John Kasich is an awkward dad. At least, that’s what some attendees at the Ohio governor’s New Hampshire town hall meetings might conclude from listening to his jokes.
The father of twin 16-year-old daughters might be expected to crack the occasional silly joke -- you know, the ones that make you moan, and when that father is running for president, those jokes can play a key role in revealing one’s personality and endearing him to audiences at town hall meetings.
And for Kasich, the same jokes tend to be repeated over and over and over again for different crowds in New Hampshire.
THE TEAL JACKET
After he drew some ridicule this winter for donning a puffy, teal jacket he bought during a visit to Timberland’s New Hampshire offices, Kasich came up with a new, particularly cringe-worthy line that has played well with voters.
“You know, I took my teal jacket—I bought a teal jacket, Timberland, and I wear this teal jacket, and everybody was making fun of it, like, ‘Why does he have this teal jacket?’” Kasich said this week (multiple times, in multiple ways). “It was on Twitter: ‘It’s Kasich in his teal jacket,’ and all that. It was like, ‘Why is he wearing a teal jacket?’
“And I can care less until my wife said, ‘Can you ditch the teal, please?’” he continued. “But I took the jacket home, so in case I don’t do well, if I had to take the jacket home, I did not want to go home with the teal between my legs.”
Cue the groans.
THE FISH FIGHT
New Hampshire-specific humor can win a lot of hearts in this cold, mountainous state. Take the joke about Portsmouth, a city on the Granite State’s Atlantic Coast that is known for its seafood.
“How about that very serious fight in Portsmouth last night?” Kasich asked a crowd in Plymouth this week. “I don’t know if you’ve heard—I don’t know if it was a biker gang or whatever, but it was brutal."
“There were two battered fish.”
THE MAN FROM MAINE
One time, the governor went to Maine, a fact he likes to tell New Hampshire voters.
“I was in Maine,” Kasich said in Newbury. "I ran into this guy who was very nice on the sidewalk, and I said, 'Sir, excuse me, but have you lived here your whole life?'"
“And he said, ‘Not yet!’”
THE SKELETON PARTY
Kasich has not been known to shy away from (questionably) good one-liners.
“I ran into a lady today who’s a nurse,” he told a full room at a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in Littleton, New Hampshire, in October. “I asked her ‘What is the most important thing for a nurse to have?’ She said, ‘I don’t know—what?’ I said, ‘Patients!’”
Undeterred by the “oooh’s” and painful laughter, he offered “one more for the grandkids.”
“Do you know why the skeleton couldn't go to the party?" he asked the group. “Because it had nobody to go with him."
“Next!” someone mockingly shouted, amid the laughter.
THE TV TAPES
When you’re crisscrossing New Hampshire vying for votes, you might end up at the same town hall location more than once. This likely means you're going to tell the same joke at the same location.
“You recall my total stardom when I was at Fox News,” Kasich told a crowd at a hotel in Plymouth in October, referring to his stint as a cable television host and contributor in the 2000s.
“I was really big—did you know that?” he asked, with a grin. “You don't remember that? OK—I have tapes in my car.”
Alas, another iteration of the joke didn’t play as well at the same hotel this week. You win some, you lose some.