Gov. John Kasich on attack he is facing from the right: “It’s so silly…I have been a conservative all of my lifetime”
Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich (R-OH), joined chief political correspondent, Dana Bash
For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.
MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”
Kasich on attack he is facing from the Right: “It’s so silly. Dana, look, I have been a conservative all of my lifetime –This Republican Party has to make sure that people know that we care about them. I care about poor people, about people who live in the shadows, about those who are mentally ill or drug-addicted. We have been on this — these things for five years. And now states are beginning to say, my God, we have got a drug problem in our country. What do we do?… Listen, I have a plan to improve Medicare and Medicaid. I have done it in Ohio. To say that we’re going to deport 10 or 11 million people and divide families, that’s just nutty.
Kasich’s reaction to Sen. Marco Rubio missing senate votes: “Oh, I don’t know. I mean, there are too many big issues to talk about, about whether you miss a few votes in the Senate. What I’m more concerned about is, what is — what are we going to do to get the economy moving and get power out of Washington? I’m — I don’t consider that to be, you know, something I’m going to focus on at this point, for the simple reason that there’s too many other things that are out there that have the potential to turn voters off who don’t understand what conservatism and the Republican Party is all about.”
Kasich’s remarks on being criticized by Red State for defending the CNBC moderators: “but, you know, look, it’s too short.
But it’s what you deal with. I mean, I’m not going to sit around and criticize everybody. It’s just not my style on this thing.”
Kasich’s reaction to Arnold Schwarzenegger replacing Trump on The Apprentice and fundraising for Kasich: “Well, here — yes, he’s great. Look, here is the thing. I try not to speak for Arnold, because, if I do, I may be terminated….You will have to get it from him….I love him. He’s a buddy of mine.”
THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DANA BASH, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wednesday’s Republican debate on CNBC is like a political bomb that keeps exploding.
Loud complaints by several candidates led the Republican National Committee to suspend the upcoming GOP presidential debate with NBC, the parent company of CNBC. The campaigns are going to get together tonight to try to figure out their differences and see if they can come up with a plan among themselves of what to do for the next debates.
One Republican, at least, has his own ideas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me lay out a radical proposition. How about if we say, from now on, if you have never voted in a Republican primary in your life, you don’t get to moderate a Republican primary debate?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: And joining me now is one of the Republican candidates on the stage last week and will continue to be on the stage, John Kasich, the governor of Ohio.
Governor, thank you so much for joining me.
BASH: And let’s just start with what you heard from Ted Cruz there, the whole idea that, in the future, only Republicans should moderate Republican debates.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, Dana, I’m the governor of the seventh largest state in America, and I have had so many questions thrown at me over the course of my time.
Of course, I was also in Washington for a number of years, where, you know, there’s been — there was a lot of chaos. You know, I’m not really focused on all this stuff, I mean, who should be — you know, look, here is what I do know.
I know that Harry Truman couldn’t get elected president with explaining United States of America’s health care plan in 30 seconds. I would prefer to do what you and I did when we were in New Hampshire together, and that’s — that’s for you to ask me a lot of questions over a period of time where I could actually explain myself, instead of having to go so quickly to take on complex issues in short periods of time.
BASH: I hear you.
KASICH: But, you know, look, it’s too short.
But it’s what you deal with. I mean, I’m not going to sit around and criticize everybody. It’s just not my style on this thing. I will — I will criticize programs and plans that I think are goofy, which I did in the last debate, things like shipping 10 or 11 million people out of this country…
KASICH: … and some fantasy that we’re going to get the Mexican government to pay for the wall, or abolishing Medicare or Medicaid or making it a voluntary program.
I mean, I don’t want to attack people.
KASICH: But I am going to attack programs that I think hurt the Republican Party, hurt the conservative movement, and don’t put us in a position of where we could actually win an election and turn America around.
BASH: I get all of that. And I appreciate the fact that you want to have substantive discussions. And I enjoyed your — our time together when we were in Ohio — I mean, in New Hampshire.
BASH: But I want to talk specifically about the fact that the Republican electorate is different from the way it had been in the past.
And The Red State, which is a very conservative blog, came after you and said, “For all that people criticize Jeb Bush, Kasich is far and away the candidate in this field who is just utterly clueless about the Republican electorate as a whole. Worse, to the extent that Kasich does understand Republicans, he dislikes them.”
What’s your response to that, Governor?
KASICH: Well, first of all, nobody has ever been elected from the Republican Party that can’t win Ohio. And I don’t really care about blogs.
Here’s what I want to do. Dana, look…
BASH: You don’t care about blogs. Let me just — let me just — let me just interrupt for one second.
BASH: I get that you don’t care about blogs, but I think that the reason why I brought that up is because the conservative electorate is — is, for the most part, in charge of picking the Republican presidential nominee.
