Arnold's advice to Kasich: Love the beatings, John

Republican presidential candidate on how he handles negative political attacks


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 8, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: John Kasich has been an early beneficiaries of some polls that show him surging at just the right time. Of course, we will know officially tomorrow whether any of those polls are accurate or even close to right, but Kasich telling me he is enjoying the fun, even getting into snowball fights with his crew, his staff, because he is relishing the moment to be with the peeps, as they say.

John Kasich.



It's snowing like crazy. Our people are knocking on doors, and the more it snows, the more our volunteers work. So that's what it's really about, Neil. We're doing great. And my wife is here. What is there not to smile about?

CAVUTO: Absolutely. There you go. There you go.

Well, depending on the poll, Governor, you have good reason to smile. I know they're -- as you often remind me, the only one that counts is the one on -- well, tomorrow, but in a lot of polls coming up, and even some surveys post the debate, where you performed very, very well, you have kind of got the wind at your back, and that people seem to be, again, seem to be, coalescing around you.

A lot of it seems to be that you're the biggest beneficiary of sort of the good governors night. What do you make of that?

KASICH: Well, Neil, I think the debate obviously helps. It's important.

But as I have been telling you all along, it's really the town halls, of which I'm about to do my 105th, believe it or not.


KASICH: And, at the same time, this ground game.

We have -- look, we have people today that drove in from Atlanta, people that drove in from Virginia. We have got, like, 400 that came from Ohio.  And we have got 400 or 500 volunteers in New Hampshire. They're sensing a movement, Neil. They're sensing positive. They're sensing that this is a guy that can unify. They're sensing this is a guy who is a conservative and they don't like all the negative stuff.

I'm being pounded again today. It just -- as Arnold told me, though, in 2010, when he campaigned for me, "Love the beatings, John, love them."

And so we absorb them, but we feel very, very good.


CAVUTO: Did he use that accent? He did use that accent, I guess.

KASICH: I thought that was a really good accent, Neil. I would like to do yours, but it would sound like Arnold, too.


CAVUTO: Well, you know, you mentioned -- no, you do -- in all seriousness, you mentioned the higher up you go, all of a sudden, then you do become a target. Marco Rubio discovered that at the debate, Ted Cruz in the prior debate, that this has already -- your surge -- prompted comments from some guys I guess you thought were friends. This is an ad that Jeb Bush is running on you, Governor. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Budget grew 13.6 percent in 2014.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One-point-three million jobs, 4.4 percent growth, eight balanced budgets, that is a conservative record.

JEB BUSH, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did cut taxes every year. When I left, there were $9 billion in reserves.

BUSH: I know we can fix that's, because I have done it.



CAVUTO: "There's no comparison," the ad splashes across the screen. What do you think?

KASICH: Well, look, they have spent so much money. I don't even know, maybe, what, $40 million, 50 million, and the biggest chunk of it is negative.

And, look, I'm disappointed that they have decided to take the low road to the highest office in the land, but I'm not going down the rabbit hole.

We have been positive through this. We're going to continue to be positive, telling people that we can fix America, that I have national security experience which is unique, more than anybody. We have been able to balance federal budgets, do great in creating an environment for job creation in Ohio.

Neil, I'm not worried about them. It's just disappointing that people have to go negative. I just wish they'd take all their negative stuff off and tell people what they're for. But maybe that doesn't work for them. But it works for me.

CAVUTO: Do you think, Governor, that Chris Christie went negative on Marco Rubio too far? You and he and even Governor Bush, by extension, were beneficiaries of that attack, but what do you make of that?

KASICH: No, I'm not going to comment on the debate. Only thing I can say about the debate is, I think I had one of the best ones, because people got to see a little bit more of my personality.

I don't like the debates. I think it is a very poor way to pick a president. What we ought to be doing is town halls.


CAVUTO: But wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Wait a minute.

Wait a minute. Now, wait a minute. Wait. You're not applying that to Fox Business debates, right? You draw a distinction...

KASICH: Well, yours is -- it's marginally better.

In all seriousness...


CAVUTO: This could be...


CAVUTO: ... interview, Governor. That's your call, but continue.


KASICH: Hey, listen, Neil, here's what I'm trying to say. In the debates, you get 30, 60 seconds. And we had 90 seconds, and you guys did do a great job.

CAVUTO: Right.

KASICH: But you can't really show you who you are effectively in those.

And that's the thing that is hard.

CAVUTO: No, I know what you're saying, yes.

KASICH: That's why I rely so much on town halls. You know what I'm saying.

Look how much fun we're having here and in the debates. But, look, you have got to do them, you have got to do them well, and I'm pleased with how they have been going. I'm just saying that I wish it was a more expansive opportunity for people, not only to know your head, but maybe to also know your heart.


CAVUTO: And, again, John Kasich has benefiting, with some polls that show he's got some momentum. We will see if that pans out tomorrow.

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