The Republican governor was ticketed on Jan. 11, 2008 for "approaching a public safety vehicle with lights displayed" on Route 315 in Columbus and later paid an $85 fine. But Kasich was not happy about it.
During a speech late last month to Ohio EPA workers, the governor recounted how he was given the ticket well before announcing his eventual run for governor. In telling the story, Kasich referred to the Columbus police officer who ticketed him three times as an idiot as seen in this video.
"Have you ever been stopped by a police officer that's an idiot," Kasich asked the seated audience, pausing his speech as he moved around the room. "I had this idiot pull me over on 315. Listen to this story. He says to me, he say uh, he says you passed this emergency vehicle on the side of the road and you didn't yield."
"I said, officer I, are you kidding, I didn't, I didn't see any, I didn't even see any, where the heck was it," a stammering Kasich recalls, using incomplete sentences. "The last thing I would ever do would be to pass an emergency, are you kidding me?"
"He says, 'well I understand that. Give me your license,'" Kasich continues. "He goes back to the car, comes back, gives me a ticket and says you must report to court, if you don't report to court we're putting a warrant out for your arrest."
Then Kasich stills himself and bellows, "He's an idiot! We just can't act that way. What people resent are people who are in the government who don't treat the client with respect."
A leading police group responded to the governor's comments on Wednesday, hours after the video surfaced.
"Police officers in Ohio already do difficult and dangerous work, so it doesn't help when the governor calls an officer doing his job and protecting the public an 'idiot,'" said Ohio Fraternal Order of Police president Jay McDonald.
The Ohio Democratic Party unearthed video of Kasich's comments and put it on YouTube. Democrats and the FOP on Wednesday noted that Kasich is backing Senate Bill 5, a proposal that would end collective bargaining in Ohio, which would directly impact police officers and other government organized labor workers.
"I never thought I'd see the day when a governor of this great state would call a police officer an 'idiot' for simply doing his job," said Ohio Democratic Party chairman Chris Redfern. "Even worse, he wants to eliminate the right of law enforcement workers to collectively bargain to provide a better life for their families."
Redfern said Kasich's behavior is unbecoming of a governor and that "he should immediately apologize to all law enforcement officers for disparaging the work they do on behalf of the people of Ohio."
But Kasich isn't apologizing.
"The governor, of course, respects the important work of law enforcement officers and regrets his poor choice of words in describing his frustration in receiving a ticket," Kasich's spokesman Rob Nichols said. "The point of the governor's remarks to Ohio EPA employees was to stress that all public employees must provide better, more responsive service to taxpayers."
God, I love to hate this man.