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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Townhall Meeting with John Kasich and Family. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired April 11, 2016 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: And with the primary fast approaching, New York voters have questions for all three Republican candidates. Tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday night, they join us in a first for this election cycle. So will their families. We hope it gives you, the voters, a chance to see a different side of each candidate, starting with John Kasich.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Tonight, he's been pounding the pavement.
J. KASICH: I feel like I'm getting younger every minute that I'm in New York.
ANNOUNCER: Hungry for votes and a little something on the side.
J. KASICH: I had the baked clams. I had the calamari.
ANNOUNCER: Learning the menu and the ropes.
J. KASICH: I will make you this promise. No more eating pizza with a fork.
ANNOUNCER: An Ohio governor with steel town roots and the iron determination to make a difference.
J. KASICH: I'm fighting for the guy that lived across the street from me who got up early in the morning and was clean and worked all day and came home and was dirty.
ANNOUNCER: A fight, he says, about people, not politics.
J. KASICH: I don't play politics. I don't have time for it.
ANNOUNCER: Yet now running third in a race unlike any before, with politics like never seen before, can he somehow take his fight all the way to the White House? And how does he manage being a husband, a father, and a candidate? It's the voters' chance to ask his family. This is an Anderson Cooper 360 CNN Republican Town Hall. Candidates and their families, voters seeking answers before making a choice that could make history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(APPLAUSE) COOPER: And good evening. Thanks for joining us. We're simulcasting live now on CNN, CNN International, SiriusXM satellite radio channel 116, and the Westwood One Radio Network. Welcome to all of you.
We're here with Ohio Governor John Kasich, his wife, Karen, and their twin 16-year-old daughters Emma and Reese will join us shortly. In the audience, we have registered Republicans all from New York, which holds its primary a week from this Thursday. The audience came up with the questions they'll ask tonight. We reviewed them to make sure they don't overlap. I'm going to ask a couple of questions myself. But as always, this is a chance for voters to hear at length from the candidates and for the first time the people closest to them.
But before we bring out the family, I want to start with Governor Kasich. Thanks very much for being with us. Appreciate it.
J. KASICH: Glad to be here.
COOPER: Let's talk about where we are in this race here in New York. Polls show right now you're in second place ahead of Ted Cruz, doing very well. The reality is, though, at this point in the race, as you know, you've only won one state, your home state of Ohio. Senator Cruz is doing very well, picking up delegates even in states he has not won. Just in Colorado, he picked up -- he walked away...
J. KASICH: Didn't do very well in Michigan, though.
COOPER: Well, do you need to up your game in terms of reaching out to delegates?
J. KASICH: Oh, we're reaching out, Anderson, all over. And, you know, it's a bizarre process. I'm not really in the middle of it, because I've got to prepare for people like you, and I get out and do town halls, and all the things that I do. But, yeah -- yes, we have a very...
COOPER: Do you need to focus more on delegates?
J. KASICH: Oh, yeah, that's what we are focusing on.
COOPER: Because it does seem like Cruz is outfoxing Donald Trump certainly in the battle for delegates.
J. KASICH: Look, for a month I've been saying we're going to a convention and the key is delegate growth. And so we're going to grow delegates. I mean, we're doing pretty well in New York. I don't like to predict, but we're running, you know, second in the state, and in many of these congressional districts, it's very close between Mr. Trump and the campaign we're running. So and then we go to Pennsylvania, we're going to go to Connecticut, we can go all over the country. And so it's a delegate hunt that we focus on.
COOPER: But Trump's campaign manager, new convention manager, I should say, Paul Manafort, accused Ted Cruz of using, quote, "gestapo tactics" to secure delegates. Do you agree with that?
J. KASICH: Well, I don't know, but we're certainly not going to use gestapo tactics to win delegates.
COOPER: Do you think the system is fair the way it is?
J. KASICH: Yeah, I mean, it's all...
COOPER: Donald Trump is saying it's all rigged, this is unfair.
J. KASICH: Well, it's sort of a scrum. And, look, we don't know who all the delegates are going to be. They're going to be hard-working Republicans. There will be some elected officials or former elected officials, ward heelers and all this.
And I've been a convention that was contested, in 1976. I was there for Reagan. And I was just a kid at the time. And it was amazing because when delegates are seated at a convention, it's really, really serious. They begin to realize that they've got to figure out who can win in the fall. And as I always like to remind you, I'm the only one that consistently beats Hillary in the fall. And also they're going to try to figure out who has the record and experience to be president. So it will become a very serious, heavy matter when we get into that convention. And it's all about the delegates.
COOPER: And you believe that in the second round or the third round...
J. KASICH: Yeah, just like Lincoln.
COOPER: It's going to go to you?
J. KASICH: Yeah. I mean, I think -- I don't know how many rounds it's going to take. But, look, if I'm the only one that can win in the fall, how do you pick somebody else? And let me tell you what the other...
COOPER: But why would a delegate pick you if the only state you've actually won is Ohio, your home state?
J. KASICH: Well, let's see how many delegates we accumulate. But why would you pick someone who can't win in the fall? Let me tell you what the stakes are. I believe if you pick these other guys you're not only going to lose the White House, you'll lose the court, you will lose the United States Senate, and you're going to lose a lot of seats...
COOPER: Why can't Ted Cruz win?
J. KASICH: Because they're too divisive, they're too negative. Look at how their negatives are, their negative ratings. And it's very hard to turn negatives around. Believe me.
COOPER: You talked about Michigan. This weekend, members of your campaign teamed up with members of the Trump campaign to deny Cruz key convention committee slots. Is that something that you instructed your people to do?
J. KASICH: No, I don't -- look, I was watching The Masters on Sunday. I mean, I wasn't watching what the heck's going on with delegates.
COOPER: That's not something you've tried to organize, not something you...
J. KASICH: No, no, I don't -- I don't do that. I have a team of people. And, look, the fact is, is that there's nothing to be gained from trying to figure out, are we with Trump, are we working with Trump, and what's -- it's not that at all. So...
