Fact-checking John Kasich

Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks after being sworn in for his second term on Jan. 12, 2015, in Columbus.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks after being sworn in for his second term on Jan. 12, 2015, in Columbus.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is set to announce his presidential candidacy in an appearance at Ohio State University on July 21. The Republican won office in 2010 by defeating incumbent Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, then won reelection easily in 2014, taking 64 percent of the vote. Earlier in his career, he spent 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He’s known as a policy wonk and what Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., once called "hair-trigger temper."

PolitiFact has fact-checked Kasich 51 times, most of them by our former affiliate, PolitiFact Ohio, during his tenure as governor. As of today, the majority of his ratings (51 percent) have been True or Mostly True. Eighteen percent were False or Pants on Fire.

Here’s an updated summary:

Our most recent fact check of Kasich stemmed from an appearance on Fox News in January 2015, when he attributed the following quote to Abraham Lincoln: "You can’t build a little guy up by tearing a big guy down." We found that the quote actually stems from a 1916 leaflet by a politically laissez-faire reverend. We rated Kasich’s claim Pants on Fire.

Kasich has also repeatedly touted his bipartisan credentials during his tenure as governor. For instance, he claimed in 2012 that most of his bills received support from both parties in the legislature. We found that Kasich had in fact made significant inroads toward bipartisan support during his term as governor, notably in budget bills. We rated his statement Mostly True.

Back in 2010, when Kasich faced a fierce election campaign against Strickland, he claimed that President Barack Obama "came in and campaigned against me 12 times." But we found that this claim wasn’t quite right: Obama did visit Ohio a dozen times, but mostly to push specific policies such health care and economic stimulus, rather than to stump for Strickland specifically. We rated Kasich’s claim Mostly False.

Kasich was also at loggerheads with Obama over the efficacy of the car industry bailout. In 2012, the governor contended that, of the 73,000 jobs created in Ohio the previous year, only 1,800 "direct jobs" were in the auto industry. Kasich chose his words carefully enough that he was right, though he may have understated the impact of the bailout on related fields and within a larger timeframe. We rated his statement Mostly True.

Though Kasich opposed the Affordable Care Act, he did endorse an expansion of Medicaid, arguing that without one, 275,000 Ohioans could get their primary care in emergency rooms, costing "everybody a lot of money." While we found that he may have exaggerated the cost but that the 275,000 figure was just about right. We rated his claim Mostly True.

Another area where Kasich loves to brandish his conservative credentials is tax policy. In 2011, he said Ohio had the seventh highest tax rate in the country. We found that he was using outdated information and that, depending on which source is used, Ohio is either sixteenth or eighteenth. We rated the statement False.

In the same year, Kasich -- who waged a battle against public-sector unions -- also claimed that federal workers have "zippo, zero" ability to collectively bargain. We discovered that, while federal workers generally cannot bargain for pay or benefits, they can bargain over other issues, such as working conditions. We rated his statement Mostly False.

Kasich has also discussed his state’s prison system, telling a group of reporters in 2010, "I think [a little] less than half of the people in our prisons are in there for less than a year." We found that the numbers supported him: in 2009, 48 percent of the people put in Ohio’s prison system were there for less than a year. We rated the claim True.

Finally, Kasich’s knowledge of past presidential elections appears sound. In 2010, his website said that the winner of Ohio in the general election "has won the presidency 25 out of 27 times." This was correct: The only two exceptions were 1944 and 1960. We rated the statement True. (The 2012 election hewed to this pattern.)