March 20th, 2016
01:01 PM ET

Kasich: “everybody's gotta face the fact that we're going to an open, multi-ballot convention.”

SOTU

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Governor John Kasich (R-OH) , joined CNN’s Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash, to discuss the possibility of a contested convention, his path forward and more.

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”

Contacts: Lauren Pratapas — Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com; 202.465.6666; Brooke Lorenz- Brooke.Lorenz@turner.com


VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS John Kasich: We are going to an open convention

CNN STORY: Kasich responds to anti-Trump 'split the map' strategy

 

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

 

Kasich on the possibility of a contested convention: “Well I don't think anybody's going to have enough delegates, Dana, to tell you the truth, and I think we're going to go to a convention which is really an extension of the political process and when we get there the delegates are going to think about two things: number one, who can win in the fall?  And I was glad to hear Lindsey say "Kasich's the best general election candidate" because I don't think, the other two can win. And secondly, now this is a crazy idea- who actually could be President of the United States and do a good job? When the delegates think about that I think we will do very well and we will go to the convention with momentum. So, you know, maybe what they oughta think about is consolidating behind me because I thought the purpose of this was to win the presidency and to beat Hillary Clinton, maybe I- maybe somehow I didn't get the memo, huh?...I don't see how, look, Dana, here's the thing- everybody is focusing on process, delegates here, delegates there, everybody's gotta face the fact that we're going to an open, multi-ballot convention…… You gotta get the magic number to be the nominee. Okay and if trump goes in there with a big number maybe he'll get it. But you know the republicans have had ten conventions like this and only three times has the person going into the convention with the most delegates won. And you see when you get to a convention the delegates will take this very seriously”

Kasich on a split map strategy: [BASH]: “You focus from now on on the east where you do quite well, Ted Cruz focuses on the West where he does better, to try to keep Donald Trump's delegate count low through the convention. Is that a strategy you or anybody on your team would pursue?”
[KASICH]: “Not at this point. We're not thinking that way. I'm thinking that we're getting momentum and I can go east and I can go west. You know, think about California and me, okay, you know, I've got positions that unify people…Look, we always talk, Dana, you know that, if somebody wants to call and discuss things, but you gotta understand that this is sort of a mission for all of us, and it's not just me it's the team. We had people from 22 states who are working phone banks in the state of Ohio. These are people who believe that America can be better and that America can be really terrific, and that people can have better wages and better jobs. I mean, if somebody wants to talk to me I'll be willing to listen to them, but where am I not gonna go and why would I not go there? I mean explain that to me….. Look, we always talk, Dana, you know that, if somebody wants to call and discuss things, but you gotta understand that this is sort of a mission for all of us, and it's not just me it's the team.”

Kasich on his confetti on Primary night: “Here's what happened my advance guy Tripepi blew it the first time with the weak confetti shot and so it was like porridge. He went from too cold to too hot. And all I can say is I don't want that much confetti again, we should have shot it out in the crowd but I didn't know it went viral that's pretty cool my daughters and my wife will like that.”

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT

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

 

DANA BASH CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Joining me now is Governor John Kasich of Ohio. Governor, as you probably have heard, since Marco Rubio dropped out we've seen people who w ere kind of looking for an establishment figure going to Ted Cruz. In fact, I told Lindsey Graham this week I thought I would see pigs fly before he ever got behind Ted Cruz but take a look at what Senator Graham told me:

 

(SOT: GRAHAM: John Kasich I think is the most viable general election candidate. I just don't see how John gets through the primary. This is an outsider year, he's seen as an insider, so I think the best alternative to Donald Trump to stop him from getting 1237 is Ted Cruz.)

 

BASH: So Governor, what do you make of this notion that it's time to rally behind Ted Cruz because it's mathematically impossible for you right now to win the nomination?

 

GOVERNOR JOHN KASICH: Well I don't think anybody's going to have enough delegates, Dana, to tell you the truth, and I think we're going to go to a convention which is really an extension of the political process and when we get there the delegates are going to think about two things: number one, who can win in the fall?  And I was glad to hear Lindsey say "Kasich's the best general election candidate" because I don't think, the other two can win. And secondly, now this is a crazy idea- who actually could be President of the United States and do a good job? When the delegates think about that I think we will do very well and we will go to the convention with momentum. So, you know, maybe what they oughta think about is consolidating behind me because I thought the purpose of this was to win the presidency and to beat Hillary Clinton, maybe I- maybe somehow I didn't get the memo, huh?

 

BASH: Maybe not, but let's talk about the process right now because at this point it is all about gobbling up as many delegates as you can to have the momentum you just talked about and to keep Donald Trump from getting more. Do you believe there is any way you and Ted Cruz could work in a coordinated fashion from now through June to prevent Trump from getting the nomination?

 

KASICH: I, I don't see how, look, Dana, here's the thing- everybody is focusing on process, delegates here, delegates there, everybody's gotta face the fact that we're going to an open, multi-ballot convention. That's where we're headed, and the convention is an extension of what we're going through right now. And so, I've been at a convention that was contested in 1976, what happens is the delegates will take everything seriously, they will take a look at people's experience and their electability. And that's fine. I don't know why everybody's so panicked about this, everybody needs to take a little chill pill, to tell you the truth.

