Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley endorses GOP presidential hopeful John Kasich

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -  Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has endorsed Ohio Governor John Kasich in the race for president.  The two held a joint news conference Monday morning at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

"Alabama is such a great state," said Kasich.  "The values that are reflected here are reflected in the heartland, in Ohio."

"America's greatest days are clearly ahead of us," Kasich went on to say.  He discussed significant focus must be put on federal spending, rebuilding the military and reaching across the aisle to make budget agreements.

Kasich complimented Bentley on workforce training and said he looks forward to traveling the south with Bentley.  Republican presidential hopefuls are starting to make more of a presence in the South as they prepare for the "SEC Primary" on March 1 with several other southeastern states.  Ted Cruz visited Alabama last weekend.

John Kasich and Robert Bentley trade footballs from each other's state.

John Kasich and Robert Bentley trade footballs from each other's state.

Kasich also touched on something else at the heart of both states -- football.  Both states have similarities with the sport tradition, considering Alabama's longtime coach, Paul "Bear" Bryant, comparing his hard work and tenure to Woody Hayes, Ohio State's former longtime coach.  "They're just two sides of the same coin," Kasich said.

The two traded Ohio State and University of Alabama footballs.

"Coach Saban, you rock. You're one of the best coaches in football today. We bring the best from our coach, Urban Meyer. We know it's going to be a back-and-forth battle as long as we play.  You work hard, you train hard."

"When Alabama plays Ohio State next year, we're not going to gie you a pass," Gov. Bentley joked. "Literally, not a pass."

Kasich did give a "War Eagle" for Auburn fans, too.

More serious topics

Kasich said America must take a stronger stance against ISIS, and referred to the Mississippi newlyweds last week who were arrested leaving for their honeymoon trip to Syria, where agents say they were planning to join the terrorist group.  He also said this represents a bigger problem in our society with people feeling like they don't belong.

"One of the thing that ISIS provides is the lure that your life will have meaning.  You can practice your faith and be loved, by your group and those around you.  There's a void in western Civilization.  [People who join] are searching for meaning," Kasich said.

"I think Americans have to realize... we're here to help people," Kasich added. "Many of the people in our society feel lost. They turn to drugs, they turn to radicalism, they turn to gangs. We need to restore some of the common values that have kept this country together, that have kept western civilization together.  We've gotta face this."

CBS News posted an article earlier that said Gov. Bentley's endorsement is significant because Bentley is only the fourth sitting Republican governor to offer an endorsement for the 2016 presidential race.

Kasich posted several photos to his Facebook page of his Sunday activities while in Birmingham.