MSNBC on Super Tuesday hyped John Kasich as the moderate hope, the only man occupying the “dignity lane.” Brian Williams touted the Ohio governor as bearing “the label as every Democrat’s favorite Republican in 2016.” Analyst Nicolle Wallace said the Kasich campaign feels “like they are running their own race. And that is the only Republican campaign about which you could say that. They have not changed anything about the candidate or their campaign, because of Donald Trump. And that alone puts them in a league of their own.”
Rachel Maddow promoted Kasich as "running in this dignified way, staying away from Donald Trump, essentially running as a general election moderate.” Eugene Robinson marveled, “Back in the day, [Kasich] was thought of an arch-conservative. And now he is a moderate in today’s Republican Party.”
A transcript is below:
Place for Politics 2016
BRIAN WILLIAMS: My role in life, among other things, has become reminding Nicolle Wallace about the Kasich factor in the Republican Party. Yes, I know he bears the label as every Democrats favorite Republican in 2016. But let's talk about — Rachel was talking about— we’re too close right now in Vermont. Let’s talk about the Kasich factor.
NICOLLE WALLACE: You get me in trouble with them every time you have to remind me of that. So thanks for that in advance.
WILLIAMS: Well, that’s good. Keeps you honest.
WALLACE: They feel like they are running their own race. And that is the only Republican campaign about which you could say that. They have not changed anything about the candidate or their campaign, because of Donald Trump. And that alone puts them in a league of their own. You heard Marco Rubio today talking about hand size, for lack of any cleaner way to say that. You would never, ever hear anything like that coming out of John Kasich's mouth. I mean, I think said this Saturday night, he is alone occupying the dignity lane of the Republican Party. And if he wins the state tonight, I think a lot of people will be heartened.
MADDOW: I would just say one factor here about John Kasich that I feel hasn't sunk in but is very true. We keep talking about these two separate things and nobody is seeing they're connected. One of them is John Kasich's strange campaign, where is he running in this dignified way. Staying away from Donald Trump, essentially running as a general election moderate, even though he is a conservative Republican governor. The other thing is we've recognized that nobody can win the Republican nomination without going to the convention, other than Donald Trump. So either Donald Trump wins or it's going to the convention. In which case, the primaries don’t matter.
WALLACE: It doesn't matter.
MADDOW: And so what you need to be when the convention opens is the guy that looks like he might be able to win in November and you need to be alive. John Kasich is staying alive and he’s running a general election campaign.
WALLACE: And you need to win Ohio. You can't be the Republican president without winning Ohio.
MADDOW: He’s the only guy in this race who could.
EUGENE ROBINSON: If you told me 10 years ago, 15 years ago, 20 years ago that John Kasich would ever be considered a moderate, I would think you were crazy.
WALLACE: I said civility. He is a conservative.
He is a conservative. Back in the day, he was thought of an arch-conservative. And now he is a moderate in today’s Republican Party.