COOPER: Well, because there was -- one of the Cruz's Michigan delegates is suggesting essentially you're auditioning to be Trump's vice president. In fact, Trump in an interview in USA Today said that he likes you, he likes Marco Rubio, and kind of named you in a list of people he might even consider for vice president.
J. KASICH: Are you asking me if I would be his vice president?
COOPER: Would you?
J. KASICH: Zero.
COOPER: Absolutely not?
J. KASICH: Zero -- I'm not going to be anybody's vice president. I would be the worst vice president the country ever saw. You know why? Because I'm not like a vice president. I'm a president. You know? That's what I have been.
COOPER: You don't want to be second fiddle.
J. KASICH: Well, it's not so much about that, Anderson. Look, I'm running for the top job. And if I don't get the top job, OK, I'm still governor of Ohio. It's -- you know, Mayor Koch one time ran for governor of New York and he didn't win, and they asked him what he thought. He said, well, you know, I may not be governor of New York, but, you know, I'm mayor of New York City and that ain't bad.
And so I will be governor, and then that's what will happen. But I'm not even thinking that way, because I do believe, at the end of the day -- and our crowds are growing. You know, we were in Greece, New York. We had 4,000 people on Saturday. For the first time, people are finally starting to hear the message that I have. And we're growing. So I'm optimistic going forward.
COOPER: You're talking about messages. Your super PAC released an ad that started running Saturday in New York City and Pennsylvania. I want to just play -- take a listen to it and ask you about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Told by his father he was anointed by God to obtain a powerful position. Said women should be punished for having an abortion. Wants to register Muslims, police their neighborhoods. Wouldn't rule out using nuclear weapons against Europe. That the best we can do? No. It's not. John Kasich. Stable, presidential.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Saying you're stable with the Patsy Cline song. Sounds like you're saying they're crazy.
J. KASICH: Well, I don't like that ad.
COOPER: You don't?
J. KASICH: I have told my campaign people -- I can't communicate with those folks.
COOPER: Right, you're not allowed to legally...
J. KASICH: It's the craziest system. But I don't like that. I don't like the song. I don't like what it represents...
COOPER: You're not saying you don't like Patsy Cline?
J. KASICH: Oh, I love Patsy Cline.
COOPER: All right, fine. No, the song in that context.
J. KASICH: But, no, I don't like it. Look, you know, I've objected to some of what they've done a couple of times.
COOPER: Yeah, we've talked about that.
J. KASICH: Because, you know, I'm not -- I don't want to take the low road to the highest office in the land. And I haven't. And, frankly, that's why, until about a month ago, people didn't know who I was.
COOPER: You think if you had been more aggressive, more negative...
J. KASICH: Oh, I would have gotten a lot more attention, because all the debates were about, who can you smear? Who do you yell at? Who do you insult? And then you get a sound bite the next day. Oh, guess what he said about them, you know?
And I wasn't going to do that because that's not who I am. And so, Anderson, we operated in obscurity, didn't have the money other people had, but guess what? I'm still standing. You know, we're like the little engine that can.
And, look, here's what it gets down to is this. Why would I be the only one to beat Hillary in the fall? Why do all the polls show that? Because basically I'm a person that tries to unite people, remind people we're an American before we're Republican and Democrat. I can attract the blue collar voters and the independents. And why? Because I have a history of being able to solve the problems of economic insecurity, putting things in place to make sure our children can have a better life than we had from our parents, and I've got the expertise in foreign affairs, as well. So you put all that together and that's a pretty darn good resume for fixing the country. And I think people get a sense of that.
COOPER: You've been saying for a long time very honestly in your belief that it's going to come down to a convention and you think you're going to do well there.
J. KASICH: Yeah, I've said it for a long time.
COOPER: Senator Cruz is now kind of publicly admitting that, as well. He was talking about that today on the campaign trail. One of the things, though, he has said to me in the past is -- he's talked about rule 40. Rule 40, which was on the books at the convention back in 2012, requires a candidate to have won the majority of delegates in eight states in order to be nominated. Cruz says essentially you're not even going to be eligible to get the nomination.
J. KASICH: Look, I don't -- let me just tell you this. He's spent a million dollars making stuff up about me in Wisconsin. Of course he's going to say that, OK?
COOPER: Are you going to be able to change the rules?
J. KASICH: Well, there are no rules. The rules will get set. And you just mentioned on when we were in Michigan, the committees got set better. I think the rules will be open, and even if they're not, I'm still going to go in there with significant delegates.
But I don't think that's going to happen. I don't think that people are going to want a closed convention, I think they're going to want to give the delegates freedom to make good choices.
COOPER: Your opponents though are going to say, look, a vote for you is essentially, if those rules aren't changed, then it's a wasted vote.
J. KASICH: No it isn't, because you still can accumulate delegates even at that convention. But we're going to go there, Anderson. I don't want to get ahead of myself.
Look, I was the first one to talk about the fact that we were going to go to a convention. The pundits didn't think so. And by the way, you know that God created pundits to make astrologers look accurate.
J. KASICH: So the pundits haven't been right on anything so far. Anything. So, you know, I'm not going to go down that road. We're going to be fine. We just are going to continue to develop momentum, get bigger crowds, get delegates, and go to that convention, and make the case that if you are going -- our goal, I think, as a party is to beat Hillary, I think, right?
COOPER: That would seem to be the goal, yes.
J. KASICH: So wouldn't you pick somebody that can beat Hillary rather than somebody who loses to her all the time? And wouldn't you also want to pick somebody who actually has the record and the experience of accomplishment to be president. I mean, that's not a radical idea.
COOPER: We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, something you have not yet seen in these town halls. Questions from the audience to you as well as your wife and your daughters. That and more in this first of three "AC360 Republican Family Town Halls."
COOPER: Hey, everybody, we're back with Ohio Governor John Kasich. Joining us now, his wife Karen, and his daughters Emma and Reese. Welcome to all of you. Thanks so much for being with us.
