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HOOKSETT, N.H. (CBSMiami) – CBS4 News caught up to Ohio Gov. John Kasich last month at a town hall meeting in Hooksett, New Hampshire, prior to his strong second place finish Tuesday in the nation’s first primary.
“Views on Cuba?” CBS4’s Jim DeFede asked Kasich. “Would you, when you became President, break diplomatic relations with Cuba?”
“Well let’s see where we are when I come [into office] and what the administration has done,” he said. “I think [the Obama Administration] made a big mistake because I think Cuba needed to do something [before diplomatic relations was restored last year]. Why are we always reaching out? Why are we always moving? My sense is they haven’t made any compromises; they keep demanding things so I don’t understand what the administration is doing.”
Kasich spent more time in New Hampshire than any other candidate holding 106 town hall meetings.
“Republicans need to be a party and conservatives need to be a philosophy of being for big ideas and new ideas and not just being against stuff,” Kasich told the group in Hooksett. “We’re too comfortable being against stuff, we have to be for stuff.”
Kasich has remained upbeat on the campaign trail, refusing to attack his Republican opponents or vilify the Democrats. He even said Republicans and Democrats will need to work together when this election is done.
“You cannot demonize people in another party, you don’t have to compromise your principals,” he said, “but you bring them in and you find the ones that are willing to put the country first and party or philosophy second.”
DeFede asked Kasich what he thought was driving voters this year.
“People think the system doesn’t work,” he said. “I think they think they are being ripped off and the rich and the powerful are the ones who get to decide everything. I think they are very upset about it. Their wages are not going up; they’re worried that their job is going to go away. So they are very upset about it and they are looking for somebody who’s going to shake the system up.”
For now the great disruptor in Republican politics is Donald Trump, a candidate who has given an angry voice to that fear and anxiety. Kasich however says this election has to be about more than just anger.
“I think sometimes when we play a game of checkers or chess we get frustrated and we think about knocking all the pieces off the board.” He said. “If we do that the game’s over and so then we realize no matter how angry we get at our brother for beating us for the 50th time in a row, it’s better to leave the pieces on the board and let’s come to our senses. And I think that’s where we are going to be in this country. What are they going to do. They are going to go down there and yell and scream, they’ll get nothing done. So we need to solve these problems and they’ve got to find somebody that’s a problem solver.”
One of those problems the next president will have to address is Social Security.
“We have to fix it,” he said. “We have to fix it and it’s probably going to have to take us in a position where the upper income social security recipients are going to have to get much less and the other people who do not have that kind of income are going to be able to keep their benefits. There is no other way I can see to fix this.”