This is a rush transcript from "Your World," September 22, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, we go from the pope to John Kasich.
CAVUTO: Anyway, the Republican presidential candidate, governor of the fine state of Ohio, joining me right now, John Kasich.
Very good to have you, Governor.
CAVUTO: Boy, what a comedown.
CAVUTO: As a -- you were -- you grew up a Catholic, right?
GOV. JOHN KASICH, R-OHIO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes.
You know what? I was an altar boy at a very young age. And then, one day, the altar boy didn’t show up in the church, and they said, get out there and lead the folks as a commentator. And I started doing that when I was in, I don’t know, like the ninth grade.
And -- but here’s a funny story, Neil. The priest was coming down off the altar one Sunday. And there was one thing I wouldn’t do, which was sing. And there was nobody singing. I announced the closing hymn. And he comes down off the altar. And I look at the organ, and I say, stop the organ. Why don’t you people sing? You know, Jesus loves when people sing. Pick up the prayer books, turn to page 42, and sing the closing hymn.
The priest turns around. He walks out. I told the organist to go ahead and play. A few more people sing. I’m walking out. And a lady walks up to me and she said, you know, I love to sing the closing hymn. Could you give us the right page next time?
CAVUTO: So, that was your first brush. But you – you’re now an Anglican.
CAVUTO: What got you away from Catholicism?
KASICH: Well, you know, at the time, my mother was very Bible-driven.
And there was a point in time when the Catholics didn’t really spend a lot of time, you know, in the Bible studying the Scripture. And my mother had a profound influence on me. And when she died, she was Episcopalian. And the people that tended to me when my parents died, they were Episcopalian.
CAVUTO: We should explain. They were killed by a drunk driver.
KASICH: Yes, they were killed by a drunk driver.
KASICH: And then I kind of -- it doesn’t matter.
KASICH: But I love this pope.
And, look, I got to tell you, Neil, we are all flawed, OK? But what this pope’s doing is, he’s throwing open the door.
CAVUTO: But Donald Trump isn’t.
CAVUTO: Donald Trump isn’t. Maybe you are.
KASICH: Well, look, he’s throwing open the doors of the church. And you know what he’s saying? It’s about love, it’s about grace, it’s about forgiveness, and it’s about potential to live a life greater than yourself.
And this guy, I mean, look, I know he’s controversial and everything, but his message is one of the dos about religion, not the don’ts.
CAVUTO: You -- you -- what I remember most about the first debate, the Fox debate, when you were asked a question about gay marriage, you said, it’s the law of the land, you have been to a gay wedding, and you sort of famously shrugged your shoulders and said, you know...
KASICH: Well, I said God offers me unconditional love. I have to offer the same to my family and to my friends.
CAVUTO: Well, that --
CAVUTO: -- got applause from the crowd. And that was a conservative crowd.
And it made me start thinking, well, maybe Governor Kasich has found another way for Republicans to handle this issue, other type issues.
KASICH: Well, look, I have to tell you, Neil, that we in this nation have to begin to live lives greater than ourselves and to be centers of healing and justice.
Now, maybe that’s not a big campaign line. I don’t -- that’s not what motivates me. But if that can connect with some people -- and I’m not a believer in shoving religion down anybody’s throat. I have written a book about my faith. But it is about being -- focusing on the dos, humility, living a life greater than yourself, rather than the don’ts that we hear so much.
CAVUTO: But you had to explain that, when it came to policy, right, you were more generous with Medicaid. You explained it as having a little money now to save a lot of money later.
KASICH: There’s two parts, because I have been really -- this is really a hot issue.
Number one is, there’s an arithmetic side to this. If I can get people out of prison and into the workplace, if they’re drug-addicted, mentally ill, what could be better than that?
And, secondly, I think there’s a moral part of this, because you don’t ignore the widows, the downtrodden, the homeless. Now, people don’t have to do it my way. But what I say to them is, OK, you don’t have to do it with what I did with Medicaid, but what are you going to do?
Because locking mentally ill people, bipolar person is out here and who gets in a tangle with a policeman or shoplifts or something, putting them in prison? So, what I’m saying to you is...
CAVUTO: No, your explanation made perfect sense.
CAVUTO: But here’s where it’s difficult to break through in such a crowded field of debaters. Right? And I know you tried. And certainly in the last debate, you tried.
KASICH: Well, the last debate was...
CAVUTO: Ridiculous. It was too many.
CAVUTO: Now you have Scott Walker out. He was all but saying others should bow out as well to clear the stage.
Was he putting you in that camp? What was he doing?
KASICH: No, I have no idea. But --
CAVUTO: What did you think of it? What happened to him?
KASICH: Well, I think -- I heard that he was kind of running his own campaign. And you -- that never works.
But here’s what I think. I think he’s a great guy. He’s 47 years old, extraordinarily young. I remember, when I tried this when I was 47, I wasn’t ready to do that. But he will have another chance, because, as he gets older, he will -- he will become more and more centered on the things that really matter to him.
And, look, I know him well. And he is a terrific guy. And it just -- you know, he ran out of money.
