John Kasich Opens Up About Life, Faith and Friendship in New Book

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 30, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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LAURA INGRAHAM, GUEST HOST: In the second "Personal Story" segment tonight: A familiar "Factor" face is now running for governor in Ohio. Former Ohio Congressman John Kasich, who used to fill in for Bill on this program, is now in a heated race against Democrat incumbent Ted Strickland. John also has a book just written, just out called "Every Other Monday: 20 Years of Life, Lunch, Faith and Friendship," which was released to stores yesterday. And it explores how he found his faith after the death of his parents in a car accident. Bill spoke with John earlier this week.


BILL O'REILLY: So here's Kasich, and his book is going to debut at No. 7 on The New York Times list, which means there's a lot of interest in it. "Every Other Monday" refers to a Bible study group you have with some of your friends. But I'm more interested in the automobile accident that killed your parents and what effect that had on you. Why don't you tell me about that?

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KASICH: Well, Bill, in 1987, they were killed by a drunk driver. I got a call, you know, very late at night saying, "Your father is dead. Your mother is going to die." And I got there in the morning before my mother had died. She never regained consciousness. And my whole world had gone black, because as a young kid, I was sort of worried that my parents -- something terrible would happen to them in a car accident. And the world was black, and a minister came, and he saw me, and he said, "Look, you have a window of opportunity to go through a very tough time and try to figure things out."

So I then started pursuit to figure out whether I thought God even existed and if he did, well, then, could I be his friend and would he be my friend? And then I got some buddies of mine, not holy rollers, to sit down and start thinking about this also and examining the most important things we think about in life, like ambition and why can't we give more and how do -- why do bad things happen to good people. It's been very interesting.

O'REILLY: So you were an agnostic before your parents were killed in that drunk-driving accident. You didn't think about it much, apathetic? How would you describe yourself?

KASICH: Well, Bill, as a kid, you know, I spent a lot of time around the church, and at times I had good feelings but, you know, I went to college and I drifted away, and it didn't mean much to me. I kind of looked at God, you know, in any relationship, you kind of like had a rabbit's foot in my pocket. So what I decided is if this stuff is real, then I've got to try to take it inside. And, you know, it's a constant effort. I still at times have doubts. I still at times struggle, but bottom line is I've concluded he is there, and I've concluded he's good.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, you meet every other Monday with the guys. Is this kind of a support group? Would you call it that?

KASICH: Bill, we're first responders in each other's lives. The other part of it is just guys trying to make their way through life because, you know, we spend so much time studying the sports section and working on our jobs. How many of us really spend time to think about the biggest issues in life that we think about when we come to the end of our life? And -- and that's what we do. And it's really had a profound effect on me and my buddies in this group.

O'REILLY: Can you give me specific -- I mean, how has it helped you?

KASICH: Well, I've changed many careers in my life. Look, there's been a lot of things that have happened. But overall, I've seen a growing peace about what goes on now and what I think will happen in the future.

O'REILLY: Do you -- do you surrender yourself to a higher power in the sense that you say -- as Sarah Palin does -- and she says this in her book, and she says it in her lectures that, well, it's God's will, so things happen because of God's will, and I'll surrender myself, rather than you trying to make it happen yourself. You say, well, it's God's will. You're running for governor now of a very important state. You've got to make that happen. And how much do you depend on the deity and how much do you depend on yourself?

KASICH: No, I mean, running for office, I'm dependent on myself. And I mean, you know, I don't know what God wants out of this. I think what God wants out of this is for me to be a better man. I have no clue as to whether he thinks it's important if I win or not. All I know is that he gave me a bunch of skills. I recognize it. I know I can't bury it. And then I got to go and do everything I can to promote those skills, Bill. Where I fall short is when I just keep doing, doing, doing. At some point, you know, you've got to be at peace with the fact that you did everything you can do. I'm not a believer in fate. I do think that bad things happen to good people because sometimes people do very stupid things, and we live in a world where, you know, we can -- it can affect us, these stupid things that other people do. But one question I would have for him at times is why do you let that happen?

O'REILLY: All right, John Kasich. The book is "Every Other Monday." Thanks for coming on, John. Good to see you, man.

KASICH: Thanks, Bill. Thank you very much.


INGRAHAM: John's book is in stores now.

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