While other potential GOP presidential candidates travel to places like Iowa and New Hampshire, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, now beginning his second term, traveled to six Western states this week to lobby for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
Kasich visited Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming to encourage state legislators to approve a resolution calling for a balanced budget amendment.
He returns to Ohio on Friday.
The trip is a follow up to Kasich's visit to Arizona last month to mobilize support for a constitutional convention to take up the idea, Cleveland.com
Thus far, 24 of the 34 states necessary for Congress to a call convention to take up a constitutional amendment have done so, according to Balanced Budget Forever
, a group based Columbus, Ohio, that is funding the governor's efforts.
After that, 38 states would have to ratify such an amendment for it to become part of the Constitution.
Kasich, 62, expressed confidence that the amendment could pass and believes "he's the ideal advocate," Bloomberg
reported. "He voted on budgets as a 26-year-old Ohio legislator, was a nine-term congressman and U.S. House of Representatives budget committee chairman the last time the national budget was balanced in 1997."
Kasich served 18 years in Congress, retiring in 2001. The governor, who won re-election by more than 30 percentage points in November, takes pride in the Buckeye State's economic turnaround during his tenure.
During his first term, Kasich supported an expansion of Medicaid over the opposition of many conservatives in the Republican-controlled legislature.
He's unapologetic about advocating such "compassionate conservatism" approaches to government.
Earlier this week, Kasich responded to conservative critics, telling Fox News' Bret Baier: "Did you feed the hungry? Did you clothe the naked? If we're doing things like that, to me, that is conservatism."
He added that, "You know what? I have a right to define conservatism as much as somebody siting up in Washington."
When Baier asked how the party should run against Hillary Clinton
, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, Kasich sounded remarkably conciliatory, Cleveland.com reported.
"I don't think you have to run against her; I think you run for what you're for," said Kasich, who was in Congress when the former secretary of state was first lady. "So with Hillary, you know, I know her, I like her, I've worked with her."
"I like Hillary," he said later. "But look, the bottom line is you need to tell people what you are for."
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