BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
GREGORY: As Hamilton County goes, perhaps Ohio goes. And so now let's turn to the republican governor of battleground state Ohio, John Kasich. Governor Kasich, always great to have you on the program.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH): It's good to listen to that big debate going on, David.
GREGORY: And we're going to get you in into it.
GOV. KASICH: Doesn't seem like MEET THE PRESS this morning, wow.
GREGORY: At first-- first, we-- it's nice to start with a-- with a little bit of a chuckle here before we get into the serious issues.
GOV. KASICH: Yeah.
GREGORY: This was the Cleveland plain dealer on Thursday, Jeff Darcy. And here's his cartoon that I thought was-- was so telling, if the Martian landing saying take me to your leaders and the guy says there's somewhere in Ohio. Take I-71 north, etc. etc. So, as you well know, everybody is in Ohio, I want to ask you the direct question, governor. You've got seven percent unemployment. It's better than the national average. Who deserves credit for that? Is it the president, is it you as the Republican governor or neither one of you?
GOV. KASICH: Well, you know, David, it's probably the job creators. Look, we are up a hundred and twelve thousand jobs. The last four years we were down four hundred thousand jobs and how did we get there? We made Ohio safe for business expansion and for business attraction. I mean, we balanced our budget. We're running a half a billion dollars in the rainy day fund. We've reduced taxes. And our regulators are people who use common sense. So, when you do all of that in a state that's within 600 miles, 60 percent of the country and great diversity among its people, you know, we've just really kind of cleared the way for people to feel confident that they can invest here. You know, I'm interested in the auto debate because, you know, of the hundred and twelve thousand jobs that were created, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and you know in America today they are kind of viewed as the Vatican. You know, you can't question them. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that we're up a total of four hundred jobs-- auto jobs when you-- when you count the companies and the suppliers. So, of the four hundred jobs up that are up, four hundred is great and we are thrilled we have a strong auto industry. And we want it to even be stronger, but it doesn't account for the growth of one hundred and twelve thousand jobs in our state.
GREGORY: Well, but you've got one out of eight jobs in your state affiliated with the auto industry. Do you think if the president had not pursued his bailout plan that the state would be in the same economic condition today?
GOV. KASICH: Well, I'm glad the auto industry is strong, David. And I don't know anybody who didn't think the auto industry needed to be saved. I mean, I will tell you personally there's no way I would support anybody that didn't support the auto industry. But let me tell you in the last quarter, the most significant area of growth in Ohio has been-- in the last quarter investment technology, IT. We have grown financial services. We have grown healthcare. Now look, I mean, there's been significant investment by auto companies in Ohio, but the domestic companies are reducing their footprint. And I wish we could get more here. In fact, I just met with the Delphi team trying to see how we can get more business there. But, I mean, let's be fair about this. The fact is, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has said when you take into the-- into account the companies in the suppliers, you're up about four hundred jobs. We did not grow Ohio's economy just by relying on one industry or just one sector. We have done it by diversifying Ohio and making it safe for people to come in here. And I got to tell you, I called CEOs in other states and they are interested in what we are doing here because there're no surprises coming. And when there are no surprises then investors and business people, job creators say, well maybe it's safe to go there. And, you know, the proof is in the pudding.
GREGORY: Let me ask you about unemployment because as you know whoever is responsible for the success in Ohio, Governor Romney doesn't seem very impressed. This is what he said speaking earlier this month to the Columbus Dispatch Review Board-- Editorial Board. "I don't think 7.2 percent unemployment is something to write home about celebrate." That was before it was 7.0. "And if you consider the two hundred plus people who've dropped out of the workforce in Ohio, the real number is closer to 10%. I don't find people here thinking that happy days are here again." What about unemployment nationally? What should we expect under a President Romney, if it comes to that?
