• WisPolitics


Monday, March 28, 2016

 8:10 PM 

Kasich jabs GOP opponents, emphasizes his experience

Ohio Gov. John Kasich tonight insisted his experience with both domestic and foreign policy separates him from the other GOP contenders for the White House.

Kasich made that point several times to an audience of about 500 people at the Madison Sheraton Hotel. And he pounded it home when discussing the reactions of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump to the recent bombings in Brussels.

Without naming names, Kasich said one opponent wants to increase police patrols in Muslim neighborhoods, while another wants to ban Muslims from entering the country.

"This is just the voice of inexperience," Kasich said. "Amateur hour is what it is."

The experienced response, he said, is to talk to the people in those communities and learn from them.

Still, Kasich never said he expects to win enough delegates to take the GOP nomination outright. But he made it clear he likes his chances at a contested convention in Cleveland. The delegates who would be casting votes, he said, will ask two questions: Who can win in fall? And who can run the country?

Kasich said he can do both.

"As they measure favorability," he said, "I'm the only one who's above water here."

And at that point, someone in the crowd interrupted him, prompting Kasich to respond, "What are you yelling back there? This is not a Trump rally."

The town hall started with former Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Klug and former Gov. Tommy Thompson. Both emphasized Kasich's experience, underscoring his work balancing the budget in 1996 while in Congress.

And Thompson ripped into Kasich's potential Dem candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, calling the former a "74-year-old socialist" and the latter a candidate lacking the trust of "65 percent of people."

And when Kasich took the floor, he pointed to a ticker at the side of the room showing the ever-increasing national debt. He said he fixed it once and will do so again.

"As those numbers go up," he said, "your chances of getting a job go down."

The solution, he said, doesn't stem from name-calling -- which drew a loud "Amen" from someone in the crowd. The answer is drawing the party together and not letting politics stand in the way of working across the aisle.

"It's time," Kasich said, "for grown-up leadership."

-- By Chris Thompson




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