WAUKESHA -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich said today he’s “not losing any sleep” over Gov. Scott Walker backing Ted Cruz for president and questioned the importance of endorsements in general.
“It’s no surprise here,” Kasich told reporters following a town hall meeting in Waukesha. “I wish he’d have been for me, but I’m not losing any sleep over it.”
Kasich said endorsements only matter if the one making the endorsement works hard for a candidate.
“Endorsements, you like to have them, but do they really determine anything?” Kasich said. “Only if someone really puts their shoulder to the wheel and pushes like crazy to make a difference.”
Kasich declined to criticize Donald Trump over his response to Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, being charged with battery for allegedly grabbing a female reporter at a campaign event.
But Kasich said that when it comes to his employees, “when we see things that are improprieties, we either suspend or let people go.”
“It’s up to him.” Kasich said. “Everybody is innocent until proven guilty, however, when we see things that are very disturbing we then take action. And that’s what I think needs to be done. But it’s Trump’s call.”
Later, Kasich said based on the reports, Lewandowski’s alleged actions were “totally and completely inappropriate.”
“That could have been one of my daughters, for that matter,” Kasich said.
Kasich repeated his prediction that the nomination would be contested at convention, which he described as an “extension of the campaign.”
He noted that out of 10 contested GOP convention, only three went for the frontrunner. He stressed polls showing him being the only GOP candidate beating Hillary Clinton in general-election match up.
He said if there is not a nominee that can unite the country, GOP seats in the Senate and House could be in play. He said he is now in a “strange position” in which he is in some ways the “stalwart of the Republican Party to make sure we don’t lose the Senate and major losses in the House.”
Kasich’s delivered a brief pitch and took questions for about an hour from a crowd of about 200 gathered at Weldall Manufacturing Inc., which specializes in large-scale welding and fabrication.
Kasich criticized the approach of both Trump and Cruz on dealing with ISIS, saying that the world needs to come together, share intelligence information, and fight ISIS “in the air and on the ground.”
Kasich also told the crowd he would take a “common-sense” approach to regulation, reduce taxes and support job training to help companies like Weldall succeed.
Audience questions focused on jobs, the federal budget, illegal immigration and other topics.
Kasich stressed the importance matching the skills people learn to the jobs that are available, and detailed programs in Ohio designed to do so.
To balance the budget, Kasich said his approach would not just be to make cuts.
“I don’t live in the world of cutting, I live in the world of reform,” he said.
For example, he said he would increase spending for defense and for medical research. At the same time he said he would eliminate the Department of Commerce and transfer useful programs within it elsewhere. He said he would shift to the states responsibility for welfare, job training, infrastructure, Medicaid and education.
On immigration, Kasich said he would seek a way to give legal status, but not citizenship, to those in the country illegally who have not committed crimes or are not otherwise facing deportation. He also said he would boost border security and build a wall to keep more from entering the country illegally.
The program began about 45 minutes late, and Kasich apologized to the crowd, telling them media interviews ran over time.
Kasich was introduced by former Gov. Tommy Thompson, who credited Kasich with balancing the budget in 1996 while he was in Congress and stressed Kasich’s electability in the general election.
“I think if you vote for Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, you’re voting for individuals who are going to lose to Hillary Clinton,” Thompson said.
After asking several time if Kasich had arrived, Thompson joked he was announcing his own run for president.
“Well, I want to announce for president,” Thompson quipped. “Everything I said double it, because I can do the same thing.”
While waiting for Kasich, Thompson held an impromptu Q&A, where he was asked if he’d accept a post again as head of Health and Human Services.
“I’ve done that once before,” Thompson said. “Right now I’m going to do everything I can to elect John Kasich.”
-- By David Wise