Washington (CNN)Ohio Gov. John Kasich insisted Monday that he is "seriously considering" running for president, but first has to answer one question: "Can I win?"
John Kasich: 'Seriously considering' presidential bid
That's what he told the Columbus Dispatch in an interview Monday night after speaking to the Detroit Economic Club in Michigan.
"I've been serious about this all along, you're just catching on," he said.
The comments were the clearest signal yet from the Republican that he could make a play at the White House, but he admitted that he hasn't yet decided "if it's right" to run for president.
"The most important [question] is can I win? Is it a winnable situation?" Kasich said.
The Ohio governor still lags far behind the rest of the potential Republican presidential pack in terms of preparation — he's done few of the early-state visits and little of the donor massaging that's characteristic of presidential hopefuls. But he has spent part of the year barnstorming the country trying to get enough states on board to ratify a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, and will visit early primary states of South Carolina and New Hampshire to test the waters later this week.
That message-testing continued at the Economic Club Monday night, where he touted his record as governor of Ohio and a former member of the House. He later told reporters that he feels he has "a lot of experience, both domestic and foreign policy."
"I had great success in Washington. We've had great success in Ohio. So I think I should let people know what that is and let them decide if they like it or not," he said.
During the speech, however, Kasich brushed off the prospect that voters might not be sold by his pitch. He told the crowd that if they don't end up believing he'd make a good presidential contender, "I'm cool with that."
But "hopefully," he added, "you will tell your friends and neighbors."