Kasich in spotlight during return to New Hampshire

By Darrel Rowland - The Columbus Dispatch (TNS)

CONCORD, N.H. — As we forecasted last week, Gov. John Kasich’s return to New Hampshire brought a media deluge.

The New York Times was there to chronicle Kasich’s visit in a 1,500-plus word spread, with photos, on Page 1, noting that he “has succeeded, at least, in installing himself permanently in the grand drama of the (President Donald) Trump era.”

CSPAN covered the speech live.

CNN got special access: an interview with Dana Bash in the classic Red Arrow Diner in Manchester, where seats are labeled for famous people who sat in them during past visits, admission to a gathering of Kasich supporters in former attorney general Tom Rath’s office, and a ride-along between events, during which Kasich mused that his 2016 experience in the Granite State taught him “about the poetry of people.”

An especially astute observation from the cable TV piece, written in part by CNN’s 2016 Kasich embed Cassie Spodek: “It’s not that he doesn’t want to run for president. It’s just not clear what path he could or would take to do that in 2020.”

His “fireside chat” was a top story the next day in the state capital’s newspaper, the Concord Monitor, which also had an editorial — “Kasich is a thoughtful, intelligent, kinetic person who speaks with a volatile intensity” — and a column about how the Ohio governor is “ready to get back in the game.”

New Hampshire’s biggest TV station, WMUR, featured this takeaway quote from a supporter: “His candidacy (in 2016) wasn’t like a weekend fling that was forgotten. People are comfortable with him and (he) fits in here.”

A Fox affiliate landed an interview in which Kasich warned of bad tidings for the GOP in this year’s mid-term elections: “There’s going to be a wave coming here. It’s going to be a blue wave because voters are motivated.”

A Boston NBC affiliate, one of several other TV outlets covering Kasich, noted that he presented a sharp contrast to Trump’s policies.

NPR talked to a voter happy that Kasich already was visiting the nation’s first primary battleground: “If you don’t concern yourself too early, it could become too late really quick.”

The state’s biggest newspaper, the Union Leader, pointed out that former New Hampshire GOP Chair Jennifer Horn was among Republican leaders at Kasich’s talk.

Jessie Balmert of The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote from New Hampshire that “if Trump doesn’t run again, or if the president is plagued by scandal, or if Republicans clamor for an alternative, Kasich will be there, ready and waiting.” But in a separate piece, Balmert shares how one voter told her, “That man doesn’t have a shot.”

Kasich talked to his old buddy Henry Gomez of Buzzfeed, who used to work for cleveland.com, for a piece entitled “John Kasich Wants To Be The Candidate Of Millennials.” Gomez’s lead: “John Kasich still wants to be president. And he thinks he’s finally found an audience he can convert to his unusual brand of Republicanism.”

The Conservative Review was less than enthralled by Ohio’s governor, writing “Kasich’s big 2020 strategy: Move left, pretend to be hip, attack Trump — Gag.” Riffing off of Gomez’s piece, the article began: “John Kasich still wants to be president, and the failed 2016 candidate now thinks gun control, amnesty, his relationship with the ‘elites’ and millennial voters can take him to the White House. In other words, he’s delusional.”

A National Review columnist weighed in: “The two candidates typically bandied about as challengers to Trump — John Kasich and Jeff Flake — are not serious, and promoting them is a primal scream, not a plan.”


By Darrel Rowland

The Columbus Dispatch (TNS)

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