2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN:
John Kasich’s Speech on Dropping Out of the Presidential Race
Source: Time, 5-4-16
Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s speech at a press conference in Columbus, Ohio.
KASICH: Thank you.
Well, thank you all for coming. Well, of course, the first thing I have to do is to thank my great wife, Karen, for the fact that she has has —
I mean, she has endured my political career and also of course accentuated it. There’s nobody like Karen. She’s charismatic. She walks into a room and people fall in love with her. You know, when she appeared on Anderson Cooper, John Weaver commented, and Beth Hanson commented, that if we had only run Karen, we would have been a lot more successful. I happen to agree with that.
And you know, Em and Reese showed up, and they’re unbelievable. They’re just so beautiful, and they’ve been so supportive, and they’ve traveled with me around the country as well, and it was always such a delight to have the family on the road. And as their principal had said, don’t let education get in the way of learning, and I think that they learned a great deal. And of course I want to thank the Worthington Christian staff and particularly Buzz Inboden for their patience and willingness to kind of look after our family. It was terrific.
Our staff — nobody has ever done more with less in the history of politics than what this staff has done. I mean, it’s kind of always been this way. It’s been a mystery to me other than to say that I like to think that they think that they’ve been part of something bigger than themselves, and we all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves, and I think we do it with honesty and integrity and as a result I think I know and I sure hope and pray that they feel that this experience that they have had in this — in this campaign has improved and in some way changed their lives for the better. So I’m looking forward to being able to spend more time with them.
The volunteers, just amazing. I don’t know how many, 800 people we had, is it 800 people that went to New Hampshire, people who went to Michigan, people were in South Carolina. I mean, I would show up places and there were like people I know, and I’m like, why are you here? And — but they were — they were believers. And I could never thank them enough, for the long car rides and in the snows of New Hampshire they knocked on doors and in the rain of South Carolina they knocked on doors. They really gave of themselves.
My mother used to always say, never forget the volunteers, Johnny. And they were always ones that have given me the octane, the fuel, to be able to carry out my purpose, and I want to thank the people who gave the money, the financial resources.
We never had all the money we wanted. We were probably outspent by 50 to 1, but we were never ever daunted in that, and we just got up every day and did the best we can, and of course a big thank you goes to Beth Hanson who was the campaign manager and did everything that she could possibly do.
And my dear, dear friend Doug Price who…
Well, we start getting into these names, but as I mentioned, I think Emma said, well, Mr. Doug, didn’t you travel with my daddy for, like, a year and a half?? And Reese looked at him and said, how did you ever do that?
But we had a great time and we’re going to have a lot more fun in the future, and of course the kitchen cabinet, I look at Joanne Davidson (ph) and Bob Clavky (ph) and Tim Trapepi (ph), who the only guy I knew that carried more luggage than an entire circus crew. I mean, it was just unbelievable.
So, and I know I’m leaving some people out, but I want to thank every one of you.
You know, I visited these beautiful, beautiful towns in New Hampshire, and people had really counted me out in New Hampshire, but when we hit our 100th town hall it was — it was remarkable, those beautiful towns. I will never forget the people of New Hampshire.
We moved from New Hampshire, you know, in the far east, all the way to the excitement of California, even being able to sit in traffic in Los Angeles. It was a big part of — and I just love California and what it means to our country and the excitement that it breeds.
Yes, I remember we were in the upper peninsula of Michigan. Never knew where it was, heard about it all my lifetime. I never knew that it was actually located above Wisconsin. And we landed, and I remember everybody was looking at their phones, and I said, would you all please put down your phone, because this is a winter wonderland. This is magical what we’re seeing here, what the good Lord has given us.
To the energy of Miami Beach, Florida, for one of the last debates and, you know, it was interesting, they didn’t think I could make any debate, and I made all 13 of them, in fact, won a couple of them.
As for my beloved Ohio, the people here, I cannot tell you how much I appreciated the opportunity that you’ve given me to be a leader in this state. The people of Ohio have given me the greatest professional experience of my lifetime. I’ve tried to pay them back. And last night in Cleveland a woman, African-American woman, said, you made promises and you kept them, and that’s why I’m here tonight, because I believe in you. That you brought our people together.
