Ohio Gov. John Kasich pushed back against attacks from fellow Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush Thursday. Kasich told reporters at a campaign stop in Pawleys Island, S.C., that the former Florida governor has been "trashing people" and damaging the Bush family legacy.
"Jeb is spending all his time being negative," Kasich reportedly said. "Is he worried at all about his legacy? Everything is trashing people.
"He needs to start being more positive," he continued. "I don't know what he's thinking. Does he realize the family legacy? Spending all your time being negative?"
"But I don't have time for that," Kasich added. The two-term Ohio governor, who finished second in New Hamsphire's first-in-the-nation primary on Tuesday, has prided himself on running a positive campaign. This month, he slammed New Day for America, a super PAC supporting his presidential bid, for releasing an ad that criticized Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Kasich's comments Thursday come 24 hours after Bush criticized Kasich during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." The Florida Republican billed himself as "the most conservative governor" left in the 2016 race while painting his opponent as a moderate due to his decision to expand Medicaid in Ohio, enabling more residents to enroll in Obamacare.
"John's a good man, he's served as governor in the state of Ohio, he's done a good job," Bush told host Joe Scarborough. "But his record is not nearly as good as mine. And the one telling thing that he did, apart from not really focusing on rebuilding the military, is that when he had a chance, he expanded Obamacare through Medicaid.
"He'll have to explain that down here," Bush added, referring to South Carolina, which is next to hold its primary on Feb. 20. "People want [Obamacare] repealed. They don't want it expanded."
"I am for repealing Obamacare," Kasich told reporters Thursday. "But expanding Medicaid at this point, bringing our dollars back, is working. It's saving money and it's saving lives. And that's what really matters at the end of the day."
Kasich and Bush are third and fifth, respectively, in the latest Washington Examiner presidential power rankings. The two governors, and four other GOP hopefuls, will face off in the eighth Republican primary debate in Greenville, S.C., this Saturday on CBS.