John Kasich 'proud' of Cleveland protests

Story highlights

  • Ohio Gov. John Kasich is hailing Cleveland example of how a city can peacefully protest during times of racial unrest.
  • The Republican said he's still mulling a potential 2016 bid.

Washington (CNN)Ohio Gov. John Kasich is hailing Cleveland as an example of how a city can peacefully protest during times of racial unrest, in this case in the wake of the acquittal of a white police officer who shot and killed two black unarmed motorists.

"They should be so proud of themselves and we should look at Cleveland as a model," the Republican who is considering a 2016 campaign for president said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."
A judge on Saturday acquitted Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo in the 2012 shooting deaths -- prompting concerns of protests that would turn violent, as they had in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland. Protests were anticipated after the ruling, particularly with the Cleveland verdict coming in the wake of the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
    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
    Rice was killed by police officers in November who were told he had a gun, but it was just a toy model.
    Kasich credited local politicians and ministers in helping keep the protests nonviolent, and also pointed to a state task force that he created, which recommended a statewide policy on the use of deadly force and more research into the recruiting of minority police officers.
    "And it's serving us well," he said. "But the credit goes to the leadership in Cleveland who have spoken with one voice saying protest, but no violence is acceptable in Cleveland. And the people of Cleveland should be proud of what's been happening here in the last 24 hours."
    Although Kasich patted Cleveland on the back because riots didn't break out Saturday, police did arrest 71 people as protests grew increasingly aggressive in the afternoon and evening.
    Protestors temporarily blocked a major highway, pepper-sprayed patrons at a restaurant, and broke windows.
    Kasich said he is still considering running for president and is weighing whether he "can win."
    "We have metrics set internally," he said, referring to fundraising and polling goals.
    He touted his credentials: The governor of a large state that plays a crucial role in deciding the outcome of presidential elections; former House Budget Committee chair during President Bill Clinton's term when Congress enacted balanced budgets; and an 18-year veteran of the House's defense committee.
    But Kasich dismissed the idea he would be the ideal vice presidential nominee for the GOP.
    "Forget it, forget it, forget it. I don't play for seconds," he said.