COOPER: Karen, let me start with you. When the governor approached -- said to you, you know, I'm thinking of doing this, what did you think?
KAREN WALDBILLIG KASICH, WIFE OF JOHN KASICH: Here we go again.
COOPER: Here we go again?
K. KASICH: You know, John was out of politics for a while. And when he told me he wanted to run for governor of Ohio, I thought, well, he really needs to because someone needs to turn the state around. And he has done a wonderful job. He has a great record of improving things in the state of Ohio.
So when he said that he wanted to run for president, I thought the same thing, I thought, well, someone needs to fix this country and John has the record, and let's get out there and try.
COOPER: We just played earlier an interview from Randi Kaye who said that on your first date you called, was it, your mom to say that a congressman had asked you out. And your mom was like, you had better buy some books on politics and read up and stuff. Is that true?
K. KASICH: She was a little concerned about how the conversation might go, yes.
COOPER: It seemed to go pretty well.
K. KASICH: I think it went fine, 20 years later.
COOPER: And how about, Emma and Reese? How about for your when your dad said he was thinking of doing this? I read -- I think he said in a town hall that one of you wasn't all that thrilled about the idea. I don't want to put either of you on the spot...
K. KASICH: Who would that be?
COOPER: What's was your thinking?
EMMA KASICH, DAUGHTER OF JOHN KASICH: I just didn't want to move to Washington.
COOPER: Oh yes, I can understand that, I can understand that.
How about for you?
REESE KASICH, DAUGHTER OF JOHN KASICH: I was all for it. I think that he can fix the United States and make it better. And I think I said go for it.
COOPER: Were you worried, as a mom, about suddenly all the attention? I mean, you have kids, their teenage years. It's a lot for a family to go through.
K. KASICH: It's a lot for a family to go through. But the kids -- you know, we live in our own home. We don't live in a governor's mansion. We -- they go to a private school which I think helps a little bit keep things normal for them.
They're not in the limelight that much. So doing a show like this is really pretty special for them.
COOPER: Yes, well, we appreciate it.
J. KASICH: You know, Anderson, well, see, I first started to run for governor, I think, in like around 2009. So they were like 9. So since that time, they have been around all this.
But their friends come around. They're like, hi, Mr. Kasich. You know, and they just blow in and out of the house. One of the neighbors came in tonight and tape-recorded -- recorded this show. And I mean, they are just like normal. We don't live an odd life.
COOPER: Your neighbors just come into your house and tape record?
J. KASICH: She does. She says she's our third daughter.
K. KASICH: She's like my third daughter.
COOPER: All those Manhattanites are like, what? You know your neighbors? That sounds nice.
(LAUGHTER) J. KASICH: But let me tell you, it's pretty normal because, you know,
like over the weekend, Sunday, I'll watch golf, I mean, I didn't shave. I went to the gym. I shopped at Kroger's. You know, I just do normal stuff. And around town it's normal and people treat me great. I mean, they just basically don't bother me about anything.
COOPER: Clearly trying to make it as normal for your kids and family as possible.
J. KASICH: Well, it just is. We don't even have to try. It just kind of is.
R. KASICH: Yes.
E. KASICH: Mm-hmm.
R. KASICH: Feel like going...
COOPER: Sorry, go ahead.
R. KASICH: So like what you asked me what I thought, what I said when he asked. I was kind of like -- like it's kind of just one of those things where it's like, oh, well, it wasn't really like out of the blue, it was kind of like...
COOPER: It didn't really surprise you given that you grew up...
R. KASICH: Yes, like, oh, he's running again, so.
COOPER: Right. That's what your dad does.
J. KASICH: Now, Emma, you're still -- if I become president, are you going to finish in Ohio and I'll come back and forth, is that right?
E. KASICH: I don't know.
COOPER: Let's meet some of the voters here. I want you to meet Rob Goslin (ph). He lives in New York City. He says he's leaning towards voting for Donald Trump but has a question for you, Mrs. Kasich.
K. KASICH: Oh, OK.
QUESTION: Hi, Mrs. Kasich. How are you?
K. KASICH: Hi.
QUESTION: Quick question. I've heard that you've run many marathons. Describe that and how that compares to your husband's race?
K. KASICH: Well, I've run a few marathons. Many is an exaggeration, but thank you. I think that again you don't want to start out too fast. You want to start out slow and steady. You want to have a good pace about you, and finish strong. And I think that's exactly what John Kasich is going to do.
COOPER: You know, it's interesting, everyone -- the big cliche about running for president is it's not a sprint, it's a marathon. Does it feel like a marathon? I mean, having never, I'm a wimp, I've never...
K. KASICH: Well, it feels like a marathon to me.
COOPER: It does, yes.
K. KASICH: Yes, it sure does. I mean, again, it's a long haul and a lot can happen. And it's not something you just want to start, you know, start running at the beginning. I mean, it takes a while to build up momentum.
And you want to do things right. And you want to do things like John was saying earlier. You don't want to get attention for the wrong reasons. So it takes a while to get your message out there about what you've accomplished and what you've done and your record.
COOPER: Are you proud of how he's run the campaign compared to what else is out there?
K. KASICH: Oh, I couldn't be prouder of John. I mean, I've always been proud of him, but I'm super proud of the way he's run this campaign and the way he's behaved. And I'm proud of the way people react to that. I mean, everywhere I travel, people come up to me and say, you know, we're proud of the way your husband has behaved.
COOPER: I want you to meet Serenity Richardson. She's a senior at the King's College here in New York who says she's leaning towards Senator Cruz, but she's still undecided and she's got a question for Emma and Reese.
QUESTION: Hey, guys. So most dads have a slightly weird or quirky side to them, especially around their kids. I wanted to ask you guys, does your dad have any quirks or does he have a more humorous side to him, and if you had any stories along those lines?
E. KASICH: He just tries to tell jokes that he thinks are funny, but...
They're most just funny to us because they're dumb.
COOPER: Spoken like every 16-year-old child of a parent.
