It’s too late to affect his chances in the New Hampshire primary today, but in 1970 Kasich was not only a huge fan of Richard Nixon, he wangled a meeting with Tricky Dick in the White House.
Not a bad bit of political weaseling for an unknown 18-year-old freshman at Ohio State.
Kasich, the last Pittsburgh native left in the presidential race, is a good bet to come in second to Donald Trump today.
Unfortunately for his 2016 White House hopes, young John was quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as saying he thought Nixon “was very dynamic.”
He also defended Nixon, saying that before people criticize the president they should realize that he “knows more about Vietnam than the public does.”
Based on this long-lost Post-Gazette article, the Ohio governor isn’t BS-ing when he says he knows how Washington works.
He wrote a 3-page letter to Nixon and then was invited to the White House to meet man-to-man with the worst president of the 20th century, if you don’t count Wilson, FDR, LBJ and Clinton.
Kasich defected to Ohio after college and made his political career there as a Reagan conservative with a soft heart and a yearning for balanced budgets.
Except that he’s not a Democrat, Kasich remains a typical Pittburgher. He’s not a phony. He’s a regular guy, a rumpled, kind of cranky Everyman, forever a mailman’s son.
Never the smartest guy in the room, but hard-working and straight talking, he still is who he is — not unlike his contemporary, Michael Keaton, who grew up nearby and went to Hollywood but never stopped being a Pittsburgher.
It says in the PG’s article that Kasich is from Stowe Township, but he was really from McKees Rocks, which is really just an extension of working-class Pittsburgh.
I have no idea where he lives now, but Kasich grew up in the Rocks in the humble 1950s brick house pictured below.