Once a Washington fixture, Kasich contemplates return engagement

Is Gov. John Kasich running for president?
Is Gov. John Kasich running for president?


    Is Gov. John Kasich running for president?


Is Gov. John Kasich running for president? 05:01

(CNN)Ohio Gov. John Kasich spent nearly two decades representing the state in Congress.

These days, he's becoming a frequent visitor of the nation's capital.
"This is the first time I've been in Washington twice in one week since 2000 when I walked out of this place," Kasich remarked at the start of a lunch gathering with reporters sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.
"Something must be going on," he added.
    That something would be the Ohio Republican's serious consideration of a potential presidential bid in 2016. Kasich says he still hasn't made up his mind, with fundraising being one of the big question marks.
    "We are optimistic at this point we'll have resources to move forward, but it's yet to be determined," Kasich said.
    The hour-long session also touched on issues such as same-sex marriage, the unrest in Baltimore and immigration reform.
    Kasich was asked about his recent comments to CNN that he planned to attend a friend's same-sex wedding and how that squared with his belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
    "I am for marriage as defined between a man and a woman. If the Supreme Court changes that, those changes have to be respected," Kasich said. "If somebody I like is getting married in the traditional sense, or the non-traditional sense, I'm not hung up about attending and celebrating."
    Asked if he saw a role for the federal government in addressing the problems highlighted by recent events in Baltimore, sparked by the police-involved killing of Freddie Gray, Kasich pointed to the creation this week of an advisory board to develop standards for law enforcement agencies in the state. Kasich said the group would put forward a "very comprehensive set of recommendations" and indicated body cameras for law enforcement personnel "will probably be considered."
    Kasich said he didn't want to take anything "off the table" when it comes to immigration reform, but insisted he would prefer giving legal status to the estimated 12 million undocumented people in the country over a path to citizenship. He likened it to a lesson he's taught to his children.

    "I tell my daughters, 'you don't ditch the line to get Taylor Swift tickets.'"
    But time and again the focus returned to Kasich's political future, and how he fits into the increasingly crowded 2016 picture on the Republican side.
    "Let me ask you a question, do you think it'll be hard for me to distinguish myself from a group of politicians?"
    Kasich replied to one question on the topic.
    "Either I got it or I don't. It'll be up to folks to determine."
    Kasich's direct nature came up later at his second public stop of the day, a forum hosted by the National Review Institute.
    "I'm direct, but I care about people. I want people to feel like they matter," Kasich said. At the same time, he acknowledged he's changed since the late 1990s, when he was more of a Washington fixture - and waged an unsuccessful race for the White House.
    "People grow. If they don't grow, it's kind of sad."