The Corner

Politics & Policy

Kasich on Abortion

On CNN, Dana Bash asked Ohio governor John Kasich about his opposition to abortion, and then about whether Marco Rubio and Scott Walker’s positions on the issue would make them unelectable.

BASH:  And you know, because you were standing on the stage, two of your competitors, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, said they’re for no exceptions. [I am not sure it is true that Rubio has said he opposes life-of-the-mother exceptions.–RP]  Does that make [them unelectable]?

KASICH:  Look, I think, no matter what your position is on the issue, you have to respect for people.  And I do.  And it’s an issue that people have a right to have a different point of view.  So…

BASH:  Do you think that they would be – either would be electable against a Democrat supporting abortion with no exceptions?

KASICH:  Well, I think that it’s an important issue, but I think there’s many other issues that are really critical, early childhood, infant mortality, the environment, education.  I think we focus too much on just one issue.  And now that the issue of gay marriage is kind of off the table, we’re kind of down to one social issue, you know?

BASH:  Well, but it’s one that matters to – in a lot of people’s lives.

KASICH:  To a lot of people on both sides.

On twitter, I pointed out that Kasich had said “we focus too much on” abortion when other issues, such as the environment, are “really critical.” This tweet led to some furious pushback from Kasich supporters who complained I was distorting what Kasich had said (even though what I said was accurate, and I linked to a CNN article with context). Some of them seemed to think that I was implying that Kasich cares more about the environment than the unborn, which I wasn’t. I was, well, quoting him, and he seems to think that we focus too much on abortion and not enough on other issues. Anyway, the assumption that bringing attention to this comment will hurt him was shared by a number of other people on twitter, who said that it would doom him. I’m not sure it will even hurt him. A lot of Republicans think the party is too obsessed with abortion, and they are disproportionately part of Kasich’s natural constituency in the primaries, which is relatively liberal Republicans.

(disclosure)

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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