Ohio Gov. John Kasich sought to portray himself as compassionate conservative and touted his gains in the polls in New Hampshire when he visited the Iowa State Fair on Tuesday.
His soapbox speech, which had to be moved indoors because of rain, contained little of the red meat typically doled out when Republican presidential candidates address Iowa crowds. Instead, his speech hit on topics ranging from aid to Africa, treating Alzheimer's disease and expanding Medicaid in Ohio.
“When a young boy or girl dies in Africa, we all lose a little bit of ourselves,” Kasich said while discussing his empathy for the continent.
Kasich recalled a recent conversation with a voter who said he was “a conservative, but I have a big heart.”
“Why don’t you change that, why don't you say it this way: ‘I’m a conservative with a very big heart,’ because they’re not mutually exclusive,” he recalled telling the man.
Kasich is expected to stake most of his campaign in New Hampshire, forgoing the Hawkeye State where his decision to expand Medicaid and calls for promoting a pathway to legalization for illegal immigrants may not sit well with the state’s more conservative voters.
In an interview with NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell while at the fair, the GOP governor touted his gains in recent polls in the Granite State.
“I’m in this thing because I believe I can win. And in the short period of time, I’m getting closer and closer to the top of the critical state of New Hampshire,” he said.