Ohio's Republican Gov. John Kasich is walking like a candidate, talking like a candidate, and showing up in all the right places for a candidate, but does Kasich really want the White House in 2016 or is he just flirting?
From the outside, Kasich wouldn't seem to have much of a shot. Real Clear Politics' roundup of polls
puts him at 1.7 percent, miles behind former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and current Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who are tied at 16.6 percent, and bringing up the caboose of a long train of Republican hopefuls.
However, Kasich definitely is making presidential moves, appearing at early primary states like South Carolina and heading for New Hampshire next week, followed by visits to Republican donors in New York and the Detroit Economic Club in April, and telling The New York Times
: "If I decide to do it — I mean, there are time constraints and certain realities — I think I can raise enough money to get out there and get my plane off the aircraft carrier and fly it around."
Kasich is quoted as saying: "There's plenty of good people to hire, if that's what you need to do. And if I don't do it, I like being governor."
Fourteen years ago, USA Today noted, Kasich took aim at the White House, but the George W. Bush money machine ran over him and he dropped out in 1999. USA Today speculates that Kasich may be waiting on Jeb Bush to stumble, to avoid a repeat experience.
In the meantime, he's out and about in early primary states. Matt Moore, chairman of the South Carolina GOP, noting that Kasich is not well known nationally, told the Cincinnati Enquirer
: "What's important in South Carolina is retail politicking. If you're running for president, you've got to eat some rubber chicken."
In South Carolina, Kasich was doing exactly that, fielding questions, shaking hands and telling the Enquirer: "I was a congressman from the 12th district, and now I happen to be the governor of Ohio. If I made a decision, would I be in a position to do enough to compete to some degree? I think the answer to that is 'yes.' "
Washington Post columnist George Will wrote
that Kasich carries a budget-cutter reputation which resounds well with the electorate.
"As governor, he has cut taxes by $3 billion. Death is no longer a taxable event in Ohio, and under his proposed budget, small businesses would be untaxed until their income reaches $2 million," Will wrote in the Washington Post.
"His spirit would add spice and his policies would add substance to the Republican presidential contest," Will noted.
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