WASHINGTON — Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Friday that he will run for president if he is confident he will have “the resources to win,” and, at this stage, he is “optimistic” that will be the case.
At a Friday lunch with reporters, organized by the Christian Science Monitor, Kasich indicated that he is gearing up for a White House run.
“First of all, I’m trying to determine whether I’ll have the resources to win,” Kasich said. “You know, if I don’t have the resources, and I don’t see a path to victory, I’m not going to do that. I Iove being governor. And so I think we’re, at this point, optimistic that we’ll have the resources to be able to move forward. But again, to be determined, so we’ll see.”
The Republican governor, former congressman and Fox News host added: “If it works, great. And if it doesn’t work, I may still have time to realize my dream of being on the PGA tour.”
During the hour-long session with political reporters, Kasich suggested he would distinguish himself in a presidential campaign by emphasizing his experience in public service. He specifically noted his years in Congress as chairman of the budget committee and as a lawmaker on the armed services committee.
“I’ve had extensive national security experience,” he argued.
Kasich — at odds with some conservatives on things like his support for the Common Core educational standards and on expanding Medicaid in his state through Obamacare — disputed the notion that he’s not “conservative enough” to win his party’s nomination.
“First of all, the last Republican that I can think of who expanded Medicaid was Ronald Reagan,” he quipped.
“It’s so funny,” Kasich added, “because some people say, ‘well, is he conservative enough?’ I’m one of the architects of balancing the federal budget; one of the people involved in welfare reform; I come into the state, we’ve got $8 billion in the hole, [now we’re] running a $2 billion surplus; we’ve got the largest tax cuts in America, $3 billion dollars and more to come; and killed the death tax and we’re helping small businesses.”
Kasich’s 2016 pitch also included a self-serving political argument: “I will tell you,” he said, “you can’t be president if you don’t win Ohio.”