NEW YORK -- Neither Ted Cruz nor John Kasich can win the Republican presidential nomination in the remaining primaries. Both are counting on the first contested convention in 40 years.
For Kasich, there's a primary paradox. Polls show he is the only Republican who would beat Hillary Clinton, but he has lost every nominating contest except his home state of Ohio. Scott Pelley spoke to the former congressman and two-term governor about his hope for the future of his campaign.
PELLEY: The irony is you are the most likely Republican to win in November, and the least likely to be nominated.
KASICH: Well, it's a little early to say that. Remember, we have to get to a convention. And then, when you get to the convention, it's going to be kind of a wide-open affair.
PELLEY: How do you make the argument in America that the guy who gets the most votes doesn't win?
KASICH: We've had ten contested Republican conventions, ten. And of the ten, only three times was the front-runner selected. Seven times it was somebody other than the front-runner.
PELLEY: But you're number three. I can understand an argument for...
KASICH: So was Lincoln. I'm not Lincoln, but so was Lincoln.
PELLEY: Yeah, and this ain't 1860, either.
KASICH: No, that's right.
PELLEY: But governor, you're not the front-runner, you're not the second-runner. You're way off in third.
KASICH: Right now.
PELLEY: You could make an argument for the guy who came in second, but that's not you.
KASICH: So think of it this way. Coke, Pepsi, Kasich, right? You go to the store. You're with your spouse. And your spouse says, "Well yeah, I kind of like that Kasich, but I don't know that much about him." As we've seen more and more of my message be able to be communicated, we're getting bigger crowds. And that'll translate into delegates. And delegates will translate into momentum.
PELLEY: What's your tax plan? Who gets a tax cut? Who gets a tax increase?
KASICH: Well, we would lower it. It's sort of the Reagan plan. Twenty-eight, twenty-five, ten percent with fifteen percent capital gain. And also, increasing the earned income tax credit so that people at the bottom are going to have the incentives to be able to make more money without being punished.
PELLEY: Nobody gets a tax increase?
KASICH: Nobody. No.
PELLEY: Do you tear out Obamacare?
KASICH: Oh yeah.
PELLEY: Root and branch? Start all over again.
KASICH: Well, except you want to make sure that anybody who has a preexisting condition can still get health insurance. That's absolutely critical.
PELLEY: How do you destroy the barbarians, as you say?
KASICH: Well, in the air and on the ground, with an Arab-Muslim coalition, like we had when we defeated Saddam, with Western Europe involved, and with us as a leader.
PELLEY: U.S. combat troops on the ground?
KASICH: For sure.
PELLEY: In Syria. In Iraq?
KASICH: But not designed to topple, not to be in the middle of a civil war, but basically, to destroy ISIS.
PELLEY: The Kasich White House is going to war.
KASICH: Well, let me just say it, it's not the Kasich White House, it's all the civilized world that needs to go to war.
PELLEY: What hardship in your life formed your character?
KASICH: Well, my parents were killed by a drunk driver in 1987. That was tough. I mean "tough" is an understatement. As a kid, you know, I grew up in a blue collar town where, if the wind blew the wrong way, we saw people out of work. I mean I had a great childhood. But the most traumatic time in my life was the night I found out that one of my parents was dead -- and the other would be soon.
PELLEY: Where do we see your mom and dad in your campaign?
KASICH: Probably in my heart and in my head. My mother was very opinionated and very smart. You know, under-educated. High school diploma, but came from a very poor family. My father had the twinkle in his eye, and he was the one that was connected to all the neighbors. As he delivered the mail he delivered a lot more. He delivered compassion and he delivered hope. And my mother always said, "Johnny, shoot for the stars. Change the world where you live."
PELLEY: When you say you want to leave the convention united, can the party unite behind Cruz? Can the party unite behind Trump?
KASICH: I think it's very, very hard for people to turn around negative impressions in a relatively short period of time.
PELLEY: So no? The party cannot unite behind Cruz and Trump?
KASICH: They could, the party could unite. You know, we can say, "Okay, this is our person." But at the end can they win? And in virtually every, as you mentioned at the top, in virtually every poll, I am the only one that beats Hillary Clinton.
PELLEY: If Trump is the nominee you're not going to work for him. You're not going to campaign for him?
KASICH: Well, let's wait to see who we have as a nominee and then I'll let you know, because that way we can have another interview.
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