Ohio Governor John Kasich joined me Thursday to talk about his closing kick in New Hampshire:
HH: So pleased to welcome back my governor, Ohio Governor John Kasich. Governor, welcome, I bet you’re in New Hampshire.
JK: I am in New Hampshire. I am, Hugh.
HH: And I just had Montel Williams on the show, and he just endorsed you. That’s a big pick up for you.
JK: Well, that’s great. Montel, but he doesn’t live in New Hampshire, so we’ll have to get him later, huh?
JK: He’s a great guy. He’s always been a good guy.
HH: He said very nice things about you as well. Something I want to pick up on, the President went to a mosque yesterday. Earlier today, Donald Trump told me he didn’t think that was a good idea. Marco Rubio criticized it yesterday. I thought it was a good idea. I thought it was a good speech. What did you think?
JK: Wait, who went to a mosque?
HH: President Obama went to a mosque yesterday.
JK: No, yeah, I’m just not aware of it. I’m, I don’t know what happened, but you know, look, to speak, I mean, I don’t know why, why would anybody criticize him if what they’re saying is that we all want to be together, we want to take down radicalism. I mean, I don’t know what he did there.
HH: That’s what he did.
HH: It was a good speech. It was a good speech.
JK: Well, what’s wrong with that?
HH: I don’t know. I just was, if you haven’t seen it, you can’t comment on it. Tell me about the fact that you’re picking up all these newspaper endorsements from New Hampshire newspapers. What’s that tell you about who you appeal to up there?
JK: Well, I mean, they’re like across the board. And you know, they’re, I was just today at the Concord Monitor. I mean, they’re the conservative paper, the Nashua Telegraph. I mean, but look, Hugh, here’s the situation. I got seven out of eight newspapers in New Hampshire, okay? I got the Boston Globe and the New York Times. And the New York Times said you know, he’s not a moderate by any stretch. And you know, and what they said is but here’s a guy that knows how to pull people together and get things done. I got the Quad Cities paper in Iowa, the third largest newspaper in Iowa. And you know, I mean, it’s good. It’s all, it’s good stuff. And when you get people to endorse you, how can it not be good, right? That matters to people.
HH: People accuse me of being a Kasich shill because I like you and you’re my governor. I’m not. I’m Switzerland. I’m neutral in this thing, but I think you’ve run a very different campaign than anybody else in that you’re appealing openly to people to join the party, not leave it, and not just energize the base. Is that going to work beyond New Hampshire, though, Governor?
JK: Oh, yeah, yeah, it’s going to definitely work. People are people. Hey, Hugh, look, and the people, look, we’re in an environment today where you can’t even walk down one side of the street without people attacking you. And those are not the majority of the people. I wish you could come out here for town halls and see what happens. Hugh, I don’t have people yelling or screaming. I’ve got people coming to those town halls, and what they really want is they want problems to be solved. Now they want conservative solutions, so I figured something out. You know, some people say well, are you in the establishment lane, or are you in the anti-establishment lane? And I say well, I’m in the Kasich lane. But here’s what I want you to know. And you’ve known me long enough to figure this out. I’ve never been part of the establishment, never, not growing up in McKees Rocks was I ever thought of as the establishment. But I’m not anti-establishment, either. But I’m a change agent. And what I’ve been able to do is be able to get the establishment to do a lot of the things that I’ve wanted to do, like balance budgets, cut taxes, clean up corporate welfare, reform the Pentagon, fight special interest groups. So I think I make the establishment very, very nervous, because they can’t predict what I’m going to do, and they certainly don’t control me.
JK: And so I think it makes for unique, and that’s what I tell people in these town halls. And the other thing you should understand, Hugh, is we have a very positive message here. I’m not attacking anybody.
HH: I’m going to be there on Saturday in anticipation of Meet The Press on Sunday. You doing a town hall on Saturday anywhere?
JK: We doing town halls on Saturday, Chris? No, not on Saturday, because we’d be doing the debate Saturday night.
HH: That’s what I figured. That’s too bad. Oh, well.
JK: So Sunday, we will be, so if you’re here….
HH: I’m just doing Meet the Press, then I’m running to Boston.
JK: I’d like you go come.
HH: Let me ask you about Obamacare. It was repealed by the House. The President’s going to veto it. If it’s repealed again and you’re president, will you sign that repeal?
JK: Yeah, yeah, oh yeah, I’m for getting rid of Obamacare, and I’m for taking some of the federal resources and combine it with Medicaid, which I would send back to the states to make sure that we can cover the working poor. We don’t want millions of Americans to lose health insurance. But the bigger answer to all of this is to be in a position of where we begin to pay people a financial reform for hospitals and doctors who deliver quality services below the price of the mean, in other words, the midpoint. So if you charge a lot as a doctor, and somebody else charges less, you’ve got a midpoint. And if you’re performing below the midpoint, and you’re delivering great quality, we’re going to give you a financial reward. We’re actually beginning to do that in Ohio. It’s very, very exciting. So what you get is high quality at lower prices.
HH: I’ll be right back with Governor John Kasich. Stay tuned, America.
