(WJBK) - Ohio Gov. John Kacish brought his "I'm not like the others" campaign to East Lansing, telling the most university crowd of 600 or so that he was not a socialist, was not offering them "free college" and would never go over to the "dark side" and start attacking his opponents. And afterwards he promptly took himself out of consideration for vice president. He gave a terse one-word answer to the question, 'Would you consider the second spot on the ticket?'
"No." Pressed to elaborate, he said he was "going for the podium and the gold" and would not settle for the "bronze or paper."
Kasich gave a folksy talk to the college kids urging them not to take no for an answer in pursuing their goals. He give his own life example of how he marched into the office of the Ohio State university president as a freshmen and discovered that the next day the OSU president was going to Washington to see his friend, President Nixon.
"Can I go along?" the new kid on campus asked, and was told no. "So can I write a letter and have you take it to him?" This time he got a yes.
Long story short, the letter got delivered to the president and two weeks later, he got a correspondence from the White House offering him a chance to visit the president himself. He went and was told as he waited outside the oval office that he would get five minutes with the President. He told the audience, "I had a new suit, new shirt, new tie and new shoes and wanted more than five minutes." He ended up getting twenty.
The moral of the story: Don't let anybody tell you you can't pursue something.
He had a somewhat confronational exchange with one student who self-identified as a Democrat and being gay and he wanted assurances that a President Kasich would do everything he could to protect gay marriage and the LGBT community. Mr. Kasich offered he did not favor discrimination and would do whatever it took to work against that, while at the same time confessing he was for traditional marriage. But he also said he would not favor changing the constitution on that question. "That's enough of that," he ended the conversation when it was clear the student was not buying what the candidate was selling and the student confirmed that attitude after the event.
Mr. Kasich tells MIRS that he has not asked for Gov. Rick Snyder's endorsement but would welcome it even given the difficulties the Michigan governor is having with the Flint water crisis. On that, Mr. Kasich said the feds should look at the water rules and regulations.
He sprinkled in some religion with the audience, suggesting they needed to be like the Good Samaritan and help others adding ,"I believe that the Lord made us all special" and "we all have a longing to be connected to each other."
He said he was not beholden to the Republican Party calling it a "vehicle" but he only took orders from his wife. He also drew applause when he said billionaires should not be using their money to influence election and he noted that greed was one of the reasons Wall Street and the nation's economy came close to falling apart.
The biggest applause line was when he announced he was not a socialist.