Ohio Gov. John Kasich says the presidential election will be won or lost on which candidate voters believe can put the most money back in their wallets rather than concerns about the nation’s growing debt.
“This election is going to be won by that person that can convince the public that their wallet is going to be strong — not weak — that people are going to be working — not unemployed — that your kid can get a job, that your spouse can get a job,” Kasich told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto Wednesday, in an apparent suggestion that GOP nominees Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan focus their campaign more on job creation than spending and Medicare issues.
Kasich, the former Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee who spoke at the Republican National Convention Tuesday night, said politicians tend to look at the nation’s debt as if it’s a coming storm.
“It is important to talk to people about this national debt and the growing deficit, but, frankly, that's not how they are going to vote,” he said. “They know it is a problem, but they want to know: ‘Will I get a job,’ because debt is a little bit ethereal to them.
“It’s not something they can grab on to,” Kasich said. “They know it’s not good for their kids, and there will be a crisis — and they know it, and they will respond to it. But it will take something that is going to jar people to say we have to get that done.
“The election is not being run on that now, Neil,” he added. “The election is being run on who can create jobs in America best.”
The Ohio governor acknowledged the importance, however, of focusing attention on spending issues, saying voters do have “the sense that they are connected, the debt to jobs.”
But he suggested that job creation has to be front and center in the campaign because “the average Joe . . . is saying, ‘I want to keep my job, and I want to get a better job, and I want my kid to get to work, and who will improve on that?’”
Asked whether he believes Romney — who has been painted by the Obama campaign as out of touch with most Americans — has what it takes to reach and excite voters, Kasich described him as a man of character with strong leadership abilities that don’t always shine through because of his “sunny outlook” on life.
“Beneath that, there is a great depth and great passion . . . and I really think he is terrific,” Kasich said, noting that he has been tested as a candidate before and most recently “took a pounding” from fellow Republicans in the primary campaign.
“And he is getting pounded again [by negative campaign ads] and he hasn’t blinked,” Kasich added. “It’s pretty impressive. It’s pretty impressive.”
But he said Romney would have to use the debates with President Barack Obama “to really turn it up” and convince Americans that he has the ability “to really restore prosperity” and “make this country work again.”
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