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Kasich dismissed Trump's accusations that the GOP nomination process is "rigged"

"Act like you're a professional, be a pro," Kasich said

Washington CNN —  

Ohio Gov. John Kasich dismissed Donald Trump’s accusations that the GOP nomination process is “rigged,” calling on the Republican front-runner to “act like you’re a professional.”

“You’ve got to have a certain number of delegates to be nominated,” Kasich told CNN’s Dana Bash in an interview aired Sunday on “State of the Union.” “It’s like saying I made an 83 on my math test so I should get an A just because I think it’s rigged that you have to make a 90 to get an A.”

“I mean, come on,” Kasich continued. “Act like you’re a professional, be a pro.”

Kasich’s comments came during a wide-ranging interview in which he also touched upon sexual assault on college campuses, big business and new religious freedom laws across the country.

He said he remained optimistic about the future of his campaign, reiterating that the road to the nomination is not solely about winning states.

“To me, it’s continuing to accumulate delegates and going to that convention as the person standing who can beat Hillary (Clinton), and we’ll see what the delegates have to say,” Kasich said.

Kasich, who on Saturday picked up the support of Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, said he had wider appeal than Trump or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

“Our team has been able to put together a message that appeals to blue-collar, conservative Democrats and independents,” Kasich said. “I will make Democrats have to fight in places where they haven’t fought for decades, and that’s going to be appealing to people.”

Clarifies sexual assault comments

On Friday, Kasich, the father of two teenage girls, advised a young female college student to avoid parties with alcohol to prevent being sexual assaulted. Democrats pounced on the remark, accusing him of blaming the victims of sexual assault.

“I don’t care if they’re at a party with alcohol. I’m just saying be careful,” Kasich told Bash. “That’s what I would tell my daughters: Be careful.”

He said when alcohol is involved “it becomes more difficult for justice to be rendered for a whole variety of reasons.”

“I just don’t want justice to be denied because something comes up that a prosecutor looks at it and says, ‘Well, I can’t figure this out,’ ” he said.

A preference for small businesses

Kasich, a former senior executive at Lehman Brothers, took a moment to defend small businesses, after Bash pressed him on his comments that he didn’t like big business at a recent CNN town hall.

“I’m not against big business providing jobs, but … most of the jobs get created by small businesses,” Kasich told Bash.

Kasich said he’s been that way all his life – and particularly takes issue when companies move overseas.

“The smaller it is, the more personal it is, but I’m not out here to wreck big business,” Kasich said.

’Balance’ needed on religious liberty laws

After Mississippi’s governor signed a controversial religious freedom bill into law earlier this month, Kasich came out strongly against the legislation.

“There is a legitimate concern for people being able to have their deeply held religious beliefs, religious liberty. But there’s also people that we shouldn’t be discriminating against.” Kasich told Bash. “We need to have a balance.”

“I think to some degree this has become a wedge issue that can be exploited by people on both sides,” Kasich told Bash.