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With news that the RNC(read: McCain’s campaign) is releasing its first negative tv ads in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, we can now certifiably say we know where McCain thinks this race will be won. While Obama has his 50-state strategy, McCain is doing the targeting he needs to with his finite resources.

As my tendencies seem to be as of late, of great curiousity to me is who McCain will select as his Vice President. More important than the individual’s home state is their ability to click with the states McCain has targeted. Does the VP candidate have the right mindset, character and substance to enthuse the Midwest?

So who fits the bill? Palin? Sure. Jindal? Doubt it. Crist? Ha. Romney? HAHAHAHAH!!! Well, how about we consider someone who knows and lives midwestern values….John Kasich.

He was Budget Chair when they balanced the budget for the first time in something like 35 years, for goodness sakes. He’s pro-life. He’s quite clearly acceptable to conservatives of just about all kinds, but with the demeanor, working class background, and even the ethnic name that will help with moderates, independents, Reagan Democrats. Here’s a guy who can help both in Ohio, which he represented, and in Pennsylvania, where he grew up the son of — I believe — a mailman. He has terrific people skills and speaking skills. He helps in Ohio more than Portman does — he’s better known, and represented Ohio longer — and he is SO much more blue-collar, so much less boringly “white bread,” than Portman that the difference is stark. He is better known nationally, too due to his regular hosting of a show on Fox News Channel and due to two reasonably well-selling books.

Now, the problem voters may have with accepting Kasich is that he hasn’t been ‘in the game’, as it were, since 2000. But, his is the kind of personality that can quickly win people over. John is the guy who was there when Republicans were actually proud of their majority, as opposed to how we all felt when we lost that majority two years ago.

Kasich also has to consider his options. Does he even WANT the VP nomination? Clearly, he wants to be President someday. But he first wants to start by helping Ohio out of the mess Taft left it in. That’s why he’s been briskly running all over the state for the past year speaking at Lincoln Day dinner after Lincoln Day dinner. I saw him speak at the Franklin County dinner last year, and my old friends/Ohio political hacks were ready to jump out onto the campaign trail right away for him.

So does accepting the slot get him closer to the Presidency? Obviously, if McCain wins that puts Kasich in the drivers seat in 2016. But what if McCain loses? Does that damage his run for Governor and how will it affect the almost assured primary battle with Rob Portman? Clearly there are lots of variables to consider, but one thing is for sure, John Kasich must be considered for the nomination.

Finally, I must come clean…I’m a former staffer for Mr. Kasich. I’ve tried to analyze this VP possibility without my John Kasich colored sunglasses, but hey, I’m only human.

Two things are for sure, Mr. McCain has several great options to choose from, and the Republican bench is deep, ready and waiting.

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Third Base Politics is an Ohio-centric conservative blog that has been featured at Hot Air, National Review, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and others.

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