CAVUTO: But do you think others will follow? The pressure is going to...
KASICH: No, it’s all about money. You run out of money, you’re not going to go into debt.
CAVUTO: But he was saying, obviously, we have to unite around an alternative to the front-runner, who is Donald Trump. Is he right?
KASICH: Well, I -- Neil, the way I look at it is, let me do my thing. It’s like golf. I play my own game. I’m not looking at anybody else. And we’re doing well.
CAVUTO: I’m the same way with miniature golf.
KASICH: Look, we’re -- look, we are rising in New Hampshire, as you know. We’re -- we’re --
CAVUTO: Do you need to win New Hampshire?
KASICH: I need to do very well there.
CAVUTO: What's very well?
KASICH: That's a process question. I’m going to give you my campaign manager’s number.
CAVUTO: Are you a lawyer?
KASICH: I could be one, couldn’t I?
CAVUTO: Yes, you could.
KASICH: Because these are good answers.
CAVUTO: Could I ask you, while I have you here, Governor -- Hillary Clinton has announced that she opposes the construction of the Keystone pipeline.
Does that surprise you?
I think Hillary -- look, I have been very, very kind of gloves-off. And she attacks me all the time. And this is a -- this is a person who lives in a glass house. I have kind of -- I mean, starting with all this goofy stuff she had in her house there that -- her own server and all that stuff.
And oppose the Keystone pipeline, why? You know why? Because she runs a campaign where she appeals to certain interest groups. It’s all segmented out. Where’s the big message?
CAVUTO: Well, maybe you should be flattered that she keeps singling you out.
KASICH: Oh, listen, they -- you know, they have made it clear that I’m the one they most worry about in the general election.
KASICH: You have heard it. It’s been reported on the air here.
Look, she’s a segmented person. And the American people are going to look for somebody with a big vision about how to create jobs and balance budgets and restore defense and all these things, Neil. And so I think she’s absolutely beatable. To come out against that pipeline makes no sense.
CAVUTO: But, now, she obviously did something that Bernie Sanders liked, Governor.
He tweeted out: "I’m glad that Hillary Clinton finally has made a decision on the Keystone pipeline, that I welcome her opposition."
But she took the environmentalist side, not the union side, which wanted all those jobs.
KASICH: Well, you know, she finds herself -- when you don’t know what you’re really for, it’s hard to stand up in the wind.
I mean, one thing, as a reformer, which I have been all of my lifetime, I know what I stand for. There’s a couple things you would bring up to me, Neil, that I wouldn’t -- I haven’t made up my mind, but I know what I think on most things.
And if you don’t know what you think, you twist in the wind. And that’s what you see, back and forth. Who am I going to appeal to?
CAVUTO: Well, that was the rap against Governor Walker, right? Fairly or not, he just wasn’t ready for the bright lights, the klieg lights of the scrutiny about, how do you feel on all these policy --
KASICH: Well, I hope he will be. But some of them are gotcha questions, Neil. Some of them are like, let me try to get you.
CAVUTO: I hear you.
But, Governor, let me ask you. These are two establishment figures, if you think about it, Governor Walker, Governor Perry, with accomplished records, consequential records as governors. They’re out.
KASICH: Yes. Well, but, Neil, at the end of the day...
CAVUTO: Do you ever feel vulnerable that, being in, and experience as a governor doesn’t count?
KASICH: The one time I got to speak with one gulp of air in the last debate in that demolition derby, I pointed to the plane behind me, where I had actually been on the plane with Ronald Reagan.
CAVUTO: I remember that.
KASICH: And you know what I said? At the end of the day, people want the plane to be landed.
I know how to get the reform agenda through, Neil, because I have done it in Washington and in Ohio, throughout my whole lifetime.
CAVUTO: What did you think of the back and forth -- Governor Christie made fun of it -- between Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump?
KASICH: Well, actually, in the beginning of the debate, I had to interrupt and say, if I were at home watching, I would turn it off.
I just think it was chaotic. And, look, it’s a hard job.
CAVUTO: But you all have to talk and sell yourselves. So, what was wrong with what they were doing?
KASICH: Well, you can’t keep interrupting people. In the 180 minutes, I was -- look, I’m not going to complain, but I got limited direct questions.
And when you can’t speak --
CAVUTO: It sounds like you’re whining.
KASICH: It does, so I’m going to knock it off right now. God bless them for doing a debate.
KASICH: And you are going to be in the next one.
CAVUTO: The FBN one is coming up.
KASICH: And I’m going to do everything I can --
CAVUTO: To embarrass me.
KASICH: -- to make sure that you, Neil, are going to ask me a lot of easy questions, not tougher.
KASICH: Now, talk about dropping out. It could be you, because I used to work at this place. And everybody’s on the line. The ratings go down, you never know.
CAVUTO: Wow. Holy cow.
CAVUTO: Well, you have just assured some very nasty questions at this thing.
CAVUTO: All right, John Kasich.
KASICH: Always great.
CAVUTO: And, again, it’s always very good having you, Governor.
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