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Kasich not worried about his poll numbers: 'We're still in the 'American Idol' primary'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 9, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

 

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight ON THE RECORD, Ohio governor, 2016 presidential candidate John Kasich is here. Now, he's hitting the road. Where is the governor going? He'll tell you in moments.

But, first, all eyes on Congressman Paul Ryan. Many Republicans begging the former vice presidential candidate to run for speaker of the House.

Governor Kasich knows a lot about Congress. He was in Congress for 18 years. Governor Kasich joins us.

Good evening, sir.

OHIO GOV. JOHN KASICH, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hey, Greta. How are you?

VAN SUSTEREN: Good. Just for sort of a starting point on this whole race for the speakership, is this just a fascinating political drama, or is this deeply important to every American? And if so, why?

KASICH: Well, Greta, look, I don't get into who's going to be speaker. We've had some leadership changes in Ohio --

VAN SUSTEREN: But just the whole idea.

KASICH: -- a change --

VAN SUSTEREN: But just --

(CROSSTALK)

KASICH: Well, of course, it's important. It's important because, if I become president, we're going to have a very aggressive agenda. It's going to involve shifting power, money and influence out of that town. It's going to lead us over time to a balanced budget. There's going to be tax reform, trade reform, regulatory reform.

I've got to have -- I've got to have people there that want to get this done, because we'll have 90 to 120 days, and that's what I'm most concerned about.

Who they pick, God bless them. You know, I can't mess in that. But what I want is a commitment that we can accomplish a big agenda, and I think most of them want that. That's my sense. They don't want to just twiddle their thumbs. They want to make sure that we change America. And that's all I care about.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, so, in light of that being your goal if elected president, what in the world happened?

KASICH: You mean in Congress?

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes. I mean, like, this is a very -- this is a situation where the current speaker wants out. They've got no one who really is sort of leading the pack to get 218 votes. You were a committee chairman. They are hounding Paul Ryan tonight. They've even got Governor Mitt Romney calling him.

I mean, this has gotten to be quite a situation of chaos on Capitol Hill.

KASICH: Well, they've got to find somebody who can get the votes, Greta.

But let me go back and explain to you why I'm hesitant to say anything. We changed the speaker. We had to have a new speaker in the Ohio House in my state. We've had a change of who the Senate president is.

The minute that somebody who's an executive -- and I expect to be president. I'm the governor of Ohio. You don't get into the middle of their work. That's their house, their body, any more than they try to tell me who should be in my cabinet. So, all I'm hoping for is that they can come together, that they can be united, and they can be poised in the first 90 to 120 days, because that's the window we're going to have.

And if that window closes and we don't have somebody that knows how to push many things through that window, we will have failure.

And so, all I'm interested in is not the bickering or the fighting or the internal divisions or whatever. I just want to get things done, both through the House and through the Senate. And frankly, I think over in the Senate, they need to get rid of the filibuster. They ought to keep the filibuster for judges and some of their internal matters.

But the idea that you have 60 votes to accomplish anything, that's prehistoric. It doesn't fit the change that we need in the 21st century. That is a big deal.

I mean, we're focusing on the speaker. Absolutely a big deal. But the Senate has to do away with the filibuster, because you can have a couple people blocking everything over in the United States Senate. It took them a couple months, I'm told, to pass a program to stop human trafficking. I mean, things shouldn't be held up like that, because this is the 21st century, and they're acting like, you know, we're in like the 10th century.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Governor, you're a very popular governor in your state of Ohio. You have twice been elected governor. But a Quinnipiac University poll has you in third place with 13 percent behind two outsiders, Trump with 23 percent, Dr. Ben Carson with 18 percent in your state.

Why are these outsiders still dominating?

KASICH: Well, because we're still in the "American Idol" primary. Look, I'm not worried. When we get to Ohio, I will win Ohio, and you know what my approval ratings are there now. They're sky high.

You know, we'll see. These polls are up and down. I mean, this is just a flaky way to try to decide what's going to happen. It gets decided in places like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, in the early primary states, and things will take care of themselves. And I'm not in the least bit worried about what the heck's going to happen in Ohio. I'll win Ohio.

And I'll tell you one thing, the Republicans better be careful, because if we nominate somebody that can't win Ohio, guess what? We won't win the White House.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Your plan is to get on a bus and start a bus tour. Tell me what the campaign plan is over the next couple of days.

KASICH: Well, we're going to be, starting on Monday, I'll be in Michigan. Then I'm headed to New Hampshire. We're going to be all over New Hampshire visiting big towns, small towns.

And then on Thursday, Greta, we're going to be unveiling our plan to balance the federal budget, to reform the tax code, to shift power, money and influence out of Washington, to freeze regulations.

I mean, there's a lot of things that will be coming out. It won't probably be as detailed as I would like because I've only been a candidate slightly more than two months. The details will grow over time, but we're going to give you some meat to take a look at.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I'll give you --

KASICH: You should be there.

VAN SUSTEREN: Maybe I will come. I'll give you -- since I gave one to Governor Chris Christie the other night, you've got some experience balancing the budget.

KASICH: Well, I balanced -- you know, I was the chief architect of balancing the federal budget. We hadn't done it since man walked on the moon, and we haven't done it since I left Washington. And in Ohio, I've shaken everything from top to bottom and gone from an $8 billion hole to a $2 billion surplus. Plus, tax cuts, plus, we've grown 347,000 jobs.

And we are actually really balanced. I mean, we actually don't, you know, move things around. It's not like a pea under a shell. We actually get it done. Our credit is strong. Our pension systems by and large are strong.

And so, we're pleased about that. And you know, Greta, when we're strong there, we also want to help people who live in the shadows, which include the mentally ill, the drug-addicted, the working poor, and a lot of those 50-year-olds who lost their jobs when their jobs were shipped out of America. We need to retrain them and give them some hope.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, nice to see you. Maybe we'll catch up with you when you're on that bus trip. It's a fancy, new bus.

KASICH: I hope so, Greta. It's going to be -- it's going to be exciting. Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, nice to talk to you.