John Kasich has been running for president on a one-state strategy thus far, and that one state is New Hampshire. The Ohio governor was the first candidate to begin running television ads in the state, and he has all but ignored the rest of the early nominating contests in hopes of a strong performance in the nation’s first primary tonight.
And during Saturday’s debate, Kasich turned in what was by all rights one of his stronger performances. As in, he didn’t get bodied by Donald Trump, and he was able to successfully stake out an ideological position somewhere between moderate an insane.
However, when MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough mentioned that, in the 22 years that they’ve known each other (they served together as Republican congressmen in 1994), Saturday night was the “most relaxed” he had ever seen Kasich, the wheels came off a bit:
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Said Kasich (at about the 2:20 mark):
It finally came through on Saturday night. Want me to tell you what I did? Before I went to the debate — we didn’t do a lot of preparation. I said, lord, you took me up to the top of the mountain. I’m gonna have to walk down. Don’t let me walk alone. And he didn’t, he helped me out.
Met with dumbfounded silence by Scarborough, Kasich added a “how’dya like that?” to assure the host that, yes, that was it. Kasich’s only explanation for his strong debate performance was that he asked God very nicely to help him wing it.
As Mediaite’s J.D. Durkin pointed out this morning, the Iowa caucuses were last week, when you can get a lot more mileage out of attributing all of your successes and none of your failures to the man upstairs. New Hampshire Republicans are conservative, yes, but they aren’t quite that religious.
Though that may not mean much to the candidate who once suggested that the best way to defeat the Islamic State would be to set up a government agency dedicated to promoting Christian propaganda.