Gov. John Kasich: 'America needs to rise'

Republican presidential candidate responds


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," July 24, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: He's 16th in the race, but to hear the Clinton folks tell it, he is their number one threat.

Take a look.


CAVUTO: What do you make of that?

You have probably heard these reports. They`re most worried about you. They`re most worried about your track record, your success, your Midwestern appeal, and the fact that of all the entrants in the race thus far, you have the highest poll numbers within your state. What do you make of that?

GOV. JOHN KASICH, R-OHIO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think, Neil, there are obviously concerned about the record.

I mean, when you balance the federal budget, when you reform the Pentagon, but you support strong defense, or what I did when I -- and my team did when I became governor of Ohio, I think it's a formidable record. It's not just talk. It’s actually results.

But, Neil, they get one other thing, too. They get me.


KASICH: And some are going to like me and some are not, but I am what I am. And I have a lot of fun.

And I tell you, I had some big crowds in New Hampshire, and really connected well. And about halfway through, I was looking at them, saying, how am I doing? And they all clap, and so I'm actually enjoying myself.  It’s a good time.


CAVUTO: That is very clear. That is very clear. Whether people accept or reject you, or other -- it's very clear you`re having fun, and it's been the way you have been running Ohio.

But I guess what comes back as well is, with all that success -- and you did -- I didn't realize the fact that you winged that entire speech, which is remarkable in and of itself. I'm glad you left Fox, because you would have probably taken my job. So, leaving that aside, do you worry that you`re not getting the attention because then along comes this Trump guy and he is sucking all the oxygen out of the room?

KASICH: Look, I think we`re getting plenty of attention, Neil, and I'm not really worried about that.

My people feel good. There have been lots of columns, lots of talk lots of places. But there's what I really -- I didn't -- I left this out. When you look at my record, the other thing I want people to know is that economic success in growth means to be -- means that everybody is included, whether you`re drug addicted, mentally ill, the working poor, a member of the minority community.

America needs to rise. We all need to be rising. We all need to rise.
We're all part of the American family. So I believe very much in inclusiveness and ending the division, create jobs, economic growth, strengthen the military, and send a signal to everyone in the country, you're part of us, we love you, we want you to do well, and we`re going to be committed to doing exactly what I am saying here.

CAVUTO: All right, now, that that was obviously a speech, though, not written by political handlers, because political handlers would have told you, Governor, that the appearance you have given in remarks like that, and talking about reaching out and helping with Medicaid and doing all this other stuff to help the disadvantaged, and to mention God and to mention our greater goals and greater good sounds liberal, and you`re ticking off hard-core conservatives.


KASICH: What do you think?

KASICH: You know what? Look, I not only studied Ronald Reagan. I knew Ronald Reagan. And he had a great heart.

And, Neil, when did we get to the point that if you`re a conservative -- I don't think this is really even accurate -- that don't care about other people? The whole purpose of conservatism...


CAVUTO: If don't care about them during the primaries, I think, is what they say, but go ahead.

KASICH: Well, look, if I don't win and I say that, that's OK with me. I'm not changing my message.

And I tell you, I go everywhere, I lay it all on the line. And people are either going to like it or they're not. But you know what? Everybody understands the problem of mental illness, drug addiction. It's in all of our communities now.


CAVUTO: No, no, no. Governor, I take no issue with that.

I think you understand where I'm coming from on this, that the immediate interpretation of that from real hard-core conservatives is, oh, that is Kasich, the government guy. That's Kasich, the spender.



CAVUTO: What do you think?

KASICH: Well, look, I balanced -- as a chief architect of balancing the federal budget, in Ohio, we went from $8 billion in the hole to a $2 billion surplus. We have cut taxes $5 billion, Neil. I don't think anybody is even in the ballpark of that level of tax cuts.

We have cut regulations in Ohio. We have school choice. It's just that I`m a believer that everybody has got to have a chance. America divided doesn't work and America united does. And faith is a part of it, but I got to tell you, I'm a flawed man. I said it in my speech. You just get up every day and try to do better.

So, my purpose in all this is to be positive, bring people together, and unite America again. That's when we`re strong.

