Wednesday, October 28, 2015

John Kasich at the Boulder debate: Mission accomplished

Written with Stephen Koff

John Kasich came out swinging.

It appeared to work.

Going into Wednesday night's debate in Boulder, Colorado, Kasich needed to boost his standing as Republican primary voters continue to size up their presidential aspirants and decide whether a man who made his mark in Congress and later played a role in Ohio's economic recovery now deserves a shot at becoming United States president.

Kasich's physical position -- on the far left of the stage -- had the potential to mark the Ohio governor as a minor character in a crowd of men (and one woman) with big, if conflicting, ideas and ambitions.
Kasich earned that poor spot because of his relatively low poll numbers nationally.
But the first question in the CNBC debate was for every candidate, and luckily for Kasich, the order went left-to-right, giving Kasich the very first shot.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

John Kasich takes off the gloves, but can he survive a bare-knuckled brawl with Donald Trump?

WESTERVILLE, Ohio – Donald Trump finally got to John Kasich. Now the Ohio governor is down a path that has tripped up other Republican presidential hopefuls.

Kasich abruptly shifted his tone Tuesday by sharply rebuking three of his higher polling rivals for the nomination: Trump, Ben Carson and Jeb Bush.

This is a risky escalation of Kasich's adult-in-the-room strategy. Where before acting like the grownup meant staying out of Trump's muddy mosh pit, Kasich now is the angry father telling his children all the many ways they have disappointed him.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Donald Trump erroneously takes credit for Ford shifting truck production from Mexico to Ohio

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump enthusiastically patted himself on the back Sunday, asserting on Twitter that, because of political pressure he applied, Ford Motor Co. has nixed expansion plans in Mexico.

But Trump appeared to be confusing two separate projects – one that Ford is moving ahead with in Mexico, despite his protests, and another here in Northeast Ohio.

The self-congratulatory tweets drew the ire of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, one of Trump's rivals for the GOP nomination. Ford's plant in Avon Lake recently began production on two lines of medium-duty trucks that had been made in Mexico.

In 2011, his first year as governor, Kasich championed tax incentives that assisted the move, which is expected to preserve more than 1,000 jobs.
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Friday, October 16, 2015

John Kasich back on the bus, but unsure which way to go -- or whether to run over Donald Trump


TUFTONBORO, N.H. – John Kasich took the first unofficial steps of his White House journey last fall. Fresh off a landslide re-election victory, he traveled to Boca Raton, Fla., for a Republican governors summit seen as an audition for the 2016 presidential race.

At the time, Kasich was least likely to succeed.

Ahead of him on the depth chart were, in roughly descending order, Chris Christie of New Jersey, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Rick Snyder of Michigan and even Mike Pence of Indiana.

What would you have said then if I had told you that, nearly 11 months later, Ohio's Kasich would have outlasted or leapfrogged every last one of them?

I'd have hummed "Hail to the Chief." I bet you would have, too.

These thoughts run through my head as I watch Kasich do his thing here Wednesday. It's a beautiful autumn evening in New Hampshire. We're in the middle of a massive barn. There are pumpkins and mums and bales of hay. And flags. Lots of American flags. I've been warmed by hot apple cider and the hospitality of total strangers.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

John Kasich launches new phase of presidential campaign with focus on tax cuts and balanced budgets

NASHUA, N.H. – Ohio Gov. John Kasich, angling for a breakthrough in a Republican presidential race that has favored flashy personalities and Washington outsiders, proposed a conservative package of government and economic reforms here Thursday.

The centerpiece: A balanced federal budget, something that hasn't been accomplished since Kasich was chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee in the 1990s.

"As president," Kasich vowed in a speech at Nashua Community College, "I will immediately put us on a path to a balanced budget, and I will get it done in eight years."

The speech launched a new phase of Kasich's White House bid. With the next GOP debate less than two weeks away, he wants to make his years of experience in Congress – a potential liability as voters flirt with the likes of Donald Trump – more attractive. He hopes to move the conversation in a way that elevates his relatively low profile.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

In search of Jon Huntsman and his pearls of New Hampshire wisdom for John Kasich

MANCHESTER, N.H. – On one hand, Monday must have been awesome for Jon Huntsman. On the other, Monday must have been kind of lousy for Jon Huntsman.

The former Utah governor, whose 2012 presidential campaign is memorable for all the wrong reasons, was the belle of the ball here at a No Labels convention that drew five live and in-person White House hopefuls and three more via video.

Huntsman, a Republican, co-chairs the bipartisan group with Joe Lieberman, the former Democratic senator from Connecticut who became an independent later in his career. Lieberman has his own experiences in electoral futility. He was the losing vice-presidential candidate in 2000 and got nowhere in his own presidential bid in 2004.

I arrived Monday interested in Huntsman's thoughts on Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Many political observers – some thoughtfully, others superficially – have compared Kasich's current play for the GOP nomination to Huntsman's effort the last time.

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Monday, October 12, 2015

For John Kasich and Donald Trump, a tale of two crowds at No Labels convention for compromise

MANCHESTER, N.H. – If ever there was a crowd for Ohio Gov. John Kasich but not Donald Trump, it was here at a bipartisan conference of open-minded voters.

Kasich has staked out turf in the wild and unpredictable Republican race for president by promoting middle-ground governance at a time of deep polarization.

But he has found himself drowned out nationally by a pack of give-no-quarter candidates – Trump being the loudest – stoking anger and playing to the extremes.

The first-of-its-kind No Labels Problem Solver Convention welcomed both Monday to a massive hotel exhibition center in this state that holds the first primary. Things went about how you would expect for Trump. It was more of a mixed bag for Kasich.

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Who will be next to drop out of the GOP race? Republican presidential power rankings

So long, Scott Walker.

Your decision to end your presidential bid, following money woes and weak debate performances, created some wiggle room in the Republican presidential race.

But none of your former rivals has followed your call to thin the field even more.

At least not yet. There's a good chance another candidate or two could drop out of the race before or soon after the next debate, set for Oct. 28 in Colorado.

Read this month's analysis

View the slideshow

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Despite polling dip, John Kasich stays the course

Two states carry more importance than any others on Gov. John Kasich's road map to the White House: Ohio and New Hampshire.

Now, within four days, he has hit a polling slump in both.

The numbers aren't the best read on Kasich's chances at this early stage, four months before Republican caucus and primary season begins. But they come at a tough time for his campaign, which after a strong start is struggling to maintain momentum.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Here's the first sign that Mary Taylor will run for governor in 2018

It's a minor change. But it could be the first tangible move in what could be a crowded Republican race for governor in 2018.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich's gubernatorial campaign, which essentially is closed for business now that Kasich can't seek a third consecutive term and is running for president, has quietly dropped Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor from its name.

What had been Kasich-Taylor for Ohio is now Kasich for Ohio, according to paperwork filed last week with Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted's office.

A source close to Kasich's political operation told the Northeast Ohio Media Group on Monday that the change reflects Taylor's interest in running for governor. Removing Taylor's name from Kasich's gubernatorial committee would clear the way for her to raise money through her own campaign organization.

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