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In Mpls., Kasich Slams Obama Over Response To Brussels Attacks

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Republican presidential candidate John Kasich sharply criticized president Barack Obama's handling of the Belgian terror attacks on Tuesday while making a campaign stop in Minneapolis.

Kasich, who is trailing both Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz in the race for the GOP nomination, said the president should have cut short his trip to Cuba and returned immediately to Washington.

"If I were in Cuba right now, the last thing I would be doing is going to a baseball game," the Ohio governor said while at a fundraiser at the Minneapolis Club.

While it's true that Obama did attend an exhibition game in Havana, the president also spoke with Belgium's prime minister in the morning and vowed that the U.S. would continue to work with 60 nations to defeat ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for the attacks that killed at least 36 people and wounded more than 100 others.

Kasich said the aerial attacks on ISIS are not enough. He says he'd put troops on the ground.

"We need to assemble a coalition very much like the coalition we had in the first Gulf War...made up of our Muslim Arab friends, along with our friends in Europe," he said.

Kasich's remarks appeared almost temperate compared with those of his rivals.

Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner, called for waterboarding of terror suspects, and Sen. Ted Cruz said he would "empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods."

Professor David Schultz of Hamline University says polls have consistently shown that, among GOP voters, Trump comes out on top on issues involving terrorism.

"I think Trump has cornered the issue of security," he said.

Schultz said the Belgian attacks will likely reinforce Trump's dominance on the issue.

"I think it's going to be very hard for Kasich to edge in on this," Schultz added.

During his visit to Minneapolis, Kasich made an appeal for Sen. Marco Rubio's 17 Minnesota delegates, who are now free agents to support him.

While Kasich predicts Trump won't have enough delegates to win the nomination, an awful lot of party officials admit privately the odds are growing that Trump will, in fact, have the numbers to secure the nomination.

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