John Kasich did indeed become the 16th Republican candidate today, declaring at Ohio State University that "big ideas change the world," and that he's just the man to deliver them, reports the AP. But judging from pre-announcement coverage, the Ohio governor has an image problem to control first. It can be summed up by this question posed by Brent Larkin at Cleveland.com: "Is John Kasich too big a jerk to be president?" His piece cites a report at NBC on Kasich that began with a similar sentiment: "He could be a top contender for the GOP nomination. But first, he might want to get people to stop calling him a jerk." Politico raised the issue yesterday in a piece headlined "John Kasich's Anger Management."
It notes that while other big-name politicians such as Bill Clinton and Chris Christie are known for their tempers, Kasich seems to stand apart because his reputation for surliness and for belittling those with whom he disagrees has dogged him his entire political career. The story cites a fairly recent example as Kasich was courting a wealthy donor who questioned whether the governor was entering the race too late. This would be a great time to keep the temper in check, but Politico says Kasich "snapped" back, "You don't know what you're talking about." In an analysis of Kasich's pros and cons, Jonathan Martin at the New York Times also takes note of the reputation: "And then there is his persona, which can range from oversharing to irascible: It makes for great copy—both for journalists and for opponents hungry for fodder for attack ads." (Read more John Kasich stories.)