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Published: Friday, 1/7/2011

Kasich admits error on media access

COLUMBUS — Governor-elect John Kasich Thursday said he made a mistake when his team initially tried to limit media access to his true swearing-in ceremony and other inaugural activities.

“The press decided to send me a message, and message received,'' he told reporters. “I think it was a legitimate message you sent.''

The original plan was for Mr. Kasich to take the real oath of office at 12:01 a.m. Monday in his private Westerville home north of Columbus with no media allowed.

Now the official event will be held in Ohio Senate chambers and will be witnessed by the media and well-wishers.

He said he changed position “when I began to realize how important this was to everybody.''

“I'm going to make more mistakes,'' he said. “... This was one we really should have actually avoided. I kind of see this as losing my mulligan. I should get a mulligan on a more important issue than this.''

A “mulligan'' is a golf term that essentially means a free do-over of a bad shot.

Mr. Kasich attributed the backlash to the private swearing-in, as well as restrictions initially placed on the media when it came to covering the inaugural gala and other events, to a “bumper-car game'' he has engaged in with reporters in recent weeks.

The Republican governor-elect has criticized state transparency and open government laws as applied to those seeking jobs with his administration, saying it made it difficult for him to attract high-quality talent to state government.

Reporters had sought the resumes of job applicants. Mr. Kasich initially resisted, but ultimately determined the law will require them to be made public once he takes office Monday.

He said he did not play a major role in inaugural planning and indicated the private swearing-in was presented to him as a convenience.

“My kids won't be able to wear their pajamas,'' he said.

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