R. KASICH: And he also thinks he's a really good dancer.
R. KASICH: North-South.
J. KASICH: North-South, that's exactly right.
COOPER: Wait, North-South? That's his move?
R. KASICH: Yeah.
J. KASICH: Well, you've got to go north and south. You know, you can't do this overbite. You've got to go north-south, and...
J. KASICH: Yeah, it's very -- and I'm really, really good. Just kidding.
R. KASICH: Just ask him. He'll tell you.
J. KASICH: Don't you think, Reese? I've gotten better.
R. KASICH: Yeah, but you're not going to go on "Dancing with the Stars."
J. KASICH: OK.
COOPER: It's funny though, when you're a kid, how everything -- I remember my dad used to sing loudly at church and so -- it just mortified me.
(UNKNOWN): Another thing he does.
COOPER: Really? I want you to meet James Thompson. He's an attorney from Staten Island. He says he's undecided. He's got a question for the governor. Welcome.
QUESTION: Governor, going through the life-changing experience of raising children will change any man's perspective. What have you learned from being a father that's translated to your approach in office?
J. KASICH: Well, there have been two giant things that affected my life, maybe three. One is my parents were killed in 1987 by a drunk driver, which forced me to search in many, many ways for who I am and my relationship to the big guy up here and whether I wanted to have one or whether I even believed in it. That was a huge change.
Then marrying Karen, you know, she's strong, and, you know, some -- here's a way. Some people have a marriage like this, and some have one like this. This is the best way to have a marriage. So she's been just fantastic and such a great supporter, and tells it like it is, but she's not really engaged that much in politics. She doesn't tell me a whole heck of a lot.
With the girls, you know, I love all of them so much, and that's where faith has to come in, because, you know, they're now driving. And it's every -- and, you know, Reese had a boyfriend. Emma has a boyfriend. Is that a boyfriend that you have? I don't know. Is he? OK.
You know, at some point, you have to let them go, right? You have to let them lead their own lives. And you have to have the faith that you did it the right way. But, frankly, I have to tell you. My wife is far more important in terms of who they are and how they are than I am. But I like to think that, you know, as they get older, they're going to realize that dad was a role model for the guy that at some point way down the road that they would marry.
But, you know, it's spending time with them, but it's also having the faith to let them lead their own lives and having the faith that whatever happens, we'll deal with it. Does that make sense to you?
J. KASICH: OK.
COOPER: What's was it like when they brought a boyfriend home for the first time? How did you -- how was that?
J. KASICH: Well, we have a trooper that sits in the car with a gun. You know...
No, they don't like this. They don't want me to make -- to frighten the guys that come in. And so the other day a guy that Emma knows, I was laying on the couch, and he's like...
J. KASICH: And he's like, "Hi, Mr. Kasich." And I just kind of looked. You know? But, I mean, it's fine. These are nice -- she screens them.
J. KASICH: She screens them.
K. KASICH: These are nice young men that are coming around. You know, nobody getting close that isn't. Up to my standards.
J. KASICH: No, and -- but, you know, it's sort of funny, Anderson, because if a mom or a dad pound on them too much, I mean, you drive them the wrong way. So they're going to have to make some of their own choices. I think the hardest thing is letting your kids make mistakes. I think that's just the hardest thing, but it's just what we're going to have to do. COOPER: I want you to meet John Burnett. He's an undecided voter.
He says he's trying to decide between you, Governor Kasich, and Senator Cruz. John, welcome.
QUESTION: Governor Kasich, you have a lovely family, but there's one thing that's clear. You're the only man in the house. So with that said, did you have a man cave? And if so, what was in it?
J. KASICH: Well, you know, we built our house, and then we didn't finish the lower level, because we -- I didn't have the money to do it. And then when I got out for 10 years, one of the things I did was I was a public speaker. And so people said, oh, that's the level that your mouth built. And I have a little projector down there. And it's pretty nice. And I like to watch sports. You know, that's what I basically -- I watch. Girls, what do I watch? I watch...
J. KASICH: I watch golf. I watch Palladia, the music channel.
(UNKNOWN): "The Middle."
J. KASICH: I watch "The Middle." And, you know, I don't really have a place just for me. But I do have a little office that my wife decorates. But, you know, no big -- no big man cave where people are not invited. We have -- we also had some goldfish, and those were not male, either.
(UNKNOWN): Noname (ph). Noname (ph) was male.
J. KASICH: Oh, really?
(UNKNOWN): Noname (ph), yeah.
J. KASICH: Oh, OK.
COOPER: It's hard to know with goldfish.
COOPER: This is Colleen Rappa. She's the mother of five sons, including triplets. She says she's leaning in your favor.
J. KASICH: Triplets? Oh, my goodness. Did you get help?
QUESTION: It's like a trip without a suitcase, I'll tell you that much. It's a pleasure to meet all of you. I have a son with autism, and he's often been the target of bullying, so much so that I have now home-schooled him. Have you or anyone close to you had an experience with bullying in school, either directly or as a bystander? And how did you deal with it?
J. KASICH: Well, sweetie, you were just writing a recommendation, so why don't you tell the story?
K. KASICH: Well, I just wrote a recommendation for a young lady who left the school that she was in and is attending another school because she was bullied for being too smart. And my way of helping her is writing a recommendation about what kind of smart things this young lady has done that's made her so much different than any other high school senior that I know. And I will tell you that, when I see bullying, and I have seen it, I go right to the top of the school and say, look, what are we going to do about it? And I don't always get the results I want, but I call it out when I see it.
J. KASICH: You know, the other -- the other part of it is, as I tell my daughters, you need to stand up against it. And I think, Reese, there was occasion where you did, didn't you? And bullying is so horrible because what it does, is it just so isolates a young child and can have such a negative impact on their lives.
So I think -- I always tell young people when I talk to them a couple of things that they need to do with school and what they need to do to say their prayers. But I also tell them: Do not let anybody be isolated and do not let anybody be bullied. So I think it's -- with the young people and, of course, it's with the higher ups. And I would never hesitate to call their school, and I do. And I think they love when I call there. Yeah, right.
