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First Mention: John Kasich Enters Debate Over Arms Control In 1987

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Where do presidential candidates come from?

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The answer is everywhere and anywhere. But before they reach the debate stage, they've often been in the public eye in other roles. And that's why we're using the feature we call...

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UNIDENTIFIED MEN: First Mention.

SIEGEL: And we're applying it to the presidential campaign. This series has ferreted out initial appearances of a thing or a phrase on our air including the candidates.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, BYLINE: It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

SIEGEL: And I'm Robert Siegel. President Bush fielded questions from reporters today at the White House. One of the subjects he was asked about was defense.

SHAPIRO: On April 23, 1987, we had a story on the program about a debate over arms control and the development of the B-2 Stealth Bomber.

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SIEGEL: Here's what the House of Representatives has done to the administration's defense plans. They took big chunks out of the funding for Star Wars, the B-2 Stealth Bomber and the MX missile.

SHAPIRO: That featured what appears to be the first time John Kasich was interviewed by NPR. He spoke with Linda Wertheimer.

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WERTHEIMER: John Kasich of Ohio is one of the members of the House Armed Services Committee. Although he is a Republican, it was Kasich who put in an amendment to stop additional B-2 bombers from being built.

SIEGEL: Linda Wertheimer's three-and-a-half-minute interview revealed a side of Kasich that he still talks about - his willingness to work with Democrats to get things done. In those days, of course, the Democrats were in the majority. And in 1987, he worked with Democratic Congressman Ron Dellums. Here's Kasich.

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JOHN KASICH: To be honest with you, this is one of the craziest and strangest defense budget coalitions that existed that I've seen in my career here in the House. For example, on the B-2 Stealth Bomber, Ron Dellums, who is a liberal Democratic, and I joined forces and put a coalition together to try to stop that plane. And while we were not successful, there were great limits placed on where that plane is going to be over the next couple years.

SHAPIRO: Again, that was Kasich's first mention on NPR back in 1987. Even as recently as last summer, the Columbus Ohio dispatch reported that Kasich still loves to boast of his role in grounding the B-2 Bomber. Kasich was quoted in the article as saying you have to figure out a way to keep the pork barrel politics out of the defense budget.

SIEGEL: The report added that Kasich a few years earlier worked to save the less sophisticated B-1 bomber. That $286 million plane was partly built in Columbus. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.