Oct 2, 2015 5:11 PM

Steinhauser: Kasich lands interesting endorsement; tells NH1 News crucial 'mentally ill cannot get their hands on guns'

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

CONCORD – Ohio Gov. John Kasich unveiled an important endorsement Friday from a former U.S. senator from New Hampshire who’s revered by many conservatives in the Granite State.

And in a one-on-one interview with NH1 News, the Republican presidential candidate said his proposal for a no-fly zone in war ravaged Syria, possibly backed up by U.S. ground troops, would “send a strong message to the Russians.” And a day after the deadly shootings at a community college in Oregon, Kasich said it’s imperative that “those who are mentally ill cannot get their hands on guns.”

Kasich was backed by Gordon Humphrey, who was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978 and served two terms. The endorsement, held at the Legislative Office Building across from the State Capitol, was a surprise to many and a well-kept secret. It was first reported on Twitter by NH1 News and by the Union Leader just 20 minutes before the endorsement occurred.

“I'm extending more than just my endorsement. I'm extending my trust," said Humphrey, adding that "I think that's the key word here: I trust John Kasich."

Later, Humphrey was asked by NH1 News why he endorsed Kasich, who some consider more of a moderate Republican, rather than one of the candidates who are considered more conservative. Humphrey pushed back at the notion that Kasich’s a moderate.

“I’ve known John Kasich since the 1980’s when we worked together to support Ronald Reagan’s agenda in Congress and I’ve admired him since then. I’ve admired him in his role as governor of Ohio. He’s done an extraordinary job out there. He’s very conservative if you look at the broad record. He’s very conservative,” stated Humphrey.

“If you want to hen peck here and there, you can find fault with anybody and I just think he’s a great guy, practical, and he can get the job done. That’s the main thing. We need competence, we need conservative principles, yes of course. I’m Mr. Conservative, I hope. But we also need competence, and this man unites those two qualities,” he added.

Humphrey is the second former Republican senator in the first-in-the-nation primary state to back Kasich. Former Sen. John E. Sununu, who served alongside Kasich in the U.S. House of Representatives nearly two decades ago, serves as Kasich’s New Hampshire chairman.

Syria and gun control

Kasich used the endorsement event to call for the U.S. to establish no-fly zones and sanctuaries along Syria’s borders with Jordan and Turkey. Kasich said U.S. ground troops might be needed to secure those sanctuaries against ISIS.

Asked about the risk of such a move, Kasich told NH1 News “the riskiest operation is to do nothing. We see the spread of ISIS throughout the Middle East, we see people fleeing Syria. We see the Russians intervening. No this is not a risky strategy. This means that we ought to provide some safe havens, some sanctuaries for people to be able to go, who can save their lives and have their families, and if nobody violates the no-fly zone, fine. But if somebody does, there will be severe consequences. You do not violate the United States no-fly zone. And then we can pull people from the region to help us. Wouldn’t have to have boots unless ISIS would move into sanctuaries, unless these people are threatened.”

“But I’ve been saying for a long time it will be necessary at some point to put boots on the ground. In this case we can use them to protect people, send a strong message to the Russians, send a strong message to our allies in the Middle East who’ve been wondering where is America,” Kasich continued.

Thursday former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential front runner, also called for a no-fly zone and humanitarian corridors in Syria.

Kasich’s campaign visit to the Granite State came one day after a gunman killed nine people at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Hours after the shootings, President Barack Obama went in front of cameras to make a renewed push for increased gun control laws.

Asked whether new legislation is needed, Kasich said “I think most people feel like they’d like to protect themselves. My understanding is they have very severe gun control laws in that state. Look, at the end of it all people want to be able to protect themselves, their families. We shouldn’t erode the 2nd Amendment. Somebody uses a gun obviously they gotta pay a very high penalty. In this case you pay the highest penalty. And on top of it however, it is necessary for us to make sure that there are ways in which we can find those who are mentally ill cannot get their hands on guns.”

“We don’t want those guns in the hands of people who are not competent,” Kasich added.

Kasich has been a frequent visitor to New Hampshire, a crucial state for his chances of winning the Republican nomination.


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