COOPER: One of the things that we've seen is, bullying -- you know, when we were kids, it took place in schools. Now it's 24 hours a day on social media. So it's not just happening in the schools. Do you monitor their social media?
K. KASICH: They have limited social media in the first place. But, you know, I follow their Instagram or whatever it's called.
K. KASICH: I follow them. But we have talks about it, and we have definitely have talks about being on social media safely and who you talk to and who you don't. And I think they're pretty protected. But I just feel bad for kids these days, because it's a 24/7 world and it never shuts off. And I wouldn't have wanted to have grown up like that.
J. KASICH: And, you know, the thing is, if you talk to people who are counselors, our children have a lot of challenges. And there are a lot of kids out there that are really hurting. And if there's anything we need to do in life, it's to protect our children.
So we've got to sort of stick our nose into other people's business. You know, Anderson, it's sort of funny, because I was with -- I say all these people who were important, you know, whether they're doctors or lawyers or whether they're nurses or -- you know, and I say one of the most important people you can find in the school is the janitor, because -- or the lunch lady because those are the people that kids feel safe talking to and revealing their deepest, darkest kind of fears. This is a big, big deal and a big problem, and we've got to look out for our kids, even when they are not our kids. They're all our kids, right? All of them.
COOPER: I want you to meet -- this is Jim Marron. He works in ad sales. He says he's planning on voting for you, Governor. Jim, welcome.
QUESTION: Thank you. Governor Kasich, thank you for taking my question. Earlier you referenced your faith. And you're a former Catholic. And in your book, "Every Other Monday," you wrote that there will always be some part of you that considers yourself a Catholic. Which part?
J. KASICH: Well, I think -- look, I'm going to just tell you now, I'm a fan of the pope. I like the pope. And I'll tell you why. Because the pope has spent more time talking about the do's in religion than the don'ts. You see, when you talk about -- if you mention the word I'm going to talk to you about religion, we all get thought bubbles like, uh-oh, this is about what I shouldn't do.
And I believe religion is about what you should do, not what you shouldn't do. You know, it's humility, it's loving somebody that doesn't love you. There are so many things. Living a life bigger than yourself.
And those -- I don't find really that much difference between any of these faiths. They all preach about the same thing. But to me, if you are about the do's, it's attractive. It's like you're special. You were made special. You can change the world. Those things are really critical.
The don'ts about don't do this or don't do that, that comes a heck of a lot later, and that comes naturally whenever we decide we want to try to please, as I like to call them from time to time, the big guy.
And these girls, you know, they actually go to Christian school. It's normal. It's nothing extreme. They go there. But they don't write on the walls. They respect their teachers. Like what it was when you and I went to school.
And I don't shove anything down their throat, because that's where you drive people away. My wife has become much more faithful. She reads a lot and studies a lot.
Look, here's what I would say. The winds of life blow. And sometimes they blow ugly stuff into our lives and sometimes good things. But I want to build a house on a rock-solid foundation so that when the winds come, my house can still stand. And that doesn't make it easy. But you learn that in basically all the faiths and so that's -- that's kind of the way I kind of think about things.
COOPER: Thank you for your question.
QUESTION: Thank you.
COOPER: This is Ronald Ayala. He's a student at St. John's University right here in New York. He says he's leaning toward Donald Trump, but he's got a question both for Emma and Reese. Ronald, welcome.
QUESTION: Hi, everyone. It's great to be here tonight. Thank you for taking my question. Clearly, this election cycle has been a very vicious one. So how do you react when you see your father constantly being attacked in the media by negative ads and by political pundits?
R. KASICH: Well, I don't really watch much TV. If I do, it's Netflix, so there's not any, like, ads or anything. So I don't really see any of the ads on TV. And I don't go looking for the negativity. So I honestly don't really see it.
E. KASICH: I don't see it, either.
COOPER: Does it -- I mean, you know, obviously, sort of -- you must get a sense of things or maybe kids in school. I don't know if kids in school say stuff. Does it bother you? Or you really try to keep it away?
R. KASICH: Yeah, like, I really don't see it. Like, people at our school, like, everyone is just kind of really chill. No one ever really brings anything up like that.
J. KASICH: How about you, Emma?
E. KASICH: Same as Reese.
J. KASICH: Yeah. Right.
COOPER: Do you worry about that, about your kids sort of hearing what's going on, on the campaign trail? Or is it something you -- once you're in the house, you try to keep it out of the house?
K. KASICH: We really try to keep it out of the house. But I'm not naive enough to think that they're not going to hear things when they're out and about. But we talk. We just talk openly about what's going on and why people would say things that they would say. And we know what the truth is.
K. KASICH: So I'm pretty comfortable. I don't really spend a lot of time worrying about that.
R. KASICH: Like, I know my dad better than anyone who's saying stuff on social media does. So even if I did see something bad, I wouldn't believe it, because, like, I -- you know what I mean? Like, he's my dad, so like...
COOPER: What do you want people to know about him? You talk about knowing him better than anybody. What...
R. KASICH: He's just really godly, and really, really fun, and sometimes a little silly. He's really loving. He's always checking up on us. He's an honest man. Yeah, I think that... COOPER: That's nice.
R. KASICH: And he cares about everyone, so...
COOPER: Yeah. Would you want to go into politics at all based on what you've seen with your dad?
R. KASICH: No.
E. KASICH: No.
K. KASICH: How about you, Reese?
R. KASICH: I want to make some money first.
COOPER: We're going to take...
J. KASICH: Can I say one thing about us?
J. KASICH: So, Emma, what is one of the things we like to do together, Emma? What do we like to watch?
E. KASICH: Basketball.
J. KASICH: We watch all the sports. Emma is a great runner. She and her relay team finished fourth in the state last year.
And Reese was just selected as one of the leaders in the school. But when Reese texted me and said she was selected, I texted her back and I said, I'm more proud of the fact that you put yourself out there than you got picked. And I love you guys; you know that.
