CONCORD, N.H., Oct. 10 (UPI) -- During a "Fiscal Fridays" event in New Hampshire, Ohio Gov. John Kasich told an audience member to "get over" his proposed reforms to Social Security.
During the event, the Republican presidential candidate said a balanced budget cannot be had without reform to entitlements like Social Security. He later said he was part of a 1990s effort to reform Medicare and Medicaid and that he sought to minimize benefits for individuals not yet near the eligible age.
Kasich asked audience members not yet near the eligible age for Social Security payments to raise their hand. He then asked if they knew what their initial payment would be and asked if they would mind a slightly lower payment for the benefit of the whole country.
When one individual said they would mind, Kasich jokingly said "you're going to have get over it." The remark drew laughs from the audience and moderator.
Democratic groups such as the American Bridge political action committee and the New Hampshire Democratic Party quickly caught wind of the interaction and circulated a video of it, adding that Kasich posed a threat to local seniors.
Kasich did not provide full details of his planned reforms, saying more work was yet to be done. Later that day, he dismissed the remark as a "silly" joke, saying strenuous bipartisan cooperation is needed to improve Social Security.
Kasich continued to talk about the topic during additional campaign stops in New Hampshire, including a town hall meeting in Stratham where he said he would rather have people frustrated with him so that he can accomplish something.
"I'm not there to run a popularity contest," Kasich said.