DETROIT (CBS Detroit) A few weeks ago, Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Michigan was basically a do or die state for him in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
Calling in to speak live to the WWJ Newsradio 950 morning show with Tom Jordan and Roberta Jasina, Kasich said simply, “We’ll see where we are at the end of the night.”READ MORE: Detroit Community Leaders Break Ground On New Community Center In Jefferson Chalmers
The interview briefly became contentious when Jasina asked him where he stood on the potential legalization of marijuana at the federal level, which Kasich said he was “definitely opposed to.”
She also asked him he had ever smoked marijuana — the question that dogged former president Bill Clinton on the campaign trail. And the query seemed to upset the candidate.
First refusing to answer, Kasich objected to what he called a “gotcha question.” He countered by asking Jasina if she had ever smoked marijuana.
“I’m not running for president,” the news anchor said, adding “Did you ever smoke it?”
“Let me ask you this, what is the relevance of what I might have done 30 years ago? I mean this is not what matters when we pick a president,” Kasich said. “What really matters is ‘Is this somebody that can create jobs? Is this somebody that knows how to command the military, conduct foreign policy. I think to some degree the course of running for president is a series of ‘gotcha questions.”
He added that he remembered when Supreme Court nominee Douglas Ginsburg had to withdraw his nomination in 1987 after admitting he had smoked pot a few times in the 1960s and 1970s. “Isn’t that silly?” Kasich asked.
Eventually Kasich conceded, “yes, I did smoke marijuana when I was younger. But there’s gonna be a limit on the amount of ‘gotcha’ questions I’m gonna answer as we go forward in this campaign.”
Jasina argued that marijuana legalization is an issue in Michigan, and Kasich said he thinks legalization is a terrible idea because “we have a curse in this country related to drugs.”
“People in Michigan are not going to legalize marijuana,” he added.
Moving on, they talked about economic issues and whether Gov. Rick Snyder should resign over the Flint water crisis. Kasich said Snyder should not resign, but suggested Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton should.READ MORE: AAA: Michigan's Average Gas Price Continues To Rise, 1 Cent Below National
“When you live in a glass house, be careful about throwing stones,” he said, referencing Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account in the course of government business.
Back to Snyder, he said, “Another thing that I would tell you guys is I’m sure Snyder has had many sleepless nights, I’m sure he goes over in his mind again and again as to what he could have done or should have done or whatever. I’ve no doubt about it. But listen, when you’re running a big operation there are going to be things that happen that are out of your control.”
“Things will happen when you have 50,000 employees … A little perspective always matters,” he added.
Creating jobs and economic security are the thrust of his message and campaign platform, and he says he’s proud of his town hall style appearances.
“I get out there, take questions, have a lot of fun, speak candidly about things and I think all of that together, plus a very, very strong grassroots organization has give us momentum. But we’ll see where we are at the end of the night,” he told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Tom Jordan Tuesday morning in a live interview that covered many topics.
Running for president is a long, exhausting journey, so is he tired?
He briefly seemed to indicate the answer was “yes,” saying he had experienced late nights, then moved on to this: “How difficult is it? You think about the people that are in the military, I like to think back to old St. Paul, he got stoned and beaten and all he was doing was trying to spread the good news. All I’ve got to do is speak, nobody’s throwing stones at me so it’s fine.”
Running for president is a privilege, he added, saying, “My mother and father, my dad who carried mail and my mother’s mother who couldn’t even barely speak English. I mean, my mom and dad are probably looking down and saying ‘We can’t believe this is happening with our son.'”
Kasich is trailing Donald Trump in the Michigan primary polls and staying ahead of fellow Republican presidential contenders Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.
Three weeks ago, Kasich came to Michigan and emphasized the importance of today’s primary. “We have to do really, really well in this state,” he said, “or I have to roll up the carpets and go back,” according to the New York Times.
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