COOPER: We're going to take a quick, short break. We'll be back with the entire Kasich family right after this.
COOPER: Back now with more questions for Governor Kasich, his wife Karen, and daughters Emma and Reese. Governor Kasich, it was announced today you're giving a big speech tomorrow that's entitled "Two Paths." Can you say -- what does that mean? What are the two paths?
J. KASICH: Well, I hope people will see it. It's -- the first path is feeding on people's fears and driving them into a ditch, separating us and telling people that we as Americans are now failures, our country is a failure. And it just -- it just creates more anger. It's exploiting people's, you know, their anxiety.
The other way is to tell them, hey, we do have problems, but they can be fixed. And let's look up and let's pull together. I mean, we hear so much negativity. We're losers, we're terrible, let's go out and surveil neighborhoods, let's ban people from coming in the country based on religion. That's not our country.
Our country is one where we get together, we hang together, we work together, realizing that things -- there's challenges, but they can be fixed. And it's going to be -- I think it's pretty hard-hitting, and I think people will pay attention to it. And I think they will -- it will resonate with them.
COOPER: It's pretty clear who you're talking about there, obviously.
J. KASICH: I'm talking about every -- both of them.
COOPER: Both of them?
J. KASICH: Yeah.
COOPER: Do you -- do you want to name them or do you name them? Or are you -- you don't want...
J. KASICH: No, I'm not going to...
J. KASICH: I don't want to use the names. But look, when you say to somebody we're going to surveil your neighborhood because you're a Muslim, if you want to find out what's going on in a neighborhood, who do you think you would ask? If I asked you, Anderson, you're not going to know what's going on. Or if I want to know what's going on in a mosque, or if I say we're going to have a religious test and if you are a Muslim, you can't come in, how do we expect them to work with us worldwide?
So and it's not just that. It's whimsical solutions. But it's basically telling people that things are so bad, it runs our country down, it depresses people. And I'm not for doing that. And I'm going to lay this out along with solutions.
So it will be interesting, it will be tomorrow morning.
R. KASICH: It's the United States of America, not the divided.
K. KASICH: That's good, Reese. I like that.
R. KASICH: Me, too. That's why I said it.
COOPER: I want you to meet Chris Authier. He says he's completely undecided for the first time in this election. And he has got a question for you, Governor.
QUESTION: So most of us don't understand or choose our political affiliation until college or after. I was wondering when you decided you were a Republican, if you remember when and why?
J. KASICH: Yes, you know, I was always kind of conservative. My mother was conservative. My dad was a Democrat all of his life. My mother was a Democrat but became a Republican later in life.
You know, I don't like anything big. Big government, big business, or big labor. And I felt that, you know, I want government as a last resort, not as a first resort. And I've always felt that the Republican Party was closer to that than the Democratic Party was, that they are like government bureaucracy. These will fix things.
I've always been a person to think, I like to do it on my own. And so that's kind of why I became a Republican.
COOPER: I want you to meet, this is Roger Sachar, he's an attorney who says he was supporting Senator Rubio. He's now undecided and he has got a question for you Mrs. Kasich.
QUESTION: Mrs. Kasich, first ladies often use their position to advocate for certain charitable work. What positions would you advocate for as first lady?
K. KASICH: Well, I can tell you what I've done in Ohio. And that is I've advocated for things that help our young people, because I believe our young people are our most precious natural resource and we need to grow them and support them.
So it has been things like fitness and wellness. It has been after- school programs for kids in at-risk neighborhoods. It has been the anti-human trafficking efforts because that has been a big problem.
I never realized that until I became first lady that human trafficking is such a problem in this country and in our own state. So anything that helps youth and young people.
COOPER: Early on in the campaign, I think in your first interview, you talked about kind of -- I can't remember the exact term, but you were saying you weren't a traditional political wife. You talked about not having sort of the Nancy Reagan gaze.
How do you see yourself as a first lady? Or are there first ladies you would like to kind of emulate that you look at as models?
K. KASICH: I see myself kind of doing it my way and I am trying to make a difference where I can. I'm not trying to start new programs. I'm trying to lend my name and celebrity, if you will, to programs that exist and that are doing great things in our communities around Ohio.
So I see myself as a mom first and first lady second.
COOPER: This is Jim Moriarty, he's a retiree who says he's still undecided. He has got a question for Emma and Reese.
QUESTION: Hi, girls. Welcome to New York. I'd like to ask you, if you could tell us what does your father like to do in his free time for fun when he's not working? And what do you like, all of you, like to do as a family?
E. KASICH: He usually plays golf and he goes to church on Sundays because he usually is home on Sundays. So we eat family dinner together, sometimes we'll watch "60 Minutes." He'll make us come downstairs.
J. KASICH: How about New York, Emma? How about when we come to New York?
E. KASICH: That's fun, too. He brings Reese.
R. KASICH: He takes us on each a trip every year and we get to choose where we can go for the weekend, so.
J. KASICH: So tell them about Chicago.
COOPER: Where do you like to go?
R. KASICH: I like to come to New York. She went to Chicago and New York.
J. KASICH: The first time. Then New York.
R. KASICH: Yes. And I've just gone to New York twice.
J. KASICH: Tell them what you did in Chicago, Emma, where you went. Remember when you went out on a...
E. KASICH: We went to a Chicago Bulls game and we met Scottie Pippen, but I didn't know who it was at first.
J. KASICH: We went down on the court, it was really fun, and then we went up in the suite and Scottie Pippen came in. There were all these people gathered around Scottie Pippen. And Emma is sitting with this football player from the Chicago Bears who I think scored a touchdown the next Sunday, but all these people were around Pippen.
I said, Emma, that was Scottie Pippen. She's like, who is that, dad?
J. KASICH: She came to New York the last time because I think New York is going to be the center of -- because we love New York values.
(APPLAUSE) COOPER: This is Denise Ward. She's an attorney from New Rochelle.
