Kasich: 'Real hard' to win Ohio without unifying message
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Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) said it would be “real hard” for Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpLev Parnas implicates Rick Perry, says Giuliani had him pressure Ukraine to announce Biden probe Saudi Arabia paid 0 million for cost of US troops in area Parnas claims ex-Trump attorney visited him in jail, asked him to sacrifice himself for president MORE to win the battleground state of Ohio without a unifying message. 

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"I think it's real hard if you don't have a unifying message. And if you go too hard one way or the other, it's very difficult to win. So if you're not a unifier, it's a real challenge," he said.

Kasich, who ended his presidential campaign in May, has refrained from endorsing Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, and decided to skip the Republican National Convention — even though it’s happening in his home state. 

Earlier Monday, ahead of the convention kickoff, Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort said Kasich is embarrassing the Buckeye State by skipping out on the Cleveland event.

“He’s making a big mistake,”  Manafort said on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe." "He’s hurting his state. … He’s embarrassing his state, frankly. Most of the Republicans who aren’t coming are people who’ve been part of the past. People who are part of the future of the Republican Party are going to be here and participate in the program.”

Responding Monday night in the NBC News interview, Kasich said he had a simple reaction. 

"When I heard about it, I laughed. Look, Ohio's doing great and, you know, people in the state, at least today, still like me, and that's just politics."

When asked if his refusal to endorse Trump implied a tacit endorsement of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFormer Vermont Governor: Sanders 'will play dirty' NYT: Justice investigating alleged Comey leak of years-old classified info New Hampshire state lawmaker switches support from Warren to Klobuchar MORE, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Kasich said it did not. 

"You know, my concern about Hillary is she panders. ... That's not what we need in the country," he said. 
"We need this country to come together with real solutions, stop dividing people, stop scapegoating people, and let's see some real leadership."