- Associated Press - Monday, November 23, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ahead of Donald Trump’s first Ohio campaign stop Monday, supporters of Gov. John Kasich’s presidential bid said that the Ohio Republican has the resume to avoid making the type of inflammatory statements that are tripping up GOP rivals who lack similar government experience.

Kasich’s allies made remarks in a conference call with reporters ahead of Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s first campaign stop in Kasich’s home state.

State Sen. Peggy Lehner said voters seem to like blunt campaign talk but “brash statements on the international stage can be extremely costly.” She joined state Senate President Keith Faber and Congressman Pat Tiberi on the call.

At a news conference at the Greater Columbus Convention Center prior to Trump’s appearance, a trio of state veterans supporting Kasich piled on, criticizing Trump’s foreign policy know-how and his tone.

“The recent attacks in Paris remind us that our country is in need more than ever of a leader who is qualified and experienced to understand and lead our military,” said Tom Moe, who was a prisoner of war with Sen. John McCain in Vietnam.

Trump and Kasich have been feuding since last week, when New Day for America, a super PAC supporting Kasich, aired an ad attacking Trump’s lack of experience and Trump threatened to sue. Kasich was out of state campaigning in Michigan on Monday, visiting a business incubator in Sterling Heights.

A spokeswoman for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the efforts.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, Central Ohio Works Center and the Ohio State University Coalition for Black Lives planned a protest march in conjunction with Trump’s appearance at the Columbus Convention Center downtown. The groups said they were protesting Trump’s “disparaging comments about people of color and women.”

In battleground-state style, a simultaneous anti-abortion protest was also planned, this one by supporters of the so-called Heartbeat Bill which has been introduced - but not passed - for several years. The group Faith2Action said its intent was to draw attention to Kasich’s refusal to support the measure.


Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report.

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