She says she's leaning toward voting for you, Governor. She has got a question for Mrs. Kasich.
QUESTION: Good evening, Governor Kasich, Mrs. Kasich, and Reese and Emma. Thank you for taking my question.
Mrs. Kasich, I've heard Governor Kasich mention a number of times that respect is the key element in problem-solving. Does he incorporate this in his home life? And is this something that comes naturally to him, or is it something that he has to work at doing?
K. KASICH: Well, I'm a pretty strong person and I wouldn't be with a man who didn't show me respect and show my daughters respect. So that's just the way he behaves. I don't see him working at respecting us. I see him living that by the way he treats us and the way our family operates together.
I think that he's a wonderful role model for Emma and Reese. You know, we were talking earlier about the boys starting to come around, and I would like them to look for a young man who is like daddy.
I mean, I think that he has the values and one of his values is respecting women.
J. KASICH: But, you know, I also want to say, look, I'm not that great, OK, I'm just -- honestly, I'm doing the best I can. But we...
K. KASICH: You're pretty good at respecting us.
J. KASICH: Well, yes, I surrendered to you long ago.
J. KASICH: Here's the thing.
QUESTION: That's a smart man.
J. KASICH: Yes, but here's the thing. I mean, if you think about some of the people that we've had come to our house or people who have been friends of ours, we don't care whether they are Republicans or Democrats. We've had a number of Democrats that we've been -- right?
K. KASICH: You respect their values, their views.
J. KASICH: Right. And, you know, it's very interesting to just appreciate people for who they are.
And when I say respect, that means that even if I don't agree with you, I have got to respect your position unless you are a crook or a bum or something. I'm going to respect you.
And guess what, over time we'll find something that we can do together. And that's what's missing in Washington today. It's a lack of respect for people who don't think the way that you think. And that's what's killing us down there. And it doesn't make any sense because if you can respect somebody,
it's amazing how you'll be in a position at some point where you can accomplish things. And that's why you're in this stuff, right? I think.
COOPER: There are some in Washington who believe compromise is a dirty word. That you have got core values. You have got to stick to those. And no compromise at all. Where do you...
J. KASICH: Well, that's just ridiculous. Where in life do we not compromise? You don't have to compromise your principle, but my way or the highway doesn't work. And these issues are very complicated, very, very complicated.
So you have to listen to what other people say. It doesn't mean you have to go along. Look, I ran the Budget Committee. That's one of the toughest committees in Congress. If you talk to most of the people that served on the committee, particularly Democrats, they'll say, you know, he treated us fairly.
I'm not going to change all my positions, but, you know, of course you have to do a little bit of compromise. You can say you're never going to compromise and then the country is going to continue to drift.
I mean, Anderson, it's the way it works. So you know when you get to the point where you say, sorry, I just can't do that. I just can't go there, but let's look at something else. And when you develop the respect, you can have breakthroughs. That's the way it works.
COOPER: I want you to meet, this is Gregory Smith. He's a teacher from Yorktown, New York. He says he's leaning towards supporting you. Gregory?
QUESTION: Good evening. As a moderate Republican, I find it very, very difficult to reconcile my social liberalism with my fiscal conservatism often. And I feel as if the Republican Party is also becoming polarized in that fashion. And as the years go on it's just going to get worse.
So, Governor Kasich, if you are blessed to have grandchildren one day, how do you envision the evolution of the Republican Party as relates to those values? And finally, what are the fundamental values that you believe that Republican families should never waver on?
J. KASICH: Well, I would have to really give that a lot of thought. That's just -- I mean, those are really tough questions. What is it we should never waver on? Truth. Don't do drugs. Be humble. Show respect.
I mean, I think the family is so critical. Family matters. Families look different today than they used to look when I was just a young boy. But that's OK. We have to support our families. I think that's really important.
You know, I guess those would be some of the things that -- what do I try to teach my kids? OK. You're not going to be perfect. Be as good as you can be. Be as honest as you can -- you know, be honest. Keep our family together. Love your sister. You know, love each other because that's what you'll have at the end of the day.
Respect -- I respect my wife. I respect women. I mean, these are things that are really important. I'm not sure where you're going with this though.
COOPER: Well, I think the question is -- I think it's kind of hinting at with the grandchildren idea is, where do you see the GOP? But if you have grandchildren, are you concerned about where the GOP will be at that time given the path it's on? Is that about right?
J. KASICH: Let me kind of put it this way. The Republican Party should be a party of ideas, and ideas that create energy and innovation to lift everybody. What we should try to do is to stress those kinds of things. And when it gets to the social issues, look, I'm not going to change my position on some of the social issues, but there's ways also to carry myself in a way that I can respect somebody that doesn't agree with me. OK?
And the party is always most comfortable being against. The Republican Party has never been a party that's always been so excited about new ideas. It's most comfortable being against. When you are a party that's against, you will fail, because it is ideas that drive change.
Anderson and I did a little hit last week. I was in Teddy Roosevelt's house at Sagamore Hill. Teddy Roosevelt shook everything from top to bottom. He breathed new life into the United States. And that's exactly the way I think the party ought to be.
We're always going to have some arguments about the social issues, but the most important thing for us to do is to create a job opportunity society for ourselves. And when it comes to the social issues, we'll get to argue more about those once the economy's strong, but let's figure the economy and then we'll get to the social issues.
COOPER: When you heard on the campaign trail -- when you heard Senator Cruz on the campaign trail kind of mock the idea of New York values, what did you think?
J. KASICH: I don't have a clue what he was talking about. I love New York. I mean, when you come to New York -- well, I think I heard it as I was walking in here. You feel younger, you're more alive. It's so cool. It's happening so much. Everything is like -- this is the heartbeat of the world, not just the heartbeat of America. This is like the great -- isn't it, sweetie? It's...
J. KASICH: Yeah, I mean, it's so fantastic.
J. KASICH: I love New York, you know?
COOPER: You got a prom dress here.
