John Kasich: King for a Day?

John Kasich has New Hampshire all for himself on Monday, as his rivals in the Republican presidential primaries focused on getting out the vote in the Iowa caucuses.

To that end, Kasich made it apparent to his supporters and the growing number of reporters covering his 88th town hall meeting that he is upbeat and optimistic about his chances in the first-in-the-nation primary next week.

As John Sununu Jr. introduced the Ohio Governor to the more than 100 people gathered at a country club in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Kasich hung out in the back of the room, shaking hands with reporters and cracking jokes. As he took a gulp from a 16 oz cup of water, Kasich turned to this reporter and joked: “God, this is vodka! I thought this was water.”

“I am having a lot of fun,” Kasich remarked as he took the mic. “We are doing well. The Lord works in mysterious ways.”

Indeed, the Republican presidential has a reason or two for sounding upbeat. According to the RealClearPolitics.com polling average, Kasich is polling in second place in New Hampshire with 12 percent, behind Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump at 32 percent.

During the next hour, Kasich dropped a dozen or more jokes while discussing the debt, job growth, healthcare and bipartisanship. At one point, he quipped that now that he brought down the debt and created over 400,000 jobs in his home state of Ohio, he’s working on killing deaths. Discussing healthcare costs, Kasich said it’s easier to translate the Dead Sea Scrolls than reading a hospital bill.

Kasich will not be the only candidate spending caucus night in New Hampshire. Jeb Bush and Chris Christie are expected to hold town hall events later this evening. As the event drew to a close, Kasich called on his rivals to drop the negative TV ads and spend the next week campaigning across the state in a positive tone.

“If I am not going to get elected as president, I am going to blame all of you in this room,” Kasich quipped as he concluded his town hall meeting.

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