When presidential contenders hold small town hall meetings, one of the things they want most is to make an emotional connection with voters. At a John Kasich rally Thursday, things got about as emotional as they ever do on the campaign trail.
A voter wearing a "Kasich For President" sticker got the last question at the Ohio governor's rally in Clemson, S.C., on Thursday. He told Kasich how a man he considered a second father died, how his parents got divorced and how he spent much of the last year in a deep depression. It was hard for the audience of about 150 – and Kasich – not to tear up. Then he asked Kasich for one of his patented campaign hugs, a gesture that has become one of Kasich's signatures at small events.
Reporters have spotted Kasich hugs at a hotel in Manchester, N.H., and in a Las Vegas casino after the Dec. 15 GOP debate, among other places. The hugs are a physical manifestation of the "compassion" Kasich talks about in his stump speech, and provided the kind of ending to a town hall event that most candidates only dream about – a real connection with a voter, and in front of the media.
Kasich quickly took to social media to share video of the moment.
This is why. -Johnhttps://t.co/ILgxmXJUaf
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) February 18, 2016
He isn't the first candidate to hug supporters. Hillary Clinton turned a touching moment at a Nevada rally into a campaign ad.
Kasich's hugs, and his stump speech, attempt to set him apart from the divisive rhetoric that has pervaded the GOP primary field so far. While he's not expected to do well in South Carolina on Saturday, a string of Midwestern primaries are coming up soon, and Kasich will hope that his open display of Midwestern friendliness gets him a few votes.