against Russia.

“I’m not saying we need to be the policemen of the world, but we need to mean what we say and say what we mean,” he said. “It’s not for on-the-job training. I think the foreign policy we’ve seen out of this administration has been feckless. There are too many kids making too many important decisions.”

Kasich also said he would work to implement the economic vision he said has turned Ohio around, through cutting taxes and spending, incentivizing businesses, streamlining regulations and creating a more flexible education system.

“If you don’t have economic growth, nothing else works,” he said. “We should be growing much faster than we are, and we have to be more innovative and start moving in that direction.”


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