No. Pope Francis, the world leader of the Catholic faith, said unambiguously in his address to the US Congress on Sept. 24, 2015, that "the golden rule reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development. This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred. Society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty."
Kasich can say he supports the death penalty, but he cannot accurately say that doing so is consistent with his Catholic faith.
KASICH: I've never heard it until right now. I have a lot of respect for Bill Bratton, but I will also tell you that Americans want to defend themselves. And that what we really need to focus on firearms right now is making sure that states use their databases to upload the people who have mental illnesses. And if we want to examine people who are on terrorist watch lists and not let them buy a gun, it's something that ought to be considered. It's the first I've ever heard of it.
KASICH: The Western ethic, what is it about? It's about life, it's about equality of women, it's about the freedom of religion. I'm not talking about going to church. I proposed some time ago a comprehensive plan to deal with ISIS, including boots on the ground, a coalition including Arabs, etc. But we have to also engage in the battle of ideas when we have many people looking for meaning in life somewhere other than Western civilization.
Q: One of the criticisms, though, is that you're making a clash of civilizations argument.
KASICH: We want to agree and work together with people who share the view that the path to murder does not get you to paradise. When we win the military battle, what comes next? What we've got to make sure of is that we stop the radicalization of people.
KASICH: The head of the Hispanic Chamber said he appreciated my comments. And as you know, having followed me through this race, I've had a very reasonable position on immigration. I've always said that Hispanics are such a critical part of the fabric of the United States. They occupy jobs from top to bottom. They're God fearing and they're hard working. And if I need to clarify what I meant by that, I'm more than glad to do it. And that means that they hold very important positions. I've got a friend who's a doctor in oncology. I mean, that shows you how crazy it can get in this business. But to be clear, I believe that, from top to bottom, Hispanics play a critical role in America, not only today, but going forward.
KASICH: We need to respect our basic institutions, whether it's the presidency, teachers, our ministers, or our rabbis. We need to have great respect or the country begins to come undone. And so, I may not agree with the president, but I respect the office, and I respect the fact that he is the president of the United States.
Q: Would you ever have a problem with a Muslim becoming president?
KASICH: You know, I mean, that's such a hypothetical question. The answer is, at the end of the day, you've got to go through the rigors, and people will look at everything. But, for me, the most important thing about being president is you have leadership skills, you know what you're doing, and you can help fix this country and raise this country. Those are the qualifications that matter to me.
KASICH: Well, I think radical Islam really is number one. And, you know, I've said all along we should have a coalition. We should be there, including boots on the ground. And we need to degrade and destroy ISIS. Number one.
Q: You would be sending more troops?
KASICH: Well, I would have them in a role where they're going to be on the ground fighting. I mean, you've got the air power, but you can't solve anything just with air power. But I would be part of a coalition and I would take them down and begin to destroy the caliphate.
KASICH: What I support is a guest worker program expanded so people can come in and then go home. Seal the border. There are some interest groups that don't want the border to be sealed.
Q: What does "seal the border" mean, though?
KASICH: You do it with fencing and you do it with technology, drones and sensors. And, you know, Duncan Hunter in San Diego has significantly reduced the number of people coming across the border because of his initiatives on fencing. So do as best you can there. I've been told by grownups, real experts, that most of this can be done effectively. Guest worker program, the 12 million that are here, if they violated the law, they're going to have to pay a fine and pay a penalty for the fact that they violated the law. But, you know, if they're part of our culture now and society, and they're doing fine, they're hardworking, they're just like all of us, then I think they can stay.
KASICH: I don't agree with that. Look, we're just looking for the drugs that we need to administer it. And in this debate, sometimes we forget the victims. Listen, I review all these cases. And to some people I've said we will let them stay for life in prison if I wasn't certain of who did what. But I've had these grieving families come to see me. And look, it's about justice. It isn't about revenge, it's about justice. And I support the death penalty and will continue to do that, because a lot of times, families want closure when they see justice done.
Q: What about religious objection to the death penalty?
KASICH: I think it's consistent with my Catholic faith. If I didn't, I'd have to exorcise it. But look, at the end of the day, I'm also a secular official, right? I'm also the governor. Now, it doesn't mean that my faith doesn't influence me. But I have a job to do as administrator of the state of Ohio.
A: You know, look, that's past history. Wall Street is necessary. Because it helps move the financial operations of America forward. But I'll tell you the problem with Wall Street. It's too much about, "I've got to make money." There's too much greed. If all you seek is money without values, then you're bankrupt. And so what I think is our financial community has to realize that there's a moral underpinning. Free enterprise and free markets are exactly what we ought to have in America. But there has to be a conscience that underlays it.
Q: Anything positive to say about Lehman?
A: The greatest thing I got from Lehman is I spent a lot of time in the Silicon Valley. And when I went out there, I could see the future. And that's what we have to be about in America, bringing ourselves together, innovating, you know, in terms of innovation and vision.
The above quotations are from Meet the Press interviews during 2015|
(David Gregory interviewing candidates for 2015 and 2016 races).
Click here for other excerpts from Meet the Press interviews during 2015
(David Gregory interviewing candidates for 2015 and 2016 races).
Click here for other excerpts by John Kasich.
Click here for a profile of John Kasich.
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