Ohio Politics

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In campaign shift, Kasich comes out swinging ahead of debate

By Laura Bischoff

Columbus Bureau

Marking a dramatic shift in campaign strategy, Ohio Gov. John Kasich came out swinging on Tuesday, aiming his barbs at his fellow Republican presidential hopefuls and saying he is sick and tired of “ridiculous” ideas advanced by the front runners.

“Folks, we better be careful that we don’t turn this country over to somebody who is not capable of running it. If we turn this country over to somebody with wild ideas that thinks they can scream and bluster or operate their way to success, it’s going to be my kids that are going to be at risk and your kids and your grandchildren,” Kasich told more than 100 supporters at a rally. “So why don’t we grow up? Why don’t we get a reality check on what the heck needs to be done in this country.”

Referring to business tycoon Donald Trump’s plan to deport undocumented workers, Kasich had this to say:

“We got one guy who says we ought take 10 or 11 million people and pick them up. I don’t know if we’re going to go in their homes, their apartments. We’re going to pick them up and take them to the border and scream at them to get out of our country? That’s just crazy.”

He then took a swipe at retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s plans to cut Medicaid and Medicare.

“We got people proposing health care reform that, I believe, is going to leave millions of people without adequate health insurance,” Kasich said. “What has happened to our party? What has happened to the conservative movement?”

Kasich derided former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for bragging that he was known as “Veto Corleone” for rejecting so many bills from the Florida legislature. “You know what vetoes are? Vetoes are a sign that you can’t get what you want,” Kasich said.

Kasich said as governor, he has implemented common sense reforms — not ridiculous ideas.

“I want you to know that I’m fed up. I’m sick and tired of listening to this nonsense and I’m going to have to call it like it is as long as I’m in this race,” said Kasich.

Kasich has a chance to do just that before tens of millions of voters when he takes the stage at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the University of Colorado-Boulder. The third GOP primary debate is slated to focus on jobs, taxes and the economy.

While Kasich’s performance at the first debate, held in Cleveland in August, was deemed solid, he struggled to break through the clutter of a crowded stage at the second debate aired by CNN. Ten Republican presidential candidates will be vying for voter attention and media.

Kasich, who announced his presidential campaign in July, is grabbing just 2.6 percent of voter support nationally, according to an average of polling data compiled by RealClearPolitics.com. In New Hampshire, where he has focused most of his money and time, the average polling numbers show him in sixth place with 7 percent of voters supporting him.

Lately, his campaign has taken on a more combative edge — accusing Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton’s campaign of ripping off part of Kasich’s slogan. And Kasich pushed back on Trump, who earlier this week erroneously tried to take credit for the 2011 decision by Ford Motor Co to locate jobs in Avon Lake instead of Mexico.

Kasich will need a bump in the polls or stay at least stay ahead of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to qualify for the Fox Business Channel debate next month. The rules for that debate require the candidates to be at 2.5 percent or above.

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