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Political Conventions

Ohio governor to speak about state's economy at GOP convention

Mitt Romney wins Republican nomination

TAMPA —Ohio Gov. John Kasich will cite Ohio as an example of a state economic rebound when he speaks tonight to the Republican National Convention.

Kasich's speech comes shortly after Mitt Romney successfully earned the Republican nomination for president.

Mr. Kasich said he views Ohio under his leadership since January, 2011, as an example for the country because of his philosophy of “balancing the budget, reducing taxes, common sense regulations.”

RELATED: Get more updates at reporter Tom Troy's blog Blade Slices

“It is a philosophy that if you reduce costs and you provide incentives for job creation and you don’t regulate people to death that you can have success. This is sort of the American story from the beginning of the country,” Mr. Kasich said.

He said Republican nominee Mitt Romney views Ohio as “a role model, an example, of how it can work at the national level, and of course that’s terrific.”

Mr. Kasich, in a half-hour interview with mostly Ohio media covering the convention, said he’ll use notes but doesn’t expect to rely on a TelePrompter when he takes the stage for about seven minutes at 8:10 p.m. Today is the first day of business for the convention that ends on Thursday.

He separated himself from the strong family values emphasis expressed in a speech earlier in the day to the Ohio delegation by former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.).

“Those social issues are important but the overriding moral issue in America today is job creation because that’s what makes families successful,” Mr. Kasich said.

Mr. Kasich’s speech plans drew scorn from the Ohio Democratic Party, which said the Ohio economic recovery began before Mr. Kasich took office, due in part to the 2009 Democrat-backed auto industry rescue that the party says protected nearly 850,000 Ohio jobs tied to the auto industry.

“Mitt Romney’s advice to “let Detroit go bankrupt” would have had a devastating impact not only on American auto manufacturers, but also on parts manufacturers spread out in 80 out of 88 Ohio counties. Ohio’s unemployment rate has declined near continuously since January 2010, a full year before Kasich took office,” said party spokesman Jerid Kurtz.

Mr. Kasich said he’s been to every Republican convention since 1976, which he called “the last great convention we ever had.” And he has spoken at two.

“I didn’t do all do that great. Maybe third time is a charm,” Mr. Kasich said. “It’s really hard. What makes it difficult is there’s so much noise and chaos on the convention floor and it’s really hard to break through.”

Mr. Kasich was a congressman from Ohio in 1997 and was chairing the House Budget Committee — the same committee now chaired by Republican vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) — and helped pass a balanced budget.

He said that since he left Congress, the Republican Party lost its way and “became politicians who spent money. Now we have to get back on track.”

He told reporters he’s going to be featured in an upcoming issue of Esquire magazine, “but I’m going to keep my shirt on for that.”

Asked if he will seek a second term in 2014, he said, “I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t.”

Associated Press contributed to this story.

Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.

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