Gov. John Kasich dispenses life tips, but no giardiniera, at Portillo’s visit

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Ohio Gov. and Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich wolfed down a hot dog — with only mustard, of course — and an Italian sausage at the River North Portillo’s on Ontario on Tuesday.

Kasich, who ate with Portillo’s CEO Keith Kinsey, walked into the eatery and — seemingly amazed at the crowd of supporters and news media — exclaimed: “I know I may look like Harrison Ford, but I’m actually not.”

Before sitting down to eat, Kasich, who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, also criticized Major League Baseball’s one-game wild-card playoff format — which could feature his Pirates and the Cubs.

“How ridiculous is it that these two teams, in all likelihood, Pittsburgh and Chicago, will play one lousy game? It’s time to change this. This is an outrage,” he said.

Kasich, who served in Congress for 18 years and is currently not considered a front runner in the crowded GOP field, didn’t have an answer for one question — when a television reporter asked him before he ate if he was going to spice his meal up with some giardiniera.

“I can’t speak to that. All I know is this is an amazing place. I don’t know what that is,” he responded.

Kasich, who has taken a practical approach to being a conservative — irritating some on the far right — ticked off a list of issues he’s dealt with like budgetary spending and border security before adding: “Yapping and screaming and complaining about it doesn’t get results. I appreciate their frustration, but at the end of it all, it’s what you achieve, not what you propose.”

As he left the restaurant, Kasich encountered a group of grade school kids and offered them several unsolicited life tips: “Reading: important. Fun: important. And don’t let anybody be bullied. You get everyone included. Okay? And then, here’s the last thing I want to tell you: whenever you get big dreams, go all the way up to the stars because they can come true. Okay? And, one last thing, never, ever, ever, ever go near drugs. They’ll kill you. Got it? Okay. See ya.”


Ohio Gov. John Kasich, running for president, talks to youngsters outside a Portillo’s in downtown Chicago on Tuesday. | Getty Images

The adolescents seemed momentarily unsure of how to absorb the information until one of them shouted, “Let’s go, boys!”

With that, they ran across the street and in to the Rock ‘n’ Roll McDonald’s.

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