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The 2016 campaign’s new straight shooter: John Kasich

Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks to an audience at a restaurant in Nashua, N.H. Kasich, who is pondering a 2016 presidential run, is quite quotable. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
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John Kasich is quickly becoming the most quotable candidate in the 2016 field.

The two-term Ohio governor told the Washington Post's Dan Balz and Robert Costa that he'll consider jumping into the race at the end of this month (and allies think he'll run). This would be his second time running for president; he entered the 2000 GOP primary, then quickly bowed out because his campaign didn't go anywhere.

“I didn’t get scared out, I got destroyed out,” he told Balz recently. “I had no money and no oxygen."

See what we mean? Balz, who has interviewed Kasich several times in recent years, describes his conversation style this way:

Kasich spews out current initiatives and ideas for new ones at a rapid pace, often shifting from one thought to another mid-sentence.

Here are more of Kasich's straight-shooter quotes. (For the record, The Fix urges all politicians to be this blunt.)

On whether he's going to gain traction this time around:

"Either I got it, or I don't." -- At a May 1, 2015 Christian Science Monitor breakfast

On the all-important first nominating state of Iowa:

“I haven’t been to Iowa." -- Washington Post interview, May 27, 2015

Actually, Kasich has a lot to say on Iowa -- all of it entertaining.

On whether he'd run for 2016, in a September 2014 editorial board meeting with Ohio's Youngstown Vindicator:

"Honestly, I just don’t see it. I tried it once. You come with me. You can go with me out to Iowa. You wouldn’t believe it. You’d never go to Iowa again."

Oops. More on Iowa, in an October 2014 interview with Dan Balz:

"I blew this one,” he said of the Vindicator comment. “I like the people of Iowa. ... I never liked the system they had where you had to pay to park your RV in a parking lot. I wasn’t here to insult the people of Iowa.

(This is a reference to the Iowa straw poll, where prime real estate will cost your campaign.)

That wasn't the only time Kasich's blunt rhetoric has gotten him into trouble. In 2011, he had to apologize to a Columbus traffic cop who gave him a ticket. Kasich called him "an idiot."

And earlier this year Kentucky lawmakers demanded an apology from Kasich when he held a joint press conference with Democratic Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and bashed state lawmakers there for not wanting to toll a cross-border bridge between the two states.

Kasich, as quoted inthe Cincinnati Business Courier:

"At the end of the day, he (Beshear) can't force a group of legislators who want to put their heads in the sand to go forward and do something that needs to be done. He needs help from all of you," Kasich told business leaders in the room.
From the podium, Kasich randomly shouted out to "Tommy" a couple of times – North American Properties president Tom Williams.

Kasich is a bit of an odd duck in the Republican Party. As governor of Ohio, he expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and promoted federal social programs to help low-income residents. He also expressed resignation after voters rebuked his move to rein in the collective bargaining rights of unions.

In an interview with Robert Costa in February, Kasich acknowledged his uniqueness:

“It's pretty hard to peg me."

More on the issues. Kasich is officially for marriage "between a man and a woman," but said he'll uphold as president whatever the Supreme Court decides.

"I have a number of friends who are gay. I like them," he said at the May 1 Christian Science Monitor breakfast.

At the same breakfast, Kasich on the question of the moment for GOP candidates of -- whether he'd attend a friend's or relative's gay wedding:

"I don't usually go to weddings of people that I don't know, okay? I don't go to 'em. But if somebody that I like is getting married in the traditional sense or in the non-traditional sense, I'm not hung up about it. I'll be celebrating with them."

More on how his views don't quite align with Republican Party:

"I’ve always said the party is my vehicle and not my master,” he told Balz and Costa this May.

In the same interview, Kasich said if he runs, it won't be away from his record:

" If people are bored by it, well, they’ll have to put up with it while I give them the résumé. They need to know.”

But in November 2011, when Ohio voters overwhelmingly voted to repeal a law he supported to limit collective bargaining rights, Kasich was humble about his loss:

"If you don’t win and the people speak ...  you have to pay attention to what they’re saying."

Kasich also thinks young people don't focus enough on politics. (He's probably right.)

“Instead of young people talking about Justin Bieber or how bad the Grammys were, maybe we could get people talking about Washington, Madison and Monroe, and have a renewal of American history," he told Costa  in February.

Kasich launches some pretty blunt attacks at his  GOP competitors. He's focused his criticism so far on the frontrunner, Jeb Bush, who most analysts see him competing against for establishment-minded voters.

On Bush's nonprofit and super PAC, "Right to Rise":

"I don’t know anything about [Bush’s theme]. I really don’t. I’ve never listened to him. What’s “Right to Rise”? Getting up in the morning?” he said in May.

And as to why he's campaigning in New Hampshire this week:

Kasich is also plain-spoken when it comes to foreign policy. The former congressman probably is best described as a hawk who has called for sending troops to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Kasich, on the Hugh Hewitt radio show in April, on peace in the Middle East:

"People who think that there is a solution are naïve."

On Obama's much-maligned nuclear deal with Iran, at the Christian Science Monitor breakfast:

Obama is "so in love" with the idea. It's like, Kasich said, "You're so hungry to get that car you'll pay anything for it."

Kasich doesn't take himself too seriously, though. His philosophy on life on the Hugh Hewitt show:

"You know what? Everybody needs to take a deep breath and have a little fun once in a while, huh?"

We couldn't agree more, Mr. Kasich.