Ohio Governor John Kasich, the latest Republican to say he’s interested in running for his party’s nomination for president, attracted a crowd of about 200 people in Des Moines today.
During a forum at the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Kasich distinguished himself from the rest of the field. He criticized the pro-ethanol renewable fuel standard, and called for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
Kasich says the Republican Party is his vehicle, not his master.
“They can't tell me what to do,” Kasich says. “On the issue of immigration we need to get things moving on this and get it going soon.”
Kasich has also parted ways with some Republicans by supporting President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
Kasich ran for his party’s nomination for president in 1999, but dropped out before the Iowa Straw Poll when fundraising lagged. He says voters in Iowa considered him to be too young when he campaigned here 16 years ago.
“And so I never really kind of thought I would be back, but it's possible,” Kasich says. “We'll let you know.”
Calling himself a change agent, Kasich says he’ll decide soon whether to run for president, and he says if he does it will be to win.
Kasich served in Congress , then worked in the private sector before returning to public life.
Kasich touted balancing the federal budget as chair of the House Budget committee in Congress, and reducing unemployment in Ohio. He has been popular as governor in the important battleground state, winning 86 of 88 counties in the last election.