Republican presidential candidate John Kasich brushed off criticism on Friday following his remark during an event promoting cuts to Social Security and other service programs, CNN reported.
“I’d rather have people be in a position where they’re aggravated with me so I can accomplish something, than have them love me and accomplish nothing,” Kasich told the audience during an event in Concord, New Hampshire. “I’m not there to run a popularity contest.”
The current governor of Ohio preceded the remarks by asking the crowd how many of them knew how much their initial Social Security payments would be. Two people raised their hands to indicate that they did know.
“What if I told you that your initial benefit was gonna be somewhat lower in order to save the program?” he asked. “Would that drive you crazy?”
When one audience member responded that it would “upset” them, Kasich told them, “Well, you’d get over it, and you’re going to have to get over it.”
Though the remark drew laughter from both the audience and the moderator, the state Democratic Party circulated the video online, accusing Kasich of “[threatening] our Granite State seniors.”
Kasich later made a similar statement about Medicare, saying that any voter wanting him to “ignore the fact that it’s going broke” would not like him.
In a brief interview later, he accused Democrats in turn of allowing Social Security to “get to a point where it could go bankrupt.”
“We’re getting close to Halloween, and they just want to scare people,” Kasich added.
Watch Kasich’s comments, as posted online, below.
[h/t Daily Kos]