Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Gov. John Kasich and Sheldon Adelson: A duet

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- It's a tried and true trick of public speaking: Find a few friendly faces in the crowd, make good eye contact -- maybe even recognize them by name.

Though the lunchtime audience Saturday at the Republican Jewish Coalition's spring conference totals roughly 300, Ohio Gov. John Kasich treats it as a constituency of one.

And why not? This, the Venetian and Palazzo Hotel, Resort and Casinos, is Sheldon Adelson's house. The organization is closely associated with the Las Vegas mogul. The objective? To find a presidential prospect worthy of the billionaire's backing in 2016.

So Kasich, more so than any of his peers, drops all pretense. He laces his 30-minute speech with direct appeals and shout-outs to the host with the most. Starting with the fifth or sixth, one national reporter loudly guffaws with each utterance of "Sheldon."

On Twitter, Ed FitzGerald's campaign manager will cheekily drop a YouTube link to Will Smith's video for "Just the Two of Us." Later, The Washington Post will describe the speech as if it were a "one-on-one chat" between Kasich and Adelson. And a Las Vegas writer will opine that Kasich "sucked up most directly and obviously to Adelson."

Of the half-dozen or so references Kasich made to Adelson, here were the highlights:

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