Kasich Speech Rings 'Different' Tones

It's not unusual for John Kasich to talk about his spirituality. But in his inaugural speech, the governor focused on commonly held personal values rather than specific proposals or political ideas. He called on Ohioans to be empathetic.

"It's a sin not to help someone who needs it, but it is equally a sin to continue to help someone who needs to learn how to help themselves," Kasich said. "And when we manage government efficiently, we can figure this out. It can help those who cannot help themselves, and in some cases, it can be a temporary way station. And do not be bitter at people that need temporary help. Do not be that way."

Kasich took a well-known quote by President John F. Kennedy and modified it to make his point.

"Don't ask what someone else can do for you, but what you can do to help yourself and to help someone else," Kasich said. "That should be our new refrain here in the 21st century."

At times, Kasich talked in broad terms.

"We are Ohioans, we are Americans," he said. "We can't be partisans and we cannot be extreme ideologues if we're going to deal with the problems in America."

David Pepper, the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said he thought Kasich's speech sounded as if the Governor might have presidential aspirations.

"It looked like he had a broader audience than just Ohio in mind in a lot of what he had to say," Pepper said.

Indeed, Kasich has been mentioned by national political pundits as a possible Republican contender for president in 2016. Pepper said he wants Kasich to focus on helping middle-class Ohioans right now.

"A lot of the last term, unfortunately, was spent by the other side attacking Ohio's families' well-being, whether it was Senate Bill 5 or local government cuts," Pepper said. "We'll keep fighting for those things. We'll work together to get that done, but we will stand up for those families if we have to."

Kasich is expected to lay out specific plans and proposals in the coming weeks when he makes his fifth State of the State speech, and when he reveals his budget early next month.

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