John Kasich Shows His Softer Side at Iowa’s State Fair

The Ohio governor talked about compassion, doubling the National Institutes of Health budget, and helping children in Africa.

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 06: Republican presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich fields a question during the first Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox News and Facebook at the Quicken Loans Arena on August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The top ten GOP candidates were selected to participate in the debate based on their rank in an average of the five most recent political polls. 
National Journal
Aug. 18, 2015, 3:19 p.m.

DES MOINES, Iowa — John Kasich delivered less of a stump speech than a sermon on life, purpose, and happiness during his visit to the Iowa State Fair Tuesday.

“I believe that all of us have to be a center of justice and a center of healing,” Kasich said, “and to realize that life is not just about us alone. Life is about us doing something bigger in our lives for someone else.”

It was an unusual speech, especially in its striking contrast to days of soapbox polemics from other Republican presidential candidates. Part of that was the venue: Kasich’s address was moved indoors in response to unrelenting rain. But mostly it was because, instead of railing against Democrats’ plans or even touting much of his own specific agenda, the sometimes-brusque Kasich spent 20 understated minutes musing about “empathy,” self-fulfillment, and “the value of teamwork.”

While rivals, led by Donald Trump, tap supporters’ palpable anger and frustration, Kasich declared that there is “too much anger in America today, too much division.” He spoke in hopeful tones of worldwide inclusiveness.

“When a young boy or girl dies in Africa, we all lose a little bit of ourselves,” Kasich said. “And when we save a young boy or young girl’s life in Africa, the world moves up. Because we’re all connected.”

If Kasich’s goal is to be a different kind of Republican candidate, he succeeded Tuesday.

At one point, the Ohio governor and former House Budget Committee chairman noticed a young man in the crowd wearing a purple Alzheimer’s-awareness shirt. “Standing for something, huh?” Kasich said. “Yeah, we do need to double the NIH [National Institutes of Health] budget and begin to do the vital medical research, and it should be a priority of the government.”

Kasich voluntarily brought up his decision — derided by many conservatives — to expand Ohio’s Medicaid program as part of President Obama’s health care law. And he touted his efforts to soften criminal penalties for the mentally ill in his state. “Does anybody think that we ought to lock up someone who is bipolar or schizophrenic?” he asked. “We’re treating them in Ohio now.”

Kasich also spoke about the need to confront ISIS, calling the group’s existence “an attack on Western civilization.” But he quickly shifted focus to the broader moral purpose of such a battle.

“I have to suggest to you that we, as human beings who represent the Western ethic or the Western tradition — we need to realize that we have a purpose here on Earth,” Kasich said. “Our purpose relates to healing those who live in our world, and I believe that our purpose involves justice in this world.”

Kasich infused his speech with references to his faith, at one point declaring himself a fan of Tim Tebow, the deeply religious quarterback who has struggled in pro football.

After his remarks, Kasich told reporters that spreading justice, healing, and goodwill can manifest itself in big ways — he said he’s running for president to set an example for the nation — and small ways. “When you call your grandma,” he said, “… you just feel good doing something for someone else.”

“It’s in us. We just have to bring it out,” Kasich said. “Leaders can help.”

What We're Following See More »
AVOIDS SHUTDOWN WITH A FEW HOURS TO SPARE
Trump Signs Border Deal
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"President Trump signed a sweeping spending bill Friday afternoon, averting another partial government shutdown. The action came after Trump had declared a national emergency in a move designed to circumvent Congress and build additional barriers at the southern border, where he said the United States faces 'an invasion of our country.'"

Source:
REDIRECTS $8 BILLION
Trump Declares National Emergency
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

"President Donald Trump on Friday declared a state of emergency on the southern border and immediately direct $8 billion to construct or repair as many as 234 miles of a border barrier. The move — which is sure to invite vigorous legal challenges from activists and government officials — comes after Trump failed to get the $5.7 billion he was seeking from lawmakers. Instead, Trump agreed to sign a deal that included just $1.375 for border security."

Source:
COULD SOW DIVISION AMONG REPUBLICANS
House Will Condemn Emergency Declaration
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

"House Democrats are gearing up to pass a joint resolution disapproving of President Trump’s emergency declaration to build his U.S.-Mexico border wall, a move that will force Senate Republicans to vote on a contentious issue that divides their party. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Thursday evening in an interview with The Washington Post that the House would take up the resolution in the coming days or weeks. The measure is expected to easily clear the Democratic-led House, and because it would be privileged, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would be forced to put the resolution to a vote that he could lose."

Source:
MILITARY CONSTRUCTION, DRUG FORFEITURE FUND
Where Will the Emergency Money Come From?
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

"ABC News has learned the president plans to announce on Friday his intention to spend about $8 billion on the border wall with a mix of spending from Congressional appropriations approved Thursday night, executive action and an emergency declaration. A senior White House official familiar with the plan told ABC News that $1.375 billion would come from the spending bill Congress passed Thursday; $600 million would come from the Treasury Department's drug forfeiture fund; $2.5 billion would come from the Pentagon's drug interdiction program; and through an emergency declaration: $3.5 billion from the Pentagon's military construction budget."

Source:
TRUMP SAYS HE WILL SIGN
House Passes Funding Deal
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

"The House passed a massive border and budget bill that would avert a shutdown and keep the government funded through the end of September. The Senate passed the measure earlier Thursday. The bill provides $1.375 billion for fences, far short of the $5.7 billion President Trump had demanded to fund steel walls. But the president says he will sign the legislation, and instead seek to fund his border wall by declaring a national emergency."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login