John Kasich Declines to Endorse Mitt Romney Robocalls Paid for by His Campaign

The anti-Donald Trump calls target Michigan voters.

ByABC News
March 8, 2016, 10:31 AM

LANSING, Mich. -- Mitt Romney has recorded robocalls to encourage voters to cast ballots for GOP presidential candidate John Kasich, as he did for Kasich's opponent Sen. Marco Rubio, telling them it is important to elect "a candidate who can defeat Hillary Clinton and who can make us proud."

The robocalls started going out to voters in Michigan this morning, Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols told ABC News.

"Hello, this is Mitt Romney calling, and I'm calling on behalf of Kasich for America," the recording begins, referring to the Ohio governor's campaign. "Today, you have the opportunity in Michigan to vote for a Republican nominee for president. These are critical times that demand a serious, thoughtful commander in chief."

But Kasich did not throw his full backing behind the calls when asked about them today, telling reporters in Lansing, Michigan, that it was “not really” the scenario "that I would have liked.” He would not endorse the calls’ message.

"Governor Romney’s kind of recording robocalls for everyone, and I didn’t want somebody to think that he favored one person over me, because he doesn’t,” Kasich said. "So, you know, it’s his words, I don’t write his scripts.”

Like the call that Romney recorded on behalf of Rubio, which was first reported Monday night, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee did not formally endorse any candidate but made clear his intention was to stop businessman Donald Trump from clinching the nomination and to beat Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential candidate.

"If we Republicans were to choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future would be greatly diminished," Romney says in the recording. "And I'm convinced Donald Trump would lose to Hillary Clinton. Please vote today for a candidate who can defeat Hillary Clinton and who can make us proud."

The call was paid for by Kasich's campaign, Romney says in the recording.

Romney delivered a fierce condemnation of Trump in a speech last week, saying the Republican Party needed to nominate Kasich, Rubio of Florida or Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas instead of Trump.

“We're going to get a sense within a few days of who that person might be," Romney told NBC News Friday. "But I'm going to be supporting that person and doing everything I can to make sure they become the nominee of the party.”

Romney's robocalls in Michigan target voters as they head to the polls here today to vote in the state's Republican primary, where Kasich's campaign expects to perform well. The campaign has conceded that Trump will likely win the contest but hopes a strong finish will propel Kasich to victory in the GOP primary in his home state of Ohio next week.