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HH: Governor, they say that one of the, there are four tickets out of New Hampshire, and one of them is going to go to one of the governors. And so if someone walks into the booth and they’re looking at Christie, Bush and Kasich, why should they pick Kasich over the other two governors who have got similar experience sets?
JK: Well, look, Hugh, I have national security experience. I served 18 years on the Defense Committee. I was a member of Congress. I understand how legislators work and think. I was able to drive a balance budget in Washington, able to improve employment in the country as a result of all of that effort. And you know, that’s just Washington. That’s national security experience. I have more experience than anybody in the field, broader in any way, shape or form. And then after, by the way, after I served 18 years on the Defense Committee, after 9/11, Secretary Rumsfeld invited me into the Pentagon, and I was able to come up with some ideas of bringing people in to solve some of their technical problems. But look, I don’t think it’s like one versus the other. People get a feeling. They get a sense of whether this person is a good leader. And I don’t spend my time thinking about them. I spend my time wanting to present myself to the people and let them decide. I’m just, that’s kind of the way I look at it.
HH: Now let me talk to you about the toughest issue. I talked with Donald Trump about this earlier. Angela Merkel has fallen out of favor in Germany because she allowed so many people in, and the assimilation problem is enormous. What do you think of her policy? What do you think, how do we cope with the assimilation problem?
JK: Well, I think it’s a challenge. I think it’s a real challenge for Europe because of the tremendous numbers that have flown in, or that have moved in. Look, I think she’s back on her heels a little bit, but I don’t think she’s knocked out. And she’s becoming aware of some of the difficulties that are connected to these mass, mass influx of people. And I think she’ll get her bearings as to whether, you know, what ultimately, I mean, it’ll affect her politically. Does that mean it’s going to knock her out? She’s a pretty strong leader, Hugh. But it’s a challenge. It’s a challenge for all of Europe, and this has all happened, frankly, because of that Syrian war.
JK: We never supported the opposition. We never created the sanctuaries. We never created the no-fly zones. We have encouraged, and there’s been some success in terms of people moving to Lebanon, to Jordan, and we need to continue to help them in terms of some of the financial aid, the humanitarian aid they may need. But you know, Hugh, the one that’s really disappointing is the fact that the Syrian peace talks have collapsed. And there’s no surprise there. Those were ill-fated from the beginning.
HH: Well, Putin, of course, he had no idea. Let me close with the last subject. It’s also one that I talked about with Donald Trump earlier. I like to be fair to everyone and ask them the same thing.
HH: Zika has shown up in Florida. They’ve got four cases. Your colleague, Governor Scott, has declared a state of emergency. This thing causes Microcephaly. It’s a very, I asked the head of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Orange County yesterday what can you do about it, and he said you can’t do anything to reverse it once it happens. So this is a very bad deal, Governor. If you’re president or if you were in charge, what would you do to stop this?
JK: Well, you know, it would be, you know, all alarms. And this is a case where you know, the CDC has to take the lead on this. And I’ve got to tell you, back when we thought we had Ebola in the country, I actually talked to the President, and I had recommended that we get in a position of you have somebody that cuts through the bureaucracy and brings together all of the connected agencies, bureaus and departments. So it’s got to be all hands on deck, particularly with the CDC and figure out a strategy as to what we can do to deal with this, because it is a very serious issue.
HH: Now we need a vaccine, obviously.
HH: But the medical, the incentives are not there for people to pour money into it, because they don’t get long shelf patent life. Don’t we just incentivize the hell out of these things?
JK: Oh, I mean, I don’t think you can let any stone go unturned. Absolutely, I mean, we have to be in a position to be able to, you could have, you have to be able to do whatever it takes to do to be able to protect the folks from this kind of a disease, from this kind of a, you know, with Zika, you’ve got to do whatever it takes. I don’t care what it is, you’ve got to get it done.
HH: Does that mean dusting off the DDT, because that’s what we, mosquitos are back in Africa because we won’t let…
JK: Well, look, I’m not an expert on all that, Hugh. I’m just telling you, you’ve got to bring all the people together, and you’ve got to sit around a table and say what do we do. And I want options, and I want them now. And it’s the same thing we did when we thought we had Ebola in Ohio. We just rolled everything out we could. It’s the same thing we do with very crisis that we have. You get the best people around the room, you work as a team, you come up with a good game plan, and you go forward with it.
HH: And so closing argument, Governor Kasich, 48 hours left, this plays all weekend long in New Hampshire. Why John Kasich?
JK: Well, look, I’m somebody who’s fought and won. I just don’t fight and lose. I fight and I win on the reforms I want. I’ve been a reformer. I’ve been able to get into a position of where we’ve had an environment for job creation, surpluses, paying down debt, tax cuts, like more than anybody in the country, any governor in the country, an ability to work on the outside and on the inside and accomplish things and leave no one behind in the process. So if you want somebody that can achieve things, get things done and improve the economy and stand up for people who often don’t have a voice, I’d be your guy.
HH: Governor John Kasich, always a pleasure, good luck this weekend, and I hope you finish in the money. Be well.
JK: All right, sir, thank you.
End of interview.