Republican presidential candidate John Kasich addressed a crowd at Bryant University Saturday, just a few days before Rhode Island's presidential primary.
Speaking on a range of issues, the Ohio governor discussed his childhood in Pennsylvania coal country, his concerns about the national debt, and his belief that government should ease regulation to help small business owners.
"Our job is not to play politics, do focus groups, worry about re-election," Kasich said. "The fundamental problem we’ve had in America is our leadership has been very poor."
Kasich maintained a relaxed tone during the hour-long appearance, cracking several jokes and engaging in a question-answer session with the audience. To thunderous applause, he criticized the negative tone of this year's campaigns, calling the personal attacks "garbage."
"Win with ideas or go home. It’s that simple," Kasich said.
When pressed about his status in third place in the Republican presidential race, Kasich said he’s looking forward to an interesting Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He suggested his goal is to win as many delegates as possible before the convention. Kasich portrayed himself as the only candidate with a chance of beating Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in November.
"They just did a survey in New Hampshire, it had Hillary Clinton at 50 and Donald Trump at 31. It had Hillary Clinton at 48 and Ted Cruz at 34," said Kasich "And the other poll had Hillary Clinton at 36 and I was at 50."
Many spectators at the rally wore Kasich stickers and said they were there to support the candidate. But a number of people said they remain undecided going into Tuesday's primary.
"My vote’s up in the air," said Bryant student and Connecticut resident Raymond Anastasio. I think a lot of people’s votes are up in the air. It’s time for them to say specific things to bring us in."
When asked what he needed to hear from a candidate to win his vote, Anastasio said, "something very specific about how we’re going to move the economy."