WESTERVILLE, OHIO—As John Kasich will be the first to tell you, he brings an impressively-rounded resume to the 2016 Republican presidential race.
He chaired the House Budget Committee and helped negotiate the first balanced-budget deal in a generation with Bill Clinton's White House. He hosted a TV show for Fox News. He worked as a financial executive for Lehman Brothers before its 2008 collapse.
"I traveled all over the country, and I was really involved in trying to help companies to be more successful," he said. "It was a fantastic experience to see the way CEOs think, the way the boards of directors work. "
But it also showed him a less-flattering side of modern capitalism. "There is an element of greed on Wall Street that is not good," he said. "There are some people there who would advise a company to do something that wasn't in their best interest, Because if a company does something, that banker would get paid. When the greed factor goes high, then I think mistakes get made."
Though no Wall Street bankers went to jail as a result of the financial crisis, the deeply-religious governor warned of a different sort of punishment: "Just because you do something that's greedy that can end up in failure doesn't mean you committed a crime. But you know what? There's a judgment that comes later, about how many people get hurt. And frankly, that's a pretty tough judgment in my opinion."
Kasich also has presidential campaign experience from a brief bid for the 2000 Republican nomination. Last year he was overwhelmingly re-elected to a second term as governor of Ohio—among the most important swing states in the country.
None of this makes Kasich, still exuberant at age 63, a favorite in the Republican race. His formal entry into the race next week places him well behind the likes of Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. With a brashness verging on eccentricity, Kasich doesn't always come across as central casting's idea of a president.