The last time Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, his second-place finish in New Hampshire was still more than three months away. With a hard road ahead of him in a race dominated by the likes of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, Kasich returned to the show Wednesday night to make his case to the American people as the most reasonable choice of the final six Republicans.
After Marco Rubio celebrated third place in Iowa and Kasich hyped his second-place finish in New Hampshire, Colbert wanted to know, “How is losing winning?”
Insisting that he is on a “rocket ship” after the New Hampshire primary, Kasich touted his “positive” message compared to the negativity of Trump and Cruz. “People are getting tired of the negative,” he said, ignoring the fact that the two most negative candidates are in the lead. “I think people want to know what the solutions are.”
But all Colbert could hear was Kasich’s declaration that he’s a “positive” person. “What’s your positive vision for America?” he asked. The candidate didn’t quite convince him with his promises to balance the budget and cut taxes.
Things became more pointed when Colbert pivoted to the current debate over President Obama’s right to nominate a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died over the weekend. Should Kasich become president and have 330 days left in his term when a justice passed, Colbert asked him, would he look at the Constitution, see the words, “the president shall,” and go, “maybe later?”
Decrying the partisan rancor that erupted before Scalia’s body was cold, Kasich said the country ought to “wait until we have an election” to select a new justice. To which Colbert fired back, “We had an election in 2012.”
But because he is “tired of all the fighting,” Kasich said he thinks Obama should essentially abdicate his responsibility.
Before letting his guest go, Colbert warned him that “they like fighting down there” in South Carolina. That may be why Kasich, who won’t even be in South Carolina for the primary, is polling behind Jeb Bush in that state.