Well, it only happened because the people gave me a chance, and everywhere I went in America — everywhere I went in America — I told the people about our beautiful, beloved state and held Ohio high, and I think gave people an impression from one end of America to the other, that Ohio is a special place, and I expect we’re going to have more visits as a result. I marveled at my colleagues who held public office. They knocked on doors, they made phone calls. And I mean, these are people who came from the legislature. I mean, when you’re an executive and you have to deal with the legislature, it’s not always — it’s not always peaches and cream, but yet these legislators, the leaders, the speaker of the House, the president of the Senate, some of my statewide colleagues like the attorney general, just incredible that they would have come out and honored me.
Frankly, I was so humbled by the fact that they — that they came and they — and they love me. They encouraged me. The people of our country changed me. They changed me with the stories of their lives.
We all remember that hug in South Carolina from that young man who had found despair and then found hope somehow, and he just wanted to give me a hug and the country marveled, but, you know, that was one of a series of these things that had happened. A gentleman showed up in New Hampshire, he said, I don’t think I’ve warned my son enough about the dangers of a certain type of cancer and now he has it, and I’m blaming myself, and he put his arm around me and cried, and I said, sir, it’s not your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong. You’re a great father. You’ve come here all the way from New York to tell me about this. Take the load off of your shoulders.
He wrote us a letter saying that that little conversation made a difference with him, and when we went to New York months, standing at the rope line, was that man. He said, I want you to know my son is doing much better, and I wanted to be here to thank you for taking the time with me.
We were in a hall in Michigan, and a woman stood up and showed a picture of her son who had taken his life. We talked about faith, talked about her son and where he was and everybody in that hall embraced that woman and made her feel that she was not alone.
See, stories like this occurred all across our country. And I think it’s frankly because for whatever reason that God gave me the grace to make people feel safe and comfortable, and they came to these town halls which were — they were absolutely magic.
You know, I’ve learned something, folks, everyone here, that we all need to slow down our lives, slow down our lives and listen to those who are around us.
Look, let me be clear, we all know that economic growth is imperative to the success of our country. Economic growth gives people an opportunity to realize many of their hopes and dreams in life, and without a job the family is weaker, the community is weaker, the neighborhood is weaker, the state suffers and our country struggles.
And I can tell you that economic growth can be achieved by our public officials if they just do their job, but they have to ignore polls, they can’t focus on focus groups, and they have to overcome the fear of reelection or criticism. See, the formula is simple and it works. It is common sense regulations that don’t crush our small businesses, because that’s where our kids get their work now increasingly. That’s the fastest area of job growth. We know we need to lower taxes for individuals and we have to cut taxes for our businesses so they start investing in America, and not some country located in Europe, and we need a realistic path to balance the budget, and frankly, nothing more imperative than a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution to force the Congress to do their job.
And we have to keep in mind that we need to shift power, money and influence from government back to the people wherever we live, and we have to begin to run America again from the bottom up.
However, the spirit, the essence of America lies in the hearts and souls of us. You see, some missed this message. It wasn’t sexy. It wasn’t a great soundbite. But I saw a young lady, I saw a young lady in Philadelphia who came to me and said, I’m a producer on a major cable show and I watch your town halls and talk about the spirit of our country and my role, and she said, you’ve affected my life.
You see, I believe we all need to live a life bigger than ourselves. Yes, we need to live a life a little bit bigger than ourselves. We need to reach out to help lift someone else because, you know what, it comes to us naturally if we let it. You see, we are as human beings kind of hard wired to want to give someone else a lift, give someone else an opportunity, and when we reach out it’s so interesting — and when we reach out and help someone else, you see what it does is it opens us, ourselves, to recognizing and receiving the help that we need in our lives. It’s a virtuous circle. When we help someone else to rise it opens us up to receive the things that we need in our lives, regardless of who we are.
To paraphrase an old adage, “I sought the greatness of America in her harbors and in her rivers, and I did not find it. I sought it in her fertile fields and boundless forests and did not find it. I sought her greatness in her halls of Congress and I did not find it.”
You see, after this campaign I see it in us, when we come together, when we lift one another with our eyes on the horizon.
Throughout my campaign I have said the Lord may have another purpose for me, and it set all the pundits a-twitter. Does that mean he is not committed or he is not focused or he’s not energetic? It showed to some degree how little they understand about life. You see, I have always said that the Lord has a purpose for me as he has for everyone, and as I suspend my campaign today, I have renewed faith, deeper faith that the Lord will show me the way forward and fulfill the purpose of my life.
Thank you and God bless.