Is Kasich eyeing 2016 presidential contest?


On the side

Democrats are coming: The entire Democratic statewide ticket is coming to Youngstown on Saturday. The candidates will be in the Youngstown State University M24 parking lot, near Fifth and Lincoln avenues, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. before the football game against St. Francis.

Kickoff is 7 p.m. There’s likely to be a few, uh, interesting conversations between the candidates and tailgaters.

Political fundraiser: The Committee for Responsible Redistricting, the group backing the Youngstown ward-reduction charter-amendment proposal, has a fundraiser from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Rust Belt Tap Room, 112 W. Commerce St. Tickets are $20 for all except YSU students, who can get in for $15.

While Gov. John Kasich’s name is thrown around as a potential 2016 presidential candidate, he certainly doesn’t sound like he’s running.

If he is, Kasich is using a very strange approach.

Those who believe the governor is planning to seek the Republican nomination for president point out that he hasn’t definitely said no.

During his Tuesday editorial board meeting with The Vindicator, Kasich came pretty close.

“Honestly, I just don’t see it. I tried it once. You come with me. You can go with me out to Iowa. You wouldn’t believe it. You’d never go to Iowa again ... I don’t expect anything. I don’t even think about it.”

While Kasich is known to say some outrageous things, if he was going to run for president, he wouldn’t take shots at Iowa, a state with a key early caucus, and that he’s already tried it with the assumption it wasn’t something he wants to repeat

Back in 1999, Kasich started campaigning for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, but he threw in the towel in July 1999.

As he often does, Kasich mentioned growing up in McKees Rocks, Pa., a blue-collar Democratic city, during the editorial board meeting.

“I don’t think that anybody would confuse me with Romney,” referring to failed 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, known for being a very rich guy.

Life after being governor could mean a return to being a political pundit.

That “very well might happen,” he said.

Kasich is running for re-election against Democrat Ed FitzGerald, whose campaign has come unraveled.

During the 90-plus-minute editorial board meeting, Kasich never mentioned FitzGerald by name even once.

Kasich said the Nov. 4 election is all about him and if voters like what has been accomplished during his first term as governor, they will re-elect him.

It’s “basically on the incumbent; how he’s doing,” he said.

During the discussion, Kasich mentioned his visit last month to Jim Tressel’s formal installation as Youngstown State University president, and how much he enjoyed it.

He also made this observation.

“Higher education needs significant reform,” Kasich said. “We can’t allow their costs to go through the roof. They’re going to lose market share. There’s no doubt about it.”

He went further: “Here’s what I’m saying about higher education. They run universities, every dean, dean of this, every dean, every dean, every dean, every dean. Are they in the same school or are they their own separate empire like the Austrian-Hungarian empire or Italian city-states?”

This was Kasich’s first meeting as governor with the newspaper’s editorial board. Over the years, numerous requests to meet with him were rejected by his staff. Well, most of the time we were told it was being considered, but nothing ever happened.

When asked about it, Kasich said, “That’s not right and that’s not good. We should have been here more.”

Sensitive staffers

Kasich acknowledged that his staff was sensitive to criticism in some of the newspaper’s editorials.

“At the end of the day, I should say, ‘Why am I not there?’”

While he spent quite a while with us, his campaign staff wouldn’t permit the interview to be videotaped. That puts him in a class by himself as no other candidate has ever denied that request.

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