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Kasich denies leaving the GOP: 'The Republican Party left me'
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on Sunday dismissed rumors that he is considering running for president as an independent, telling CNN's Jake Tapper that he is "still a Republican" and that he believes he can bring the party "back" to what it once was.
"I'm still a Republican," Kasich said. "I didn't leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left me."
"We should care about people from top to bottom, not just those at the top, but everybody," he told Tapper. "I can bring that party back. That's what I'm going to do in one way or another."
Kasich touted Ohio's economic situation, saying that just because he is a Republican, he does not feel he has to be "anti-immigrant" or "anti-trade."
"In my state we have balanced budgets, surplus, we're up half a million jobs and then people say, 'Well Kasich's not a conservative.' What does that mean?" he said. "Does that mean I have to be anti-immigrant, anti-trade?"
Speculation has been mounting about Kasich's possible 2020 run, including rumors that he and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) could form a bipartisan ticket, a rumor both Kasich and Hickenlooper have denied.
Kasich, 65, told CNN earlier this year that he is keeping his options open, and even speculated that the U.S. could be "beginning to see the end of a two-party system."