Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Kasich's State of the State: Has fiscal conservatism replaced compassionate conservatism as his 2016 calling card?

WILMINGTON, Ohio -- Gov. John Kasich's two previous State of the State speeches were built around his push to expand Medicaid coverage and to rebrand himself as a compassionate conservative. He is confident that he won that first battle and won't have to fight it again. Absent from this year's remarks was the emphasis on "people in the shadows."

Yes, Kasich talked of helping the mentally ill, the drug-addicted and the poor, but this came toward the end of a nearly 80-minute address. It's not that Kasich believes in these values any less, but with 2016 on his mind, perhaps he's looking for a different beat.

Remember: Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and Republican establishment frontrunner of the moment, is hogging the compassionate conservative lane right now. He's talking a lot about the middle-class and poverty and helping urban centers.

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