John Kasich on the Truth-O-Meter
Ohio Gov. John Kasich suspended his long-shot presidential campaign May 4, on the heels of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who dropped out the night before. Their moves came after Donald Trump won a decisive victory in the May 3 Indiana primary, sealing his spot as the presumptive Republican nominee.
Here is a snapshot of Kasich’s Truth-O-Meter scorecard on the night he pulled out. (See the current state of his scorecard, which updates automatically as we publish new fact-checks.)
Here at PolitiFact, we’ve been fact-checking Kasich since 2010, when he ran for governor against the Democrat incumbent Ted Strickland. He won that election and was re-elected in 2014.
We awarded Kasich a Pants on Fire for his first fact-check of the current presidential cycle for incorrectly quoting Abraham Lincoln. Kasich said, "You cannot build a little guy up by tearing a big guy down — Abraham Lincoln said it."
The true author is Rev. William J. H. Boetcker, born eight years after Lincoln was killed. The axiom has been mistakenly attributed to Lincoln for decades. Additionally, Kasich used the idea to support his position against raising taxes on the wealthy. Lincoln, however, instituted the first-ever federal income tax, and it was progressive.
Kasich also later misquoted President Harry Truman.
Throughout his presidential campaign, Kasich has repeatedly touted the fact that he was "one of the chief architects" of balancing the federal budget while in Congress. We rated that Mostly True because Kasich has a long track record of pushing for a balanced budget, and contemporary accounts from 1997 place him very much at the center of the action.
We rated False, however, his claims that Ohio’s credit rating is "as high as you can get, AA+." In fact, 15 other states currently hold the even-higher AAA credit rating. And a Kasich ad’s claim that as governor, he "delivered the largest tax cut in the nation" was Mostly False.
Kasich was also the target of attacks. Trump said Kasich "got lucky with a thing called fracking," which "is why Ohio is doing well." Though Ohio underwent a fracking boom in recent years, Trump overstated its impact on Ohio’s economy. Not even the drillers themselves backed Trump’s claim. We rated it False.
Interestingly, Kasich recently bragged about what an unpopular governor he was at first. "After my first year as governor, I was one of the most unpopular governors, maybe the most unpopular governor in the country," he said. "It changed."
We rated that claim, his last as a 2016 presidential candidate, True.