CAVUTO: Given your rise here, and the Clinton folks were worried about you, along come this TIME magazine story that you and Hillary Clinton actually worked quite closely together with health care back in 1993, and that you were one of the people she sought out. I think you were the ranking member of the House Budget Committee at the time. You were an influential young player in Washington, and that she reached out to you.


KASICH: Yes. Let me tell you what happened, Neil.

CAVUTO: Tell me what happened there, because conservatives are seizing on this to say, aha.

KASICH: No. No. No.


KASICH: Yes.  

No, let me explain to you what happened. We knew Hillary had this big health care plan. And a friend of mine, who was a Democrat, I said, why don't we have Hillary come to dinner? And I will get all the Republicans so that she can hear their concerns, so she just doesn't go forward with what she wants to do, because it's not going to get anywhere.

So, she came to the dipper and she was supposed to stay a half-hour. I think she stayed like an hour-and-a-half or whatever, and we had our health care experts there and explained to her exactly what her problems were. So I am a believer in dialogue.


CAVUTO: Just to be clear, your plan was a more private market solution, right, I believe, at the time. Right?

KASICH: Yes, yes, absolutely.

And what she was trying to do wasn't going to work. And I was the Budget Committee chairman when the whole thing blew up under her.

CAVUTO: Right. Right.

KASICH: And, look, I'm going to always talk to people, Neil, who I have to work with, because, at the end of the day, we cannot solve the problems of health care, solve the problems of Social Security, of protecting the border unless we have at least some bipartisan support, Neil.

Remember Reagan working with Tip O'Neill? Did that make him a liberal? I don't know. I don't think so.

CAVUTO: All right.

This sanctuary city debate that is very big right now, how do you feel about that? Should we have them? There`s an effort in the House, as you know, to stop it. What do you say?



I don't think that these officials should be thumbing their nose at the law.

And, frankly, as we see, when people ignore the law, some bad things can happen. So I hope they move forward with some of this legislation. I don't know the details of all of it. But, at the end of the day, we don't want people who are have violated the law to walk away and have no consequence.

CAVUTO: So, we don't want sanctuary cities, is what you're saying?

KASICH: No, we don't. We don't.


Now, this Iran deal, separately, there's a big, big fight as to whether it should go through. The opposition is already there. But the president would likely veto that opposition. There aren't enough votes to override it. He says -- Secretary of State Kerry says that the alternative is war.
What do you say?

KASICH: Well, I think that's such hyperbole.

I don't agree. And, frankly, the deal is so bad, because they're not only going to get a nuclear weapon, but they are going to have a lot of cash to put to fund these radical groups that want to destroy our friends and hate our way of life.

I am not so sure it's over, Neil. Look, I mean, I'm not sure the votes aren't there to override. We will see what Chuck Schumer and Ben Cardin and a number of the Democrats want to do.

CAVUTO: Well, it's an uphill fight.


CAVUTO: But let me ask you, if you became president of the United States, and this -- we had this deal with Iran, what would a President Kasich do, rip it up?

KASICH: Well, we'd have to closely monitor everything that is going on, and if we think they're in violation, we would have to fight to reimpose the economic sanctions.


CAVUTO: But it would be a done deal. It would already be a done deal.
Let's say it's a done deal. Right? Then a President Kasich has a chance to either rip it up. What would he do?

KASICH: Yes, but if they violate -- if they violate the agreement, Neil, then you slap the economic sanctions back on.

So, in the short-term, we have to be very aggressive, as the world, and, frankly, we ought to reach agreement with the world powers right to say...

CAVUTO: But it would hinge on them violating it, Governor?

KASICH: Well, we're going to have an agreement, and if they don't violate it -- I don't like the agreement.

CAVUTO: Right. Right.

KASICH: So we have to see where they are.

But if this puts off the development for a while, we will accept that. But my fear is that they will not reach agreement here, they will violate the agreement. And I think the best course is then to reimpose economic sanctions. And if I could get that done, that is what I would do.

CAVUTO: I understand.

KASICH: I would get our allies together to say, knock this thing off and let's go back to sanctions until they change, because we're going to see cash flowing to some of these radical groups. And that's very, very bad.

But to say we're going to war on the first day, Neil, come on, that's not realistic. It may sound good, but I don't think it's the proper thing to say.

CAVUTO: All right.

KASICH: No more red lines, Neil.


CAVUTO: All right, John Kasich.

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