The first direct back-and-forth between the Kasich and Strickland camps was reported by the Columbus Dispatch this morning.
A day after Republican John R. Kasich accused him of going to Washington “on his hands and his knees with a tin cup begging” for federal stimulus money to fix the state’s budget woes, Gov. Ted Strickland fired back with a challenge:
What would you have done?
Kasich said that if he were governor, the state would have been restructuring government and not be in a position to need that much in stimulus money to balance the budget.
Pressed in an interview about whether he would have refused to accept any stimulus money, Kasich said he would have taken only enough “to fix temporary problems” — and not use it to delay tough choices for later budgets.
“The first thing we’ve got to do is stabilize the patient,” Kasich said. “The patient is in the ditch, and Strickland wants to give him an aspirin. That’s not going to work.”
Strickland’s camp responded with an eight-word statement, “Oh, ok. Well, I guess I coulda done that.”
Alright, I made that last part up. But Kasich’s response was quite a smackdown of the same retread question Strickland has been uttering for months.
You’re gonna have to do better than that, Ted.