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Ohio Gov. John Kasich flew into Utah on Wednesday, attending a luncheon fundraiser and touring The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' welfare operation before heading to Iowa for a town-hall meeting.
"Here is an illustration that it's about loving your neighbor as you love yourself," Kasich said. "It's remarkable when you look at the total dedication of the entire community. It's so important for people to see these kinds of messages. I wish all of America knew about this."
Kasich, along with Gov. Gary Herbert and representatives from the LDS Church, toured the faith's store and cannery, where Kasich asked questions about the logistics of the operation.
"It's the power of faith that drives this entire population and it's the power of faith that has all that grain stored right up there to feed people who need help," Kasich said. "And it's an issue of self-reliance, too. You know, my mother always used to say it's a sin not to help people who need help, but it's also a sin to continue to help people who need to learn to help themselves."
Earlier in the day, Kasich attended a fundraiser at the downtown Salt Lake City condominium of Scott Keller, and went to a lunch at a nearby restaurant that was attended by about 60 people. Kasich joked that he raised "about a billion" dollars at the event.
The Ohio governor is mired near the back of the pack in most of the recent polling of the Republican field, registering in the low single digits. But Kasich is doing better in New Hampshire, and expects a strong showing there could boost his campaign's fortunes. He said he and his family are headed to New Hampshire later in the week after he spends two days at events in Iowa, the first two states on the presidential primary calendar.
"When you're successful, people don't cover you. They only come and give you attention when you're out of whack," Kasich said. "It's important for me to do OK in Iowa. It's a big state. But New Hampshire, it's critical for me to do well and if I do very well there, which I think I'll do, you won't be asking me [how his campaign can succeed] anymore."
Herbert, who accompanied Kasich on the tour, said he was "honored" to have one of the Republican presidential candidates visit the state. Herbert said he appreciates Kasich's experience crafting welfare reform and a balanced-budget amendment while in Congress, and likes his message of giving states more power to govern themselves.
"I think he's going to do a lot better than people are thinking, particularly in Iowa and New Hampshire," Herbert said.
The Utah governor, who is chairman of the National Governor's Association, hasn't endorsed any of the Republicans in the field and said he doesn't have a timetable for doing so. He said he is predisposed toward the governors and former governors in the field Kasich, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and George Pataki.
"When you hear governors speak, you'll understand why," he said. "They understand how the puzzle fits together."