Former CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden endorsed Ohio Gov. John Kasich for president Wednesday, saying he has the best experience and leadership skills to run the country.
Hayden, who helmed both the NSA and the CIA through former President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama’s years in office, cited Kasich’s 18 years of experience on the House Armed Services Committee in a statement announcing his endorsement. He also praised Kasich’s proposals to increase defense spending and defeat Islamic State.
“Governor Kasich has serious proposals to strengthen our military, defeat ISIS and stand up for freedom around the world—proposals that rise far above bumper-stickers and amateur rhetoric,” Hayden said in the statement.
The Kasich campaign released the announcement and said Hayden would join the Republican presidential candidate’s national security advisory group, which includes former President Ronald Reagan’s national security advisor, Richard Allen, and former executive director of the CIA, Alvin “Buzzy” Krongard.
Hayden served as director of the CIA from 2006 to 2009 and as director of the NSA from 1999 to 2005. He’s been outspoken in his criticism of Republican front-runners Sen. [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore] and businessman Donald Trump, and has denounced the rhetoric of the 2016 campaign.
“We have taken … very complicated, serious issues and we’ve pushed them down to the level of bumper stickers,” Hayden told CNN in February. “That scares me and I’m sure it scares a lot of the rest of the world.”
While Trump and Cruz are leading the Republican field, a national Monmouth University poll released last month showed Kasich was the only candidate who could beat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical general election match-up.
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