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On a national stage, Kasich boasts of Ohio's success
But Democrats say his "fairytale" leaves out the person who deserves a lot of the credit: President Obama
This story is part of a special series.

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
Gov. John Kasich played larger than life at the convention center in Tampa
Courtesy of M.L. Schultze
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In The Region:

NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the recently retired mayor of Pepper Pike. He is Bruce Akers.

John Kasich’s speech on the floor of the Republican National Convention last night was a celebratory one. The Ohio governor’s critics say it also skated over some painful truths. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more.

Abbreviated version

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SCHULTZE: Two visions of Ohio's economy

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Hours before Ohio Gov. John Kasich delivered a 10-minute speech to the Republican National Convention, he was musing about whether he’d flop or  fly.

“The two at which I’ve spoken didn’t go all that great. And we’ll see. Either we’ll have three in a row of not good talks or maybe the third time is a charm.”

After he was done, the consensus among the Ohio delegates was that John Kasich was charming – by honing in the story of Ohio’s economic recovery after suffering what he often describes as an $8 billion deficit.

Tough decisions
“The actions that we took were not always easy. And the actions that we took were not always popular. But you know what, when you get in public service you must lead and you must do what is necessary. And I want to tell you the good news of where we are today. I told you a minute ago that when we came into office, we were 48th in job creation. You know where we are today? We’re fourth in American in job creation and No. 1 in the Midwest."

Kasich focused solely on economics in his speech. The closest he came to social issues when he spoke of jobs.

“The greatest moral issue in America today is job creation. We had lost 400,000 jobs our people were hurting and our families were hurting as a result of the recession

Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder – who has agreed with Kasich on most things -- was among those praising the speech.

I think he was just outstanding. I think when he gave the numbers on what had happed in Ohio, 48th to 4th , I think that’s the kind of thing that really rings a bell. And we find in our polling that the people know a lot more than they get credit for; a lot of them realize that we’ve really turned a corner.”

A supportive crowd
Of course, most of the Ohio delegates showed up prepared to love the speech. They had center-court seats in the arena. And signs of support weren’t enough. Some held up red balloons spelling out “Ohio” and “Kasich.”

But Democrats back home were not impressed. Just about the time Kasich began his speech, Democrats were texting, tweeting and emailing about Kasich’s “fairytale,” and reminding reporters of the negatives.  

What about the auto bailout?
Ed FitzGerald is Cuyahoga County’s chief executive and a Democrat often mentioned as a likely challenger to Kasich in two years. He prepared a video to rebut Kasich, detailing the role President Obama’s auto bailout in Ohio’s resurgence.

“When those thousands of jobs were at risk, when the industry was literally teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, John Kasich and Mitt Romney had exact same position. Mitt Romney famously said we should let Detroit go bankrupt. And John Kasich called it throwing good money after bad. Rescuing an industry that touches one-in-eight Ohio jobs cannot be called a bad investment.”

FitzGerald also accused Kasich of balancing Ohio’s budget on the backs of local governments and schools.

“Last year, the Kasich budget raided funding to cities, counties and schools. And they diverted it to their own state government. As you would expect, the Kasich budget then created a ripple effect of cuts to techers, police officers and firefighter.

Looking for middle ground
Bruce Akers is an honorary Republican delegate. He’s also the recently retired mayor of Pepper Pike, who had to live with some of those cuts.

“He did cut out some things that hit the cities, like cutting the local government funds in half, killing the estate tax and other unfunded mandates have been passed down. But by the same token, he had pointed out… we have got to cut out some expenses. We could save a lot by reducing a lot of redundancies, by sharing services, by some consolidations and, yes, maybe some mergers.”

Another Ohioan will play on the national stage tomorrow. Ohio’s U.S. Sen. Rob Portman will speak, and, like Kasich, he promises the speech will focus on economics, the debt and tax reform..

(Click image for larger view.)

Listener Comments:

I can understand why farmers, environmentalists and the president would ask that the Keystone pipeline not cross the Ogallala aquifer, which supplies water for the food you eat. Kasich slowed permitting on new injection wells because of the earthquakes. Can you blame him? The environment must be considered, because poisoned water leads to cancer and that costs money too, raising the cost of your health insurance, so your employer can't hire new workers.

Posted by: Fred Pierre (Stow, OH) on September 11, 2012 2:09AM
Voters see that every time something is purchased, the price is escalating, much due to the higher price of gas - Obama boasts of gas production he okayed, when most of this production was private wells, that the feds could not shut down; many wells were shut down, and drilling is denied by this administration. "This is the way it's always been" reply is not accurate - this administration is not representing traditional liberal values - this administration is far left.
Obama's America 2016 movie outlines what the media refuses to reveal - Obama's genealogy/history(although Republican's histories are evaluated minutely by the compliant bias media to see what dirt will stick.)

Posted by: Whose your daddy on August 29, 2012 12:08PM
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