BASH: And there are some who look at you and say, you know, he sounds sometimes more like a Democrat than a Republican, and they don’t think that you’re conservative enough.
KASICH: Well, but, Dana, I balanced budgets. I was the chief architect in Washington. We created jobs. Families were better.
I came to Ohio. We were $8 billion in the hole. Now we’re $2 billion in the black. We have lots of school choice. I have cut taxes by more than any sitting governor in America, Republican governor. You know, families are better. Wages are growing faster than the national average. Our credit is strong.
What is there not to like? But, look, here is what my goal is. I not only want to cut taxes and create jobs for families, but ship a lot of programs back home, so that people will be empowered to begin to build our families and our communities, which is about the spirit of our country.
Now, if that’s not conservative, you tell me what is.
BASH: This week, the Bush campaign…
KASICH: It’s so silly. Dana, look, I have been a conservative all of my lifetime.
BASH: I’m not — I’m not the one questioning your conservative credentials.
KASICH: I mean, I tell you this. But, Dana, here’s the funny thing.
BASH: … people who have influence in the Republican primary process.
KASICH: Because I care — here’s the thing. Look, yes, but I’m doing — I’m doing fine.
Look at my — look at what I’m doing in New Hampshire. You have been up there with me. I’m doing well in Mississippi. I’m headed there this week, and Alabama. You know, we’re gaining a lot of places.
And you know what, though? This Republican Party has to make sure that people know that we care about them. I care about poor people, about people who live in the shadows, about those who are mentally ill or drug-addicted. We have been on this — these things for five years. And now states are beginning to say, my God, we have got a drug problem in our country. What do we do?
Our people are advising other states about what to do. That is conservatism, to give people a chance to live out their God-given potential. And because some people say they don’t like my tone, or because I question abolishing Medicare or Medicaid, that that’s not conservative?
Listen, I have a plan to improve Medicare and Medicaid. I have done it in Ohio. To say that we’re going to deport 10 or 11 million people and divide families, that’s just nutty.
BASH: Governor, let’s…
KASICH: That’s just not going to happen.
And it will cost us in the fall, because it will not stand.
BASH: Governor, I want to…
KASICH: It will not stand when the light shines.
We have to be reformers. We have to send power back to people. We have to rebuild families and communities and balance our budgets. I can do all of that.
BASH: Governor, to get the nomination, you’re probably going to have to, at least in the short-term, do better than, I mean, obviously, all of the candidates, but in the short-term…
BASH: … do better than Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, who tend to sort of fight in your lane in the Republican primary process.
Marco Rubio has been criticized by Jeb Bush, especially in the last debate, for missing lots of votes in the Senate. Marco Rubio says, you know, it’s OK.
You served in Congress. Who’s right about that?
- We’re having some technical problems. We are going to get the answer from Governor Kasich about that as soon as we can.
But, in the meantime, we’re going to figure out what our gremlins are and — oh, he is back.
Governor, you are back, I hear.
What I was asking you…
KASICH: Yes, I’m back.
BASH: What I was asking you — I’m not sure how much you heard. Live television, it’s fun, right?
BASH: I’m not sure how much you heard of what I was asking you.
But on the whole question of Marco Rubio losing or missing votes, being absent from the Senate, you were in Congress. Do you think that that is a problem?
KASICH: Oh, I don’t know. I mean, there are too many big issues to talk about, about whether you miss a few votes in the Senate.
What I’m more concerned about is, what is — what are we going to do to get the economy moving and get power out of Washington? I’m — I don’t consider that to be, you know, something I’m going to focus on at this point, for the simple reason that there’s too many other things that are out there that have the potential to turn voters off who don’t understand what conservatism and the Republican Party is all about.
KASICH: I will give you an example, Dana. We have a plan from one of the people who is leading the field that would increase the national debt by $10 trillion.
Now, when you present that to people and say, we’re going to put our — our children $10 trillion more in the hole, who is going to vote for that? That’s not conservatism. Conservatism is cutting taxes and cutting government all at the same time to give us a balanced budget.
BASH: Governor, we have got — we have got to go.
BASH: But, before we do, I just want to say that you must feel a little bit like the Cheshire — Cheshire cat, and having that kind of grin, in the fact that the former governor of California took Donald Trump’s job on “The Apprentice,” but he is out there campaigning for you, or at least raising money for you.
KASICH: Well, here — yes, he’s great.
Look, here is the thing. I try not to speak for Arnold, because, if I do, I may be terminated.
KASICH: You will have to get it from him.
I love him. He’s a buddy of mine.
See you, Dana.
KASICH: Sorry for all the trouble. It’s Halloween, right? That’s why this happened.
BASH: I — maybe we do have gremlins. I think that’s actually a very — a very good — a very good point.
Thanks for — thanks for hanging in with us.
KASICH: Listen, I don’t know what the heck happened.
BASH: All right.