John Kasich pans Jeb Bush PAC dirt-diggers

Story highlights

  • Ohio Gov. John Kasich knocked opposition researchers for Jeb Bush's super PAC during campaign stops
  • Right to Rise super PAC researchers were discovered at Kasich's library, digging up old records from his time in Congress

Washington (CNN)Opposition researchers typically work in the relative shade of politics. But Ohio Gov. John Kasich made the team for Jeb Bush's super PAC the focus of his campaign stops on Friday after a pair of Right to Rise PAC staffers were discovered digging through his old congressional papers in an Ohio library.

"I got Bush's campaign people out in my hometown, and I have a library out there, OK? I got a library out there. So they've been living in this library trying to dig up all this stuff against me," Kasich told an audience at his Goffstown, New Hampshire town hall.
    Kasich was referring to the collection of records from his time in Congress housed at the Westerville public library. The super PAC researchers were discovered this week by Reuters, who did a deep dive into the boxes of Kasich documents housed there.
    Kasich put a positive spin on the dirt digging Friday, arguing it proves that Bush feels threatened by him.
    "Obviously, they must not be thinking that I don't matter in this if they're out in my hometown," he said.
    Bush sidestepped the jab on Friday, saying he doesn't know what his affiliated super PAC does. His campaign pointed out that it was super PAC staffers digging in Ohio, and not campaign staff. Candidates are barred by law from coordinating with affiliated super PACs.
    "I don't know what the super PAC does. I have no coordination with them. I'm running on my record and I think it's a record of accomplishment and I will match it with any candidate," Bush said during a campaign stop in South Carolina.
    Reuters uncovered one gem: a 1994 letter from then-President Bill Clinton, thanking Kasich for his vote in favor the assault weapons ban. Kasich has since said he regretted the vote. But he told CNN on Friday that he was not worried about any fallout from the Clinton letter being uncovered.
    Paul Lindsay, a spokesman for Right to Rise, said he was surprised at Kasich's response.
    "We don't understand why Governor Kasich is so upset at anyone looking at his public congressional record and positions on issues," Lindsay said. "We love Westerville and highly recommend the breakfast at the Fairfield Inn."
    Kasich pinned one bit of research on the Right to Rise team: A video clip from 1992 that emerged with Kasich questioning John H. Sununu's campaign advice to then-President George H.W. Bush. Sununu's son, former Sen. John E. Sununu, is one of Kasich's top advisers and credited with getting him to run for president.
    Kasich tweeted a snarky shot late Thursday, after John H. Sununu joked that Kasich clearly got it wrong in 1992 and should pick up his insider account of the Bush White House, "The Quiet Man."
    "@GovernorSununu @jmartNYT Jeb's oppo team's in OH now rifling thru my archives & I'm sure they 'lost' my copy. Can u send another? -John" he tweeted.