Current Governor of Ohio and candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, John Kasich, visited the University of Virginia Monday for a taping of American Forum. American Forum is a thirty-minute, deep-dive television program shown on more than 280 PBS stations across the country every week, hosted by Pulitzer Prize winning author and former Wall Street Journal senior national correspondent, Douglas Blackmon. It is filmed in the UVA Miller Center of Public Affairs.
“I got to push him to go beyond the soundbites that candidates get stuck in, and really offer a picture of what a Kasich presidency would look like,” said Blackmon, who loves having political candidates on the show. “His strongest appeal to his supporters appears to be his promise to be a president that wouldn’t be consumed with political infighting, and that he would make the government work, bringing an end to gridlock.”
Bernie Sanders, candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, visited the show in the fall of 2015. Blackmon compared his dialogue with Kasich to his with Sanders regarding democratic socialism.
“American Forum is about getting closer to that kind of understanding of candidates, and doing it in a way that demonstrates why there’s a value in having civil discussions – even among people who might disagree,” said Blackmon.
The show was taped at the Miller Center, which can accommodate about 200 people in the main taping room and also offers two other closed circuit viewing areas. Live viewership reached capacity, but Gov. Kasich stopped to speak to those waiting for a seat on his way into the building.
“Governor Kasich was kind enough to first address the gathering of people waiting outside for him who were not able to get seats inside of the Miller Center,” said a second year student who was present. “While addressing this smaller crowd he came across as very charismatic and relatable, something I had not seen before in his interviews and time at the debates. He was very excited to be at UVA, saying that he has been following our basketball team.”
Blackmon and the American Forum crew were quite pleased with the turnout, but noted it was not quite as large as Sanders’ audience in the fall. Blackmon hopes that American Forum will help others see multiple dimensions of Kasich, as well as any other candidates that may appear on the show.
“It’s really important for the program to demonstrate one of the things the Miller Center is all about – that our national leaders, from any party, will do a better job if they pay a little attention to history, or listen a little to scholars and other people with deep knowledge and perspective about what has made previous presidents succeed or fail,” said Blackmon.
“Those are the sorts of things we study really closely at the Miller Center, and we wanted to bring Gov. Kasich into a conversation about some of that.”
“A Conversation with John Kasich” will air February 28th on PBS channels in Virginia, and nationally on March 2nd.