 

BASH: Okay, but while they're taking that chill pill, they're also trying to figure out the best scenario to get to what you just talked about-

 

KASICH: Who is they? By the way, who is they? Who are these theys?

 

BASH: There are a lot of Republicans who are very worried about this. Let me just put this out there- one scenario- one scenario that I have heard is a "split the map" scenario. You focus from now on on the east where you do quite well, Ted Cruz focuses on the West where he does better, to try to keep Donald Trump's delegate count low through the convention. Is that a strategy you or anybody on your team would pursue?

 

KASICH: Not at this point. We're not thinking that way. I'm thinking that we're getting momentum and I can go east and I can go west. You know, think about California and me, okay, you know, I've got positions that unify people. And the fact is, let's talk about some of the people that have joined me. Charlie Black, he's one of the most skilled political people you can find in America, Vin Weber, another one, Tom Ridge, the former Governor of Pennsylvania, and Mike Levitt out here in Utah. I mean these are people who are very skilled and very experienced and they believe that we just oughta keep going along, as I do, and get to the convention and then, you know, conventions are cool things, we're gonna learn a lot when we get there.

BASH: So just to put a button on this, Governor, there are no conversations, you're not interested in any conversations to coordinate with Ted Cruz since there's only three people in the race, to try to keep the guy who's got by far the most delegates, Donald trump, form getting even more?

 

KASICH: Look, we always talk, Dana, you know that, if somebody wants to call and discuss things, but you gotta understand that this is sort of a mission for all of us, and it's not just me it's the team. We had people from 22 states who are working phone banks in the state of Ohio. These are people who believe that America can be better and that America can be really terrific, and that people can have better wages and better jobs. I mean, if somebody wants to talk to me I'll be willing to listen to them, but where am I not gonna go and why would I not go there? I mean explain that to me. I believe that the message and the experience and the vision that I have matters in this country and you know the message that the people watching today in the living rooms, that they believe that they can change the world and their neighborhoods and their communities and in their families, that's a message I think people oughta hear and I think it's a positive and a message that gives people hope, and I'm gonna keep saying it until I can't say it anymore. How's that?

 

BASH: I know that, I've heard you say it, and you're going to continue to say that, and that is your message, and-

 

KASICH: you know, Dana, there's one other thing. One other thing, you know, people wanted me to drop out. They were all gonna get behind Rubio, right? And he's gone, I'm still here. You know what would've happened had I dropped out? You know who would've won Ohio? I won Ohio. I didn't win Ohio in any calculation. I won Ohio because of my message and my record, and guess what? As a result of that Donald Trump is not going to go to the convention with enough delegates.

 

BASH: Donald Trump warned this week that there would be "riots" in the street if he walks onto the convention and he has the most delegates and is denied the nomination. You called this "unacceptable language" and it "pulls people apart." but why should party leaders – and not the voters – choose the nominee?

 

KASICH: Well Dana they will. You gotta get the magic number to be the nominee. Okay and if trump goes in there with a big number maybe he'll get it. But you know the republicans have had ten conventions like this and only three times has the person going into the convention with the most delegates won. And you see when you get to a convention the delegates will take this very seriously. They will examine electability and they will examine who will be a great president. Who is the best person and frankly who can win in the fall, as I've just mentioned. So you know i don't think that kind of language is appropriate to talk about violence and rioting I know you don't. It's inappropriate. I'll also tell you the threats on Donald Trump's family are outrageous. They have no right to be threatening his family. So why doesn't everyone just realize we're better in America when we're together and were unified. And if you go to a convention and you lose be a big enough person to say i gave it my best and i didn't win that's what I would say if I didn't.

 

BASH: You likened the fight against ISIS to the fight against the Nazis this week. Are you prepared to put U.S. Troops on the ground and got it alone if that's what it takes?

 

KASICH: Well Dana look I've been talking about this for a year or something like that I made many major foreign policy speeches. Look, the bottom line is we can unify the world. Our Arab Muslim friends in the Middle East know they have an existential threat- so do the Europeans. I believe we can assemble a coalition just like –

 

BASH: What if you can't?

 

KASICH: We can. We will. We will go and we will beat in the air and on the ground and it will get done. I promise you it will get done. I have been involved I've seen it I know how to do it and we're not going to go at it alone because it's not what we're gonna have to face.

 

BASH: Okay end on a fun note. This week you had an event that went viral, your confetti from the primary night in Ohio. What was with all the confetti?

 

KASICH: Here's what happened my advance guy Tripepi blew it the first time with the weak confetti shot and so it was like porridge. He went from too cold to too hot. And all I can say is I don't want that much confetti again, we should have shot it out in the crowd but I didn't know it went viral that's pretty cool my daughters and my wife will like that.

 

BASH: Are you still picking off confetti out of your ears and out of your hair?

 

KASICH: Oh yes I had a little bit on my shoulder. But it was a lot of fun I have to tell you Dana in Cleveland the raw emotion of that victory was so overwhelming to me, you know I go to these big rallies or what happened in Cleveland and I just feel so humbled by the support that we see. And I'm going to do my best. My very best not to let people down. Look I'm just a weak flawed man like everybody else but I'm going to do the best I can to have the strength I need to lead this country and give people hope.

 

BASH: Governor thank you so much for joining me this morning I appreciate it.

 

KASICH: Thanks Dana, thank you

 

 

 

###END INTERVIEW###

 

 


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