COLUMBUS, Ohio—Digging into a bowl of chicken soup at a Bob Evans restaurant, John Kasich does what comes naturally to governors: He boasts about his state's financial outlook.
Job growth is up. The Republican governor just signed what he calls "the biggest tax cut in the country" after converting a looming $7.7 billion budget deficit into a $2.5 billion surplus. Such success, he says, "would probably get a global CEO a giant bonus."
Then comes the part that sets Mr. Kasich apart.
All this is just prelude, he says, to a larger mission, one his Christian faith has called him to shoulder: "helping the poor, the beleaguered and the downtrodden, and trying to heal them and lift them up."
More so than any other leading Republican, Gov. Kasich is using his perch to promote a blend of conservative orthodoxy leavened with liberal policies meant to help the poor, the mentally ill and the uninsured.