John Kasich appears on American Forum

Republican presidential candidate visits Miller Center, discusses controversial comment

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Kasich said he is not a “scripted candidate.”

Paul Burke | Cavalier Daily

Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich made an appearance at the Miller Center Monday for a taping of American Forum.

The Miller Center is a nonpartisan organization with a focus on the presidency and the Executive Branch. Each week, the center hosts a different guest to appear on American Forum, a television program aired on PBS stations around the country

Kasich is the second 2016 presidential candidate to appear on the program. Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) appeared on American Forum in September.

Doug Blackmon, executive producer of American Forum, said all of the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates have been invited to appear on the show.

The program provides a space for constructive and civil discussion, Blackmon said.

"The Miller Center was started almost 50 years ago expressly to encourage open civil discourse," Blackmon said. "We completely endorse civil non-partisan discourse, but we never endorse any people or parties."

Blackmon said the program is unique because unlike television shows like “Meet the Press” or “Face the Nation,” American Forum has a studio audience.

“When we do an event like this now, it’s a very high production value television taping, but we want to bring the public into it,” Blackmon said.

Kasich's visit to the Miller Center began with a press conference where he addressed controversy about a comment he made earlier in the day in which he referred to “many women who left their kitchens to go out and to go door-to-door and to put yard signs up for me” while speaking at a campaign event in Fairfax County.

Kasich said many of his first campaign events in Ohio were in homes.

"When I was a new candidate I did what I do now, which is to have a lot of town hall meetings but they weren’t in town halls,” Kasich said. “They were in kitchens and they were in living rooms and a big chunk of the people that helped me in my early days and throughout my career even up to now have been women.”

Kasich said he is not a “scripted candidate.”

"Everybody’s just got to relax,” Kasich said. “I don’t use teleprompters, I don’t run around with all these notes like lots of people do. I’m real and maybe sometimes I might say something that isn’t as artfully said as it should be.”

After the press conference Kasich addressed the crowd of students and community members before moving inside the center for the taping with Blackmon.

Kasich spoke about the minimal media coverage he has received until recently.

"For the first time in this campaign I think I'm finally being heard," Kasich said. "For a very long time, no one heard me, no one knew my name, I think they thought my name was ‘Governor of Ohio’ because it was easier.”

Kasich, who won second place in the New Hampshire primary Feb. 10, said people are going to hear him talk about substantive issues.

“I’ve been able now to get to a point where people are going to hear a message of economic growth but also a message that we don’t want to leave anybody behind,” Kasich said.

With the new attention he is getting, the Kasich campaign hopes he will do well in upcoming primaries, Kasich's Communication Director Chris Schrimpf said.

"Most people didn’t know who he was until New Hampshire, so what we’ve seen is his support growing rapidly," Schrimpf said. "As people are getting to know him his support is continuing to grow.”

Schrimpf said there is also hope that with Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) out of the running following the suspension of his campaign, some of his supporters will come out for Kasich.

"When we started this race … we kind of viewed it as there were a couple different brackets in this race. There’s the senators, and the outsiders, and the governors,” Schrimpf said. “We’ve won the governors’ bracket now, so a lot of those people will naturally come to us."

Schrimpf said Kasich’s executive experience will help him in the race.

"The senators ... haven’t done anything,” Schrimpf said. “They haven’t accomplished anything in Washington, they certainly haven’t run a state let alone the federal government. So there’s a lot of people who are looking for that."

Kasich’s appearance on American Forum will air nationally March 2.

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