April 26th, 2015
01:18 PM ET

Is Gov. John Kasich running for president?


CNN’s State of the Union features Gloria Borger’s exclusive interview with governor John Kasich (R-OH) about the upcoming 2016 election and U.S. policy issues.

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

On running for president: “I don't know yet.  I mean I've taken another big step, for me, which is to create a political organization to begin to accumulate more resources so I can travel more robustly and - and begin to think about infrastructure. And then once that's done, if I should be successful in raising sort of that seed money then I think the next step is to see if people like what I have to say.  And then I think it's going to be to, you know, find out, around the country, whether I can raise enough money to compete, at least in the early states.”

On whether Hillary Clinton can win Ohio in 2016:  “I mean of course she could win.  I think anybody there on - on those lists are capable.  It's just a matter of how they project themselves. But she'll be a very formidable candidate.  I mean she's having a lot of problems now, going to have to answer a lot of questions. But anybody that underestimates Hillary Clinton, I think, makes a mistake.  You know, they underestimated her husband.”

On the U.S. drone program: “ I don't believe the drone program ought to be run out of the CIA.  The CIA is an intelligence gathering operation.  The operation, the drone program, should be operated exclusively out of the Pentagon. You know, the air force has the capability of doing extensive targeting.  You don't have those capabilities in the CIA.”

TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

I'm going to start with the question everybody wants answered, which is, are you running for president?

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: I don't know yet. I mean I've taken another big step, for me, which is to create a political organization to begin to accumulate more resources so I can travel more robustly and - and begin to think about infrastructure.

And then once that's done, if I should be successful in raising sort of that seed money then I think the next step is to see if people like what I have to say. And then I think it's going to be to, you know, find out, around the country, whether I can raise enough money to compete, at least in the early states.

And if that - if that works, I'm likely to go forward.

BORGER: So at this point, what would stop you from running?

KASICH: Lack of resources or a consideration that I wouldn't win, because I don't - I don't want to do this just for - just to go and do it. I've got a big job in Ohio, I mean being governor, I've got 11 and a half million people and a lot of responsibility.

So this is not like, well, let me try and if it doesn't work, I'll try again or, you know, I - you know, if it doesn't work, I'll be vice president or something. I'm not interested in any of that.

So either I feel like I could win or there's no reason to do it. //

BORGER: the last time we spoke, you said that somebody who is extreme in their politics would not be able to win in the state of Ohio.

What did you mean by that?

KASICH: Dividers. People that come in and want to divide are not going to do very well. And that's because Americans are tired of all the division. They want to see solutions. //

BORGER: Do you think Hillary Clinton can win in Ohio?

KASICH: Sure. Sure she could. I mean of course she could win. I think anybody there on - on those lists are capable. It's just a matter of how they project themselves.

But she'll be a very formidable candidate. I mean she's having a lot of problems now, going to have to answer a lot of questions.

But anybody that underestimates Hillary Clinton, I think, makes a mistake. You know, they underestimated her husband. //

BORGER: how do you respond to that, that - that Americans believe that - that Republicans are too close to Wall Street, that Wall Street is too greedy?

KASICH: Well, I've said all along that I think there's too much greed on Wall Street. And it's - you know, and the reason I say it is because I saw it. And - and the fact is, there's nothing wrong with making money. There's a lot of good.

But you can't just be totally dedicated to making money without, you know, sort of doing some good in the process. //

BORGER: There's a little Elizabeth Warren in you...

KASICH: No, I'm - look, John Kasich is all - maybe there's a little bit of me in her. //

BORGER: let me ask you about that, the Iran sanctions deal.

KASICH: Yes.

BORGER: Would - if you were in Congress, would you vote to allow that to occur?

KASICH: Well, knowing what I know now, no, // You know, Reagan used to say trust and verify. In regard to Iran, it should be verify, verify, verify, without the trust, because I don't trust them.

BORGER: And you don't think the administration has done that or tried to do that?

KASICH: I think they're falling in love with this deal. I think it's, you know, a lot of it is about a legacy.

Look, I'm not here to condemn and demonize the president. But I'm telling you that I - I do not like this agreement. //

BORGER: - and - and let me just ask you about the president. This week, you saw that drones apparently killed two Westerners by mistake.

He came out and admitted this was an error.

Should we expect deadly mistakes like this as part of our - our drone program?

KASICH: Well, I - I don't believe the drone program ought to be run out of the CIA. The CIA is an intelligence gathering operation. The operation, the drone program, should be operated exclusively out of the Pentagon.

You know, the air force has the capability of doing extensive targeting. You don't have those capabilities in the CIA. //

BORGER: And let me just ask you this final question.

What do you say to Republicans who look at this field and they say the Republican Party has grown a lot more conservative than John Kasich, who is - supports common core, doesn't take a pathway to citizenship of the table on immigration reform? //

KASICH: I think it's a misread of the party. I - I think the party, the members of the Republican Party, and the members of the Democrat Party, share a lot of the same concerns and same anxiety and want to see solutions. // But at the end of the day, what I have found, where I travel, I don't change my message. If I'm at the Detroit Economic Club or down in South Carolina or in New Hampshire, I'm told by people that my message is resonating.

In the great state of Ohio, 64 percent of the vote, 86 out of 88 counties, won a county that Barack Obama won by 40 points, I must be doing something right.

But we'll see if they - if they don't like me or if they think I'm not this or that, my conscience will be clear. I'm going to do the best I can.

And by the way, I'm not changing my positions. I'm not changing my talk. I'm going to be who I am.

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