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Feb 1, 2016 9:18 PM

Steinhauser-First on NH1 News: Kasich calls for super PACS to pull attack ads

NH1 News Political Director

ROCHESTER – John Kasich’s calling on all super PACs in the race for the White House to scrap their attacks ads, and he’s starting with the super PAC backing his Republican presidential campaign.

And the Ohio governor made his news Monday morning in a one-on-one interview with NH1 News.

Kasich spoke with NH1 News as the super PAC supporting him, New Day for America, started running a new television commercial that criticized another rival for the GOP nomination, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, for voting against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. The spot highlighted footage of New Hampshire’s popular Republican senator, Kelly Ayotte, urging support for the law at a news conference.

Ayotte, who’s running for re-election this year and who’s neutral in the February 9 primary, put out a statement Monday morning condemning the ad, saying “I’m appalled that an outside group has exploited it in a political attack.”

Minutes later, speaking with NH1 News, Kasich said “we went on Twitter and told them to take it down.”

But Kasich went a step further, saying “not only do we think our negative ads should come down with our super PAC, but all super PACs should take their negative ads down. Tell people what you’re for. Stop attacking. It’s that simple. Tell people what you’re for.”

Kasich made his pitch as he’s become a target of attack ads from super PACs backing rivals for the GOP nomination. Sunday evening America Leads, which is supporting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s Republican presidential bid, started airing a new ad blasting Kasich for his past ties to Lehman Brothers, the failed Wall Street investment giant which crashed during the 2008 financial crisis.

Asked by NH1 News if the rise of attacks he’s facing is a good sign that he’s on the rise, Kasich told NH1 News “well it’s never good to be under attack, but it’s OK, it’s to be expected.”

Minutes later, at a town hall at the American Legion in Rochester, a voter asked Kasich about those attack ads.

“A lot of people are trashing me, they ought to take down their stuff,” Kasich said.

Then he broke into an Arnold Schwarzenegger imitation, saying “Arnold Schwarzenegger’s a buddy of mine, I’ll drop a name, and one time I said to him, when I was running for governor, I said ‘they’re really attacking me,’ he goes ‘love the beatings John, love them.’ And so I sort of love the beatings.”

Kasich is devoting most of his time and resources to New Hampshire. He traveled to Iowa briefly last week to attend Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate.

Asked if the results in Iowa will matter to him, Kasich said “I mean we came here, we cast our lot in New Hampshire, and well see, I have no clue what will happen in Iowa, but we’ve invested our time right here in the Granite State.”

With the latest polls indicating Donald Trump’s the clear front runner in the Granite State, Kasich’s battling Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for second place.

Asked if he’s put any resources in South Carolina, which follows New Hampshire in the primary calendar, or in the states that vote later, Kasich said “yeah, we’re ready to go all over the country. We have people in South Carolina. If we do well here, everything will shift, will move down there. Yeah, we have stuff all over the country. I’ve got people with me today from Tennessee, from California, people from all over. Trent Lott from Mississippi. We’re ready to roll.”

Kasich’s town hall in Rochester was his 87th since launching his presidential bid in July. Asked if he’ll make it to 100 before the first-in-the-nation primary, Kasich joked “you’re just going to have to wait and see.”

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