Ohio Gov. John Kasich at a business roundtable discussion in Portsmouth, NH

Jun 4, 2015 11:21 PM

Steinhauser: Kasich needles Bush, touts Sununus

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

PORTSMOUTH – John Kasich says an underwhelming performance so far by Jeb Bush has opened the door to a likely White House run by the Republican governor of Ohio.

"I didn't think I was going to be back up here again because frankly, I thought Jeb was just going to suck all the air out of the room, and it just hasn't happened," Kasich told Seacoast business leaders Thursday afternoon, at question and answer session organized by GOP activist Renee Plummer.

"No hit on Jeb. No hit on you, Jeb!" Kasich said moments later.

But minutes later, asked about his odds in a crowded GOP primary field that could eventually broaden to 15 to 20 candidates, many of them with bigger names and bigger bucks, Kasich said "I’m not going to have Bush money; Wells Fargo doesn’t have Bush money.”

Asked in a one-on-one interview with NH1 News how he could stand out, the two-term governor and former longtime congressman said “I think it's the resume and the record. I mean I have a resume that's unique among anybody who's thinking about running with both national security and Washington experience and success and also being governor of a big state, being an executive. it's basically results."

The first GOP presidential debate is just two months away. The showdown is being held in Cleveland, site of next year’s Republican convention. Fox News is limiting the debate to ten candidates and is using national polling as its criteria. As of now, Kasich wouldn’t make the debate stage at a debate being held in his own home state.

Asked about that prospect, Kasich shot back “that’s a process thing and we leave it to our people. I don’t even think about it. We just got to do our thing.”

A Kasich announcement would likely come next month, after his state’s legislative session is over. The governor, known for his frank and off the cuff comments, told NH1 News that “we want to see if we can get the resources and the organization to win. I’m not doing this to write a book or get a television show or anything else. Either you win or you don’t do it. And I’m optimistic it’s moving in the right direction, but we still have a ways to go.”

Kasich has already been backed by former U.S. Sen. John E. Sununu. Asked by NH1 News if he’s looking for an endorsement from the former senator’s father, former Granite State Gov. John H. Sununu, Kasich said he was going to meet with the elder Sununu later in the day.

“I think the governor’s a really smart guy and I’ll be doing more listening than talking,” Kasich said.

The former governor, who remains a force in New Hampshire politics, has said he’ll most likely endorse a governor or former governor for the GOP nomination.

Kasich was joined at the event by his daughter Reese, one of his twin 15 year old daughters.

Asked what she liked about her father, Reese said his choice in music.

Kasich said his family was really close. Asked if his daughters would spend a lot of time on the campaign trial, Kasich said “they’ll be out and about but we’re not going to drag them all over the place. They’ll do what they can do and what the need to do.”

The event in Portsmouth kicked off a two-day swing for Kasich through the first-in-the-nation primary state. It’s the governor’s fourth trip to New Hampshire since March.

Kasich appeared to enjoy the question and answer session, and he cracked jokes throughout the event. When a retiree asked him a question, Kasich said “you look too young to be retired.”

When learning that the man was 72, Kasich said “I want to know what you’re drinking.”


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