GOV. KASICH: Well look. First of all, in terms of the unemployment numbers and who is in and who is out, I mean, I'm always concerned about what those numbers really mean. But what I do know is over the last four years, we'd lost four hundred thousand jobs. And since-- since January of "11, we are up a hundred and twelve thousand jobs. And, by the way, we're outperforming every other state in the Midwest. And if the auto bailout is significant, why is it that we're so significantly outperforming Michigan and why it is that Ohio is number one in the Midwest and number four in the country? In terms of Romney, look, what I want out of a president is I want stability. Look, small businesses get paralyzed if they don't know what the regulations are, if they don't know what the taxes are going to be, if they don't know what they are going to do with debt and if they don't know what these people in Washington are going to do. They sit on the sidelines. I want certainty. I don't-- look, I think there're ways to get an agreement in Washington. But it doesn't have to mean higher rates. It can mean lower rates and eliminating loopholes.
GREGORY: But Governor (cross talk) what unemployment rates nationally do you expect of President Romney?
GOV. KASICH: What we'll get out of him, we'll get a movement towards a balanced budget. We will get a stabilization of taxes and for some people a tax cut. And we will have regulators that will use common sense and not overdo it. We have strong regulations here on oil and gas, the tough-- on fracking, the toughest in the country. But we don't overdo it. And when people understand certainty, they invest, David. Look, this is not theory. I was in business for ten years. We got a lot of people around debating. They'd never been in business in their entire lifetime. And they don't understand it. I do understand it and the fact is when they are confident of the future, they can then invest. And there's a lot of money sitting on the sidelines. If Romney wins, I believe we're going to see a significantly improved economy. That's why I'm for him. I want Ohio to do a lot better than we currently are.
GREGORY: And so let me ask you this. You know one of the big attack lines from the president is that Romney is not one of us. That's what's running in his ad. That's about supporting autoworkers in your state. Separately, here was the Cleveland playing dealers editorial last Sunday and this is what it said. The question is, which Romney are voters going to get? Which Romney would they elect? It asks, the rather liberal one who ran for the Senate in "94? The pragmatic governor? The sharply conservative candidate of this year's GOP primaries? The reborn moderate of recent weeks? All politicians change positions over time. But Romney's frequent changes raise question about his core principles and make his lack of policy details all the more troubling. They make you wonder if he would stand up to the more extreme elements in his own party, especially to House Republicans who undercut Iowan-- Ohioan John Boehner's attempts to negotiate a deficit and debt deal. How do you respond to that governor?
GOV. KASICH: Look at his record. I mean, the guy created jobs. He's a job creator. We need that. Jobs are the greatest moral issue in America today when people are working, families are stronger and children are better off, number one. Number two, he was governor of Massachusetts. They went from deficits to surpluses from job loss to job creation. And then you look at the Olympics where he was a pure leader. You look at his history. And it tells you who the guy is. He's pragmatic, no question about it. But he's also tough, and he is firm and he understands job creation. In terms of people not getting him, the first debate David, I have never seen a debate have this much impact. But the first debate gave people a chance to see, well, you know, they thought, well Romney is smart, he knows all this and that, but he doesn't get me. In that first debate, I believe that he was able to connect with people. And they said you know, maybe he does get me. And-- and that was an important part of why there's such momentum in the state of Ohio right now. Look, it's very close, but I believe right now we are currently ahead. Internal show is currently ahead. I honestly think that-- that Romney is going to carry Ohio. And, you know, I haven't been saying this. I now believe it's going to happen.
GREGORY: Governor, I want to-- just about 15 seconds left, a very technical question. Do you think we are going to know the outcome of Ohio on election night? As you know provisional ballots could become an issue that take some additional time to be counted. What do you say?
GOV. KASICH: It's going to be really close, David. The only thing I could say is I hope you all keep talking about Ohio and all those folks out there that want to create jobs, come see me. I'm anxious to talk to you.
GREGORY: Do you think we'll know the winner of Ohio on election night?
GOV. KASICH: Yeah, I mean, I-- I don't know. It's going to be very close. But yes, I do think that we will know before the end of the night. Because I-- I tell you something, the independent voters are trending heavily towards Mitt Romney. And with those numbers like that, it-- it pretty well assures me we are going to know. I'm not sure the election is going to be as close as what everybody is talking about today. And I'm not saying that to do spin. I'm telling that because that's what I really do believe.
GREGORY: All right Governor Kasich, always good to have you on. Thank you very much.
GOV. KASICH: Always good to be with you, David, thank you.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT