Republican presidential candidate John Kasich is not holding back. He’s launched an all-out offensive against fellow Republican Donald Trump. On the day that Trump is holding a rally in Kasich’s state, the Ohio governor is hosting two conference calls challenging Trump and his electability.
The conference calls are just one component of a larger effort over the past several days to damage the Republican front-runner's credibility among voters. Kasich is attacking Trump more fiercely than any other Republican in the field.
The dominance of Trump has frustrated Kasich, a political veteran with an accomplished political resume, who hasn't managed to come close to outspoken entrepreneur in the polls.
In the first conference call Monday morning with Ohio elected officials, hours before Trump's rally in the state, the Kasich supporters challenged the idea of a President Trump by alluding to Trump's positions and experience but rarely mentioning his name.
“We cannot afford to elect a president who has never governed at any level,” state Senator Peggy Lehner said.
“Our nation has too much at stake to risk putting another inexperienced person in the White House,” Congressman Pat Tiberi said also on the call.
In the afternoon the Kasich campaign is hosting a second conference call for reporters with veterans to “discuss Donald Trump, national security prior to Trump’s Columbus speech.” On the campaign trail Trump often talks about veterans, most recently saying the U.S. should have kept the oil fields in Iraq and given the money to veterans.
The super PAC backing Kasich, New Day For America, is also attacking Trump. The group released an online ad that compiles several controversial statements Trump has said, including that he has a great relationship with "the blacks," that he'd date his daughter Ivanka if she weren't his daughter and that Sen. John McCain "is not a war hero."
Last week the super PAC announced the purchase of a $2.5 million ad buy in New Hampshire attacking the bombastic Republican front-runner.
Kasich has also taken to Twitter in recent days to attack and challenge Trump.
Trump has responded with threats to sue the super PAC. And on Monday he responded with his own tweet.
No other candidate has been willing to take on Trump, who is known to tear into anyone who criticizes him, the way Kasich has. For instance, Marco Rubio said Monday that he'd prefer to focus on his own campaign rather than criticize Trump.
Kasich is polling in fourth or fifth place, far behind Trump in New Hampshire, a state that Kasich needs to win to have any chance at the nomination.
Kasich's frustration has been on display on the campaign trail in recent weeks, too. In a memorable moment last month, the campaigner, who rarely criticizes his opponents, lashed out.
"Do you know how crazy this election is? Let me tell you something. I've about had it with these people," Kasich said at a rally in late October. A furious Kasich called Trump's immigration plan "crazy."