Ohio Gov. John Kasich told Newsmax TV
in an interview recorded Sunday morning that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is getting desperate trying to say he isn't conservative.
Bush has said he is the only governor running for the GOP presidential nomination who has a conservative record. Asked by "Newsmax Prime" host J.D. Hayworth if that was a fair criticism, Kasich laughed.
"We balanced more budgets than anybody around, cut more taxes than anybody in America," Kasich said, referring to his time in the U.S. House of Representatives where he served alongside Hayworth, who represented Arizona. "We're for school choice. We're running surpluses. We're up 400,000 jobs in Ohio. … I just think it's a desperation by some to try to sidetrack me."
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If elected, Kasich said he would do in Washington, what he did in Congress and is currently doing in Ohio to cut what he has termed "anemic" economic growth.
"Simpler regulations, lower taxes and a fiscal plan to balance the budget," he told Hayworth.
Kasich declined to criticize his opponents in Saturday night's debate, saying he'll let voters make that decision while focusing on his own ground game in New Hampshire.
"We are rock solid here, and we are going to do very well," he said, saying he isn't doing internal polling, but believes he is currently running second to Donald Trump.
He is backing off his earlier criticism of Trump's plan to deport illegal immigrants, saying his position is already well-known at this point.
"What I didn't like in the beginning was the idea that we're going to snatch people out of their homes and deport them, " he said. "All I'm going to do is continue to tell people that we're going to balance budgets, cut taxes, change regulations, fix the border, deal with Social Security, all within the first hundred days.
Kasich has gotten two Hollywood endorsements, from action star Arnold Schwarzenegger and TV talk show host Montel Williams.
Kasich said he has known Schwarzenegger a long time, but Williams' endorsement "came out of the blue."
"I ran into him in Columbus," Kasich said. "He just said he liked what I was about, bringing people together, helping people to have opportunity."
On other issues:
- On illegal immigration: Secure the border and create a guest worker program. For the 11.5 million here already, if they haven't committed a crime since they've been here, give them path to legalization and have them pay a fine and back taxes. "And then once the border is secure, anybody who comes across, you're going back, no excuses."
- On the Second Amendment: "I'm for it."
- On Obamacare: Repeal and replace it with a system that is market-oriented.
- On the Islamic State (ISIS): Destroy them as quickly as possible.
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