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John Kasich skewers Donald Trump's "silly" rigged election claims

Former Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich is hitting back against the claim that the election is “rigged” -- an allegation that GOP nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly made in recent days.

When asked in an interview with “CBS This Morning” early Wednesday whether he believed Trump’s assertion of a cooked election was correct, Kasich replied with an emphatic “no.”

“Look, to say that elections are rigged and all these votes are stolen -- that’s like saying we never landed on the moon, frankly,” said Kasich. “That’s how silly it is.”  

The Ohio governor further criticized Trump’s position for sowing paranoia about the integrity of democratic institutions.

“I don’t think it’s good for our country, for our democracy, and I don’t believe we have any massive fraud,” Kasich said. “We don’t have that. That’s just a silly argument.”

“The problem is it does create doubt in people’s minds and I worry about 25 percent of Americans who may say when the election’s over that it was stolen,” he added. “That is a big, fat joke.”

Kasich joins the growing chorus of voices blasting Trump’s unfounded claims -- a group that includes House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican.

Ryan’s spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement earlier this week that the speaker “is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity.”

Kasich, who spoke with “CBS This Morning” about the economy and trade, weighed in on the benefits of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), calling the need to pass it a high priority for Congress.

“If we don’t approve this, frankly, who wins?” Kasich asked of the trade deal, which includes the United States and 11 other Pacific rim countries. 

To refuse TPP, he went on, “is really a big mistake not only from an economic point of view but also from the standpoint of geo-politics.”

Kasich, responding to the anti-TPP positions of both presidential candidates, posited that “there is an opportunity in the lame duck” session of Congress “if the Republican leadership wants to push and the Democrats want to provide some votes.”

“It doesn’t matter what the presidential candidates say, and frankly candidates say one thing when they’re running and they change their minds later,” he said.

“The real question is, how hard will the president push for this? And look, I’m going to do everything I can to help the White House on this for the simple reason that this is in the best interest of the United States.”

Kasich also declined to state who he would vote for in November, having said he would not support either his party’s ticket or Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do yet,” he said, before jokingly addressing “CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose. “I might write your name in, Charlie.”