• With: Gov. John Kasich, Bret Stephens, Matt Kaminski, Dan Henninger, Mary Kissel, Dorothy Rabinowitz, Paul Gigot, Kim Strassel, James Freeman

    This is a rush transcript from "Journal Editorial Report," September 29, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

    PAUL GIGOT, HOST: This week on the "Journal Editorial Report," the battle in the Buckeye State. Both candidates campaign hard in all-important Ohio. President Obama is leading in the polls but can Mitt Romney still turn it around. We'll ask Governor John Kasich.

    Plus, just call him the 10 percent president. That's how much responsibility Mr. Obama will take for the exploding deficit. We'll give you the real numbers.

    And new details on the deadly consulate attack in Libya raise more questions for the White House. Should it have been anticipated? Could it have been stopped?

    Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.

    All eyes were on Ohio this week as President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney both hit the Buckeye State hard, hoping to put its 18 electoral votes into their column come November 6th. The Real Clear Politics poll average shows the president widening his lead there. But my guest this week says we shouldn't write Mitt Romney off just yet.

    Ohio Governor John Kasich joins me now.

    Governor, great to have you on the show. Welcome.

    GOV. JOHN KASICH, R-OHIO: Thank you, Paul.

    GIGOT: So the polls show that Mitt Romney is trailing. How do you explain that, and is that true?

    KASICH: You know, Paul, I don't pay a lot of attention to polls because it depends when they take them, what the sample looks like and everything else. But I can tell you this, these guys have been in Ohio so much, I think they should start paying income tax.

    (LAUGHTER)

    In fact, is this thing wasn't as close as close can be, they both wouldn't be here.

    GIGOT: Sure.

    KASICH: So I expect this to go down to the wire, Paul. No question about it. We are always a swing state. It will be very close.

    GIGOT: So the Democrats are saying one of big factors helping the president is the auto bailout, particularly in the northern part of the state. Is that how -- one of the factors here, you read back to help the president?

    KASICH: Look, we're up 123,000 jobs over the last year and three- quarters. We're actually, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics, actually down 500 jobs, auto jobs in Ohio.

    GIGOT: Really?

    KASICH: The situation is -- yes -- Chrysler has expanded but Ford and General Motors have shrunk their footprint. But we're thrilled that we've -- we are stabilizing the auto industry out here and we're thrilled about that. But, of the 123,000 jobs, most of them that are coming, the biggest categories are business services and health care. We are having some specialty manufacturing rebound, but it's hard to argue that if, in fact, the Bureau of Labor statistics says we are down a net 500 jobs that you can attach to why we are up 123,000. And Ohio is actually doing much better.

    GIGOT: One of the -- one of your colleagues, Ohio colleagues, Speaker John Boehner, had something to say about the polling and the race in Ohio. I want to listen to that and get your reaction to it. Let's listen.

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: One of the things that probably works against Romney in Ohio is the fact that Governor Kasich has done such a good job of fixing government regulations in the state, attracting new businesses to the state. So our unemployment rate in Ohio is lower than the national average. As a matter of fact, I think it's four points lower than the national average. So as a result, people are still concerned about the economy and jobs in Ohio, but it certainly isn't like you've seen in some other states.

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    GIGOT: No question, your unemployment rate, 7.2 percent. The national rate, 8.1 percent. But is the paradox here that John Kasich, the Republican governor, is helping President Obama win reelection?

    KASICH: You know, Paul, I think that's -- I don't accept that. The fact of the matter is, number one, it's hard to defeat an incumbent president. Two, Ohio has always been a swing state. And number three, in order for Mitt Romney to do better, he has to be here more. The situation is we are doing better here. We went from 89 cents in a rainy day fund to a half a billion, to a loss of 400,000 jobs, to up 123, a balanced budget and all that, so people are feeling better here. But we have the wind in our face. You know the uncertainty of threatened tax increases, more regulations, the big debt hanging over our head. I've got the wind in my fact all the time. And as I say, if I want the wind at my back, Mitt Romney has to be elected president because the uncertainty is paralyzing businesses.

    GIGOT: But should Mitt Romney associate himself with the policies of successful Republican governors. I'm talking about you in Ohio but --

    KASICH: Sure.

    GIGOT: -- also take Scott Walker in Wisconsin or Terry Branstad in Iowa and other states with lower unemployment than the national average.

    KASICH: Sure.

    GIGOT: And I haven't heard him do that.

    KASICH: We'll I've seen him do it, and I've been with him a number of times where he's talked about the fact that -- look, Paul, you know, the philosophy and the policies we've pursued out here are not much different than what I saw Ronald Reagan do when I was a member of Congress and he was president. We balanced the budget. It was real. We reduced taxes. We reduced marginal rate on income taxes. We killed the death take. We have our regulatory environment under control. It's not that we don't have any regulations but they are not duplicative and they don't --

    GIGOT: Sure.

    KASICH: -- lack common sense. Those are the things we have to do to get America moving again. So I think -- and that is what Romney talks about, lower taxes, smaller government, better regulations. When I see him do that, I feel pretty good about it because I think he is on the right path. You may not hear it through the megaphone of national media. But when I'm with him, I hear him do that. And he should do it more.

    GIGOT: I paid attention to your race in 2010. You ran against a candidate who ran a campaign very much like the president is, Ted Strickland --

    KASICH: Oh, yes.

    GIGOT: -- the incumbent governor -- class war, soak the rich, tried to associate you with Wall Street and big banks. But you beat him. How can Mitt Romney beat a campaign like that in Ohio?

    KASICH: He's got to be here, Paul. When I see him out -- he was in my hometown not long ago. He had an overflow crowd that was just amazing. I've been around a lot of national campaigns. When you are out with him, you see the enthusiasm. Look, the most important thing for candidate running for president is to get people to understand that he understands their problems or she understands their problems and knows how to fix them.

    As Jim Rhodes, the four-term governor of Ohio, used to say about wallet, all that matters in Ohio, at the end of the day, is the size of this wallet.

    (LAUGHTER)