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Ohio's Kasich: GOP presidential rivals need 'reality check'

| Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, 7:00 p.m.

WESTERVILLE, Ohio — A day before the next 2016 presidential debate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Tuesday he's fed up and ready to provide a “reality check” to some of the wild rhetoric and unworkable ideas of his Republican presidential rivals.

Speaking to about 200 supporters at a send-off rally in the Columbus suburb of Westerville, Kasich said GOP candidates' pronouncements on such issues as Medicare, Medicaid, immigration and taxes are enough to scare seniors and the children of immigrants who came to the country illegally, and to rack up trillions of dollars in unnecessary debt.

“Let me tell you something: I've about had it with these people,” said Kasich, a two-term governor and former longtime congressman.

The McKees Rocks native was still bristling from front-runner Donald Trump's claim that pressure Trump applied is what kept Ford Motor Co. from moving Ohio jobs to Mexico. Kasich said the assertion is false and Ford's chief executive refuted it Tuesday.

But that's only one of the proposals coming from Republican candidates that Kasich said are “just crazy.”

Among others he named — without naming candidates' names — were abolishing Medicare and Medicaid, ending Social Security, imposing a 10 percent flat income tax and deporting all 10 million to 11 million immigrants who are in the country illegally.

“What has happened to our party? What has happened to the conservative movement?” he asked the crowd, as he made a pitch for them to donate and volunteer.

Kasich's remarks were made as he prepares to join nine other candidates Wednesday at the Republican debate hosted by CNBC in Boulder, Colo. He needs a strong showing. After an initial spike in interest this summer, Kasich has fallen in national polls and was one of the last candidates to qualify for the debate.

As a congressman and governor, he said, “We didn't throw the baby out with the bath water and come up with hysterical and ridiculous programs that won't work. We had to make things work, we had to reform them.”

Kasich said he's “done with being polite and listening to this nonsense,” which had been a big part of his campaign strategy so far.

“It's time we start educating the American people about bad choices,” he said. “We need a leader that has vision, a leader that has courage, a leader that has a backbone and a leader that has faith in a higher power, namely the Lord himself.”

Carole Lougheed, 81, and Jane Kuntz, 79, of Powell, said they are ready to see Kasich get more aggressive at touting his record and calling out the flaws in other candidates' proposals.

“We're right behind him all the way,” Kuntz said.

“He didn't make any missteps today,” Lougheed added. “And if that's his program, if he goes with that, he can sell the nation. Who's not going to want to do what he suggests?”

Protesters against abortion restrictions Kasich has supported shouted outside the event. They brandished pink banners and one dressed as a package of birth control pills.

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