Fresh from two days of appearances in the early primary states of South Carolina and New Hampshire, Ohio Gov. John Kasich told a national televised audience that he has “more experience” in domestic and foreign affairs than any candidate seeking the presidency.
In an interview Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, Kasich said he has not “decided yet” to run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, but he pointedly said “all my options are on the table here. I’m more and more serious or I wouldn’t be doing these things.”
But when asked by moderator Chuck Todd what might persuade him to back another Republican such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Kasich replied that he has “more experience than anybody in the field. That’s really what I have that stands out. I don’t just talk about what I want to do. I can tell people what I have done.”
In particular, Kasich cited the fact he chaired the U.S. House budget committee in the 1990s and helped develop a compromise with President Bill Clinton in 1997 that transformed more than two decades of annual federal deficits into four years of budget surpluses from 1997 through 2001.
“I just don’t talk about things,” Kasich said. “I’m doing things. And as a result of that, I think that qualifies me to be out around the country, not just talking about what I have done, but the whole concept of leadership.”
Some analysts argued that rather than looking for a fresh politician, such as President Barack Obama was in 2008, voters might prefer a candidate with a deeper resume, such as Kasich, Bush or former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
By contrast, other GOP contenders such as Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Rand Paul of Kentucky have served less than one term in the Senate, while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has held the governor’s office for less than five years.
While insisting he was not in the “attack mode,” Kasich delivered a none-too-subtle assault against some of the GOP contenders. Without mentioning Cruz by name, Kasich criticized “people who want to divide with fiery rhetoric and attacks and all that. What people in Ohio want to know is, ‘Do you get them and their problems?’ ”
“If you cannot convince people that you understand their problems and you’re going to try and fix them, you’re not going to win anything,” Kasich said. “I’m not so much into the attack mode and all of that other business. I’m into solving problems.”
Sources close to the governor say Kasich is expected to form a non-profit committee to raise money to pay for travel and expenses in other states. While that is a necessary step to prepare for a presidential candidacy, it does not commit Kasich to actually run.
When asked why he might not run, Kasich said “my family is a consideration. And No. 2, the most important thing: What does the Lord want me to do with my life. He puts all of us an Earth to achieve certain purposes. And I’m trying to determine if this is what the Lord wants. And I’m not going to figure that out laying in bed and hoping lightning strikes.”
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