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Aaron Gould Sheinin
Greg Bluestein

John Kasich scoffs at calls to quit in Georgia visit

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John Kasich at Kennesaw State University. AJC Photo/Hyosub Shin

John Kasich at Kennesaw State University. AJC Photo/Hyosub Shin

Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Tuesday in campaign stops in Georgia that calls for him to clear the way for Marco Rubio are nonsensical.

After speaking to the Georgia House and Senate, Kasich said the Politico story that quotes Rubio supporters urging Kasich to drop out has it backwards. Those Rubio backers believe Kasich’s exit would coalesce establishment support around the Florida senator.

“I would hope they would be clearing the decks for me,” he said. “I’ve spent the least amount of money and am rising in the polls. I can win my home state. Why would I clear the decks for them? They ought to be consolidating around me.”

READ MORE: Kasich is buoyant among skeptics in Georgia

Kasich guaranteed a win in his home state primary on March 15, despite a poll released Tuesday that showed him trailing Donald Trump in Ohio.

“Everybody is getting slaughtered in their state and we’re within the margin of error,” he said. “We’re going to win Ohio, there’s no question about it. … The last thing I worry about is how we’re going to do in Ohio. We’re going to win Ohio.”

But at a town hall meeting at Kennesaw State University, Kasich seemed more blasé about his political future.

“I don’t know if my purpose is to be president. My purpose is to be out here, doing what I think I need to be doing,” he said. “We’ll see where it ends up. If it’s not this crusade, then it will be another one. Maybe it will be a really small one somewhere in my kid’s school. Who knows?”

He added:

“I’ve already won. When I have newspapers across the country saying this is a guy who can pull it together, when I have Democrats saying this is a guy I could support like Reagan, when I come to an event at Kennesaw State, man it’s icing on the cake,” he said, adding: “I’m the last governor standing. I think I’ve done pretty well.”

He was stopped cold when Janet McCoy, a retired Cobb County teacher, pointed out that the few hundred or so supporters who crowded into the Kennesaw State student center paled in comparison to the more than 6,300 that Donald Trump drew in downtown Atlanta on Sunday.

“Your campaign hasn’t captured the imagination of the American people,” she said. “That’s why you’re at where you’re at.”

He responded in stride.

“I’m here. There’s about 12 of them that didn’t make it here. So something must be working. In the era of the 24 (hour) news cycle, I’m just not going to go out there and do something to just grab attention,” he said to applause. “You got to get on the phone and call people. Because you know what, miracles do happen.”

Meanwhile, Kasich chief adviser John Weaver circulated a memo detailing why the candidate isn’t going anywhere.

Here’s a passage:

General Election Match-up: Lost amid the media-driven narrative is the fact that Governor Kasich is the candidate best positioned to defeat Hillary Clinton in November. Make no mistake, Hillary Clinton will be the Democrats’ nominee. Polling and common-sense dictate that Kasich is the candidate who can win. In the most recent national matchup he leads Secretary Clinton by 11 points, which would translate into an electoral landslide.  He has a unique appeal to swing voters in industrial states and has unique ability to expand the map by competing in Northeastern states where the GOP has struggled in recent Presidential elections.

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