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Press Release - The New York Times: With Calm and Experience, John Kasich Connects in New Hampshire

January 23, 2016

By Thomas Kaplan

The New York Times

WOLFEBORO, N.H. — At a Rotary Club meeting in Laconia, N.H., on Thursday, a woman confided that she feared whether the United States would be safe for her children and grandchildren, citing dangers like the Islamic State.

"First of all, we have to stay very calm about this," Gov. John Kasich of Ohio replied, before laying out his plans in measured terms and wrapping up, "Now, do I sound panicked? I'm not."

In a Republican primary filled with bleak assessments of the country's problems and dire predictions about its future, Mr. Kasich has largely been overshadowed by more fiery competitors. But the conspicuously nonangry candidate is now enjoying a wave of attention in New Hampshire, with some polls showing him gaining strength here, several newspapers in the state endorsing him and, in a sure sign that he is no longer an idle threat, a new attack ad directed at him.

By talking of balancing budgets and working with Democrats, Mr. Kasich is appealing to New Hampshire's large proportion of independent voters, who can participate in either party's primary, and the state's centrist tradition of embracing moderate candidates. Mr. Kasich, who was a congressman and the chairman of the House Budget Committee before he was governor, leans hard on his fiscal experience, displaying a national debt clock at town hall-style meetings.

But what seems to be stirring support is his strikingly different tone; he even described himself as "the prince of light and hope."

"He's not an alarmist," said Sharon Norby, a retired teacher who came to a campaign event Mr. Kasich hosted on Thursday night in the lakeside town of Wolfeboro. An independent, she left the meeting having decided to vote for Mr. Kasich.

"Yeah, there are big problems," she said. "But he's not saying, ‘And therefore we have to carpet bomb these people.' No. You have to be calm. I like that."

Some of the other candidates, she added, were "making people more nervous than they need to be."

Mr. Kasich's presidential ambitions depend on New Hampshire because he remains far behind the front-runners in national polls, Donald J. Trump and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. There are also questions about the reliability of some polls in New Hampshire that have Mr. Kasich as high as second.

He is hoping that a strong showing in the Feb. 9 primary here would give him the kind of national attention that has so far been elusive. Asked whether they had a favorable or unfavorable impression of Mr. Kasich in a Monmouth University poll released on Wednesday, half of Republican voters nationally had no opinion.

When a woman at one of his events on Thursday described the primary season as "particularly entertaining," Mr. Kasich, who has sometimes seemed to be a spectator in his own race, playfully responded, "I may have a little different view."

Mr. Kasich has largely avoided being bloodied in recent weeks by attacks from other candidates, unlike some of his rivals for the so-called establishment vote, such as Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.

But in a sign of the competition to attract these voters, Mr. Kasich is now being targeted with a negative television ad from a "super PAC" supporting former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, which shows him with President Obama and asserts that he is "wrong on New Hampshire issues." (A super PAC supporting Mr. Kasich has its own ad going after Mr. Bush, accusing him of "desperately slinging mud on fellow Republicans.")

Compared with some of his rivals, Mr. Kasich has a markedly different view of how voters are feeling — and what they are looking for, and not looking for, in the country's next president.

"If you turn on the television or if you read, people say that the voters are all angry," he said at the Rotary Club meeting, addressing a small crowd gathered inside a 19th-century textile mill. "I must be going to the wrong meetings because I don't really pick that up."

Instead, Mr. Kasich said, "I find that people want to have answers and they want to be hopeful." People, he added, "don't want to be angry about things."

"We never enjoy our lives when we're mad about things all the time," he said.

Read the full article here.

John Kasich, Press Release - The New York Times: With Calm and Experience, John Kasich Connects in New Hampshire Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/313101

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