John Kasich went on the offensive against frontrunners Ben Carson and Donald Trump at the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night, criticizing some of their proposed reforms as “fantasy.”
“I’m the only person on this stage that was actually involved in the chief architect of balancing the budget,” he said. “You can’t do it with empty promises. These plans would put us trillions and trillions of dollars in debt. I actually have a plan, I’m the only one on this stage that has a plan that would create jobs, cut taxes, balance the budget, and can get it done because I’m realistic.”
“You don’t just make promises like this,” he added. “Why don’t we just give a chicken in every pot while we’re coming up with these fantasy tax schemes.”
The remarks come after the Ohio governor came out swinging against his Republican opponents in his first answer, criticizing Carson’s plan on Medicare and Medicaid and Trump’s plan on immigration.
“I’ve watched and seen people say that we should dismantle Medicare and Medicaid and leave our senior citizens out in the cold,” he said in a response to a question about his own biggest weaknesses. “I’ve heard them talk about deporting 10 or 11 people here from this country out of this country, splitting families. I’ve heard about tax schemes that don’t add up, that put our kids in a deeper hole than they’re in today. We need somebody who can lead, we need someone who can balance budgets, cut taxes. Frankly, I did it in Washington and Ohio and I’ll do it again in Washington if I’m president to get this country moving again.
Kasich’s comments Wednesday followed a line of attack from the day before.
“I’ve about had it with these people,” Kasich said Tuesday at a rally in Westerville, Ohio, according to Politico. “We got one candidate that says we ought to abolish Medicaid and Medicare. You ever heard of anything so crazy as that? Telling our people in this country who are seniors, who are about to be seniors that we’re going to abolish Medicaid and Medicare?” That was a particular dig at neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who is leading in the Iowa polls and has said he would support eviscerating Medicare. He also took swings at Donald Trump, saying that his plan to evict 10-11 million undocumented immigrants was “crazy. That is just crazy.”
“We got people proposing health care reform that’s going to leave, I believe, millions of people without adequate health insurance,” Kasich said. “What has happened to our party? What has happened the conservative movement?”