Yesterday I once again attended an event for class, and in similar fashion soon came to regret my decision. This time it was a town hall event with John Kasich. The room was decently packed, with people standing in the back, and Kasich stood in the center of the room, fondly looking upon his support base. The first thing I noticed about Kasich was that he stood alarmingly close to the audience. If you had the misfortune of sitting in the front row, Kasich would tower over you as he talked and continually invade your personal space. Even if you weren’t in the front row you may not escape that fate, as more than once he made his way into the middle of the audience. I was fortunate enough to not be in either position.  
Kasich also had a tendency to attempt to make jokes that often fell flat. He never seemed to learn from the awkward smattering of laughter and continued to crack jokes. A particularly memorable and cringe worthy joke was interjected into an anecdote about meeting a constituent while working out at a gym. Kasich made some offhanded comment about he works out because his wife likes his legs. Everyone was uncomfortable. A few of his staunch supporters gave halfhearted laughs, but Kasich smiled as if he had just been given a standing ovation. Kasich made a number of other attempts at jokes but two stand out to me for their ill taste.
After his speech Kasich took questions from the audience and one woman from Boston had a very good question about national security in the face of North Korea’s nuclear testing. Because of her accent the woman said Korea like career, a fact that Kasich did not let it slide. Before answering her question, Kasich poked fun of her Boston accent saying, “I love how you said Kareer” and laughed at the poor woman. There was once again some uncomfortable laugher among audience members that soon ended. 
Now I am no politician, but it seems like a bad move politically to openly mock one of your supporters, especially in such a public space with so many witnesses. Firstly, it alienates the person you made fun of. If the person was someone on the fence, attempting to decide whom to support, making fun of them is not going to bring them over to your side. It will probably end up doing the opposite. Secondly, even if the person is a staunch supporter, it will sting to have the candidate they’re supporting tease them in front of their friends and neighbors. Although they may still vote for you, the person will probably be less enthusiastic. Lastly, there are other people watching, people who have yet to make up their minds. I can’t imagine that seeing a candidate make fun of a woman for asking a question is going to do much to sway their opinion in a positive direction. 
The second memorable response was in reference to a question about the economy. Kasich, attempting to bring the audience together, asked if anyone in the room was extremely rich. One man in the back of the room raised his hand and Kasich jokingly told the man that he should leave since he was not part of the middle class solidarity of the group. I understand that Kasich was trying to crack a joke, and that he only meant to showcase that he was one of the people, but once again he alienated a potential voter. I simply do not understand how Kasich thinks these comments are a good idea. Perhaps he simply doesn’t perform well under pressure and uses bad jokes to cover it up, or perhaps he just doesn’t read his audience well. Either way, those are qualities we do not want in president. From what I have seen, Kasich does not have what it takes to lead our country, despite what he claims. 
~Eleanor Anderson is a senior at St. Olaf from Libertyville Illinois majoring in Political Science and English. She is in New Hampshire as part of a St. Olaf political science class studying the presidential election.