K. KASICH: That's right (inaudible) more than that, but...
J. KASICH: I didn't -- I didn't understand that. And I bring my daughters here. When we come, we have nice food, we go to see a show. Everybody's raving about "Hamilton" now. You know, I mean, this is a great, great place. And it's great to visit, right?
(UNKNOWN): We loved it.
J. KASICH: It's so exciting. And there's so much more -- you never do enough. I've never been to Ellis Island. Can you imagine that? I can't wait to go to Ellis...
R. KASICH: Yeah, we were going to do that but then it...
J. KASICH: We just -- we couldn't do it. So I didn't understand that. Look, there's another issue going on.
J. KASICH: Let's just talk about the elephant in the room. This is business of, you know, about -- I'm a traditional marriage guy. OK, I believe a man and a woman. But I went home one day, I said, sweetie, we've been invited to a gay wedding. This was after the court. I said, what do you think? And she said, well, I'm going, I don't know if you are or not.
And we went. And, look, here's the thing. We may disagree with something about people's lifestyles and all those kinds of things. We may disagree. But you know what? Let's try to understand each other a little bit. What are we going to do, write a law?
I read about this thing they did in Mississippi where apparently you can deny somebody service because they're gay? What the hell are we doing in this country? I mean, look, I may not appreciate a certain lifestyle or even approve of it, but I can -- that doesn't mean I've got to go write a law and try to figure out how to have another wedge issue.
Because one of the things that's happening on this issue itself is that there are politicians that are using it to get publicity, which ultimately divides us. We had a Supreme Court ruling. And you know what? Let's move on. Let's move on from where we are.
I don't know if that's what he was talking about. But, you know, I just..
COOPER: So the argument that's made in Mississippi, North Carolina, that this is about religious freedom, you don't necessarily buy that? When it's a private business.
J. KASICH: Look, here's what I would tell you. I think if you're a photographer, OK, and you are a deep Christian and you object to going to a gay wedding, OK. So somebody comes in, and they say, OK, we want you to be our photographer. Photographer says, you know, I'd really not be comfortable doing that, if I were trying to arrange a gay wedding, I might go down the street to another photographer. Why do I needle to raise all this Cain about this?
And frankly, if I'm selling cupcakes, why don't I just sell a cupcake? That's what I do in commerce. It gets to be a tricky thing about how much you involve somebody against some deeply held belief. But most of the time, I think we can accommodate one another. Don't you? I think -- sweetie, we can accommodate one another even when we can have some profound differences.
COOPER: I want you to meet Nick Icono (ph). He's from Staten Island. Oh, excuse me. Sorry, David Greco. Here we are. David Greco, he owns -- actually, sorry, he owns Mike's Deli in the Bronx. You visited just last week. And I want to show for our viewers just a couple of pictures of what looks like you eating the most enormous pizza in the entire world. I don't know how much of that you actually ate.
J. KASICH: A lot.
COOPER: I mean, have you eaten since then?
QUESTION: He ate like a New Yorker, I got to tell you the truth.
COOPER: Did he really? OK, well, that's good to know.
J. KASICH: There was the pasta.
(UNKNOWN): He likes to eat. Don't make fun of him.
COOPER: No, I'm not...
J. KASICH: Thank you.
COOPER: I wish I was there. J. KASICH: You know, you wouldn't give me the pasta. You were
holding it out on me. Then the guy behind the counter tried to take it.
COOPER: Are you controlling portions?
J. KASICH: I had a half of a sub, and I had the pasta...
QUESTION: We don't call them subs. They're heroes.
QUESTION: They're heroes. And the truth is...
J. KASICH: I know. OK. I forgot that. But here's the good thing. To make up for what I did in that pizza place in Queens, I ate the pasta with my hands.
COOPER: David's got a question for Mrs. Kasich.
QUESTION: Well, we talked how we're family men. And I was fortunate enough to feed you and see that. He truly has an appetite. We talked how lucky we are with our wives and our children. And I asked the family and you, like, to me, I come home and my family, we break bread every night. That's where we get together and the kids talk. What are the classic Kasich meal? Like, is the Sunday meal important? Is the holiday meal? What's important?
COOPER: Are you looking to cater this?
QUESTION: ... but I want to hear what they do at home.
COOPER: All right.
K. KASICH: Well, I'm not Italian, but John's a big fan of my homemade sauce, so pasta and sauce is a big family favorite. And...
QUESTION: Do you put meat in it?
K. KASICH: Well, sometimes meatballs.
QUESTION: Because if there's meat in it, it's gravy.
K. KASICH: Oh, I didn't know that. Is that an Italian thing? QUESTION: No, it's a real thing.
K. KASICH: All right. So sometimes it's gravy, sometimes it's sauce.
QUESTION: Just curious.
K. KASICH: But it's always popular. You know, homemade mac and cheese. I do a lot of veal dishes. Anything on the grill. I'm the grill master in the family.
COOPER: Governor, can you cook at all?
(UNKNOWN): Oh, no.
COOPER: I should have asked Emma and Reese and they're saying absolutely not.
K. KASICH: The meal time -- when John is home, it's important to us, because that's the time where we get to sit together.
QUESTION: What I feel is, we leave New York, and as New Yorkers, we're spoiled. In Ohio, spaghetti and chili we don't eat in New York. Do you eat fast food? Like, or are you cooking meals? You look super fit. He mentioned how lucky he was. We all got to see that tonight. How do you eat at home?
K. KASICH: We will sometimes do some fast food when John's out of town and we have sports and like that, but I don't serve -- you know, I don't come home with bags from three different places and say, "Dinner is served." I just didn't grow up that way and I can't do that.
COOPER: Thanks for your question. It looks like a lot of fun you guys had at the deli. I want to thank all of you for being with us. This is the first time we've done this, and it was really great to meet you all.
Also thanks to the voters who took the time to be here to bring such interesting questions. Tomorrow night, Donald Trump and his family. Ted Cruz, the next night. Until then, thanks for watching. Time now for "CNN Tonight" with Don Lemon.