- The Washington Times - Monday, February 8, 2016

Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Monday that voters shouldn’t read his sunny disposition as an indication he would hesitate to hit back at his opponents when necessary.

“Here’s what it gets down to in politics - It’s the head and the heart,” Mr. Kasich said at a town hall event in New Hampshire. “It’s the vision thing. If you have the vision and you can get people to understand what the vision is, and you can communicate to them that you understand their problems, that’s how you win elections. It’s not all about dirt and negative campaigning.”

“I’m a nice guy, but I’m going to tell you something: you don’t want to mess with me,” he said. “You don’t mess with me. I’m a likable guy and I’m a positive guy, but don’t try to get in my face.”

Mr. Kasich had been asked how he would hit back at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, by an audience member who said Mr. Kasich seemed to be a “really nice guy.”

He said he would talk about things like Mrs. Clinton’s email server and her Libya policy.

“I’ll take the battle there, but there’s something else we’re going to do: we’re going to unite people again,” he said, predicting he would win younger voters.

“I can tell you that we’re going to win this election,” he said. “My challenge is the primary.”

Mr. Kasich is part of a crowded group of candidates jockeying for second place in New Hampshire behind billionaire businessman Donald Trump ahead of Tuesday’s GOP presidential primary.

He said he’s a conservative, but he knows Republicans and Democrats have to work together.

He said he ran for Congress in 1982 on the “Reagan agenda” when others were running away from the former president. He also said during his successful re-election campaign in 2014, he won 86 of 88 counties, received 26 percent of the African-American vote, 60 percent of the female vote, and support from 51 percent of union households.

“I can get the Reagan coalition back together - the blue-collar Democrats who voted for Reagan,” he said. “That’s where I grew up.”

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