Ohio Gov. John Kasich made his way from booth to booth at the Penrose Diner on Monday, interrupting breakfasts, posing for smartphone photos, and asking questions.

At one point, he teased a young girl about her "nutritional choices." She was eating bacon and buttered toast.

The Republican presidential candidate was on the hunt for votes in Philadelphia the morning after his campaign and that of rival Sen. Ted Cruz announced an unusual divide-and-conquer alliance, in an attempt to deny front-runner Donald Trump the 1,237 delegates needed to win the party's nomination.

Under the arrangement, Kasich will stop campaigning in Indiana, allowing Cruz to focus on winning the 57 delegates up for grabs in the state's May 3 primary. Cruz, in turn, will skip Oregon later in May and New Mexico in June, giving Kasich an unimpeded shot at some of the 52 delegates at stake in the two states.

Polls show Cruz performing better in Indiana and Kasich doing better in the two Western states.

Trump called it a "desperation" move and an unsporting "collusion." Whatever success the approach brings, it seemed sure to add fuel to the real estate developer's nearly constant refrain that the Republican nomination process is rigged, designed to keep him from winning and, thus, to protect the establishment.

"I don't respond to Donald Trump," Kasich told a small mob of reporters crammed around his table, where he was eating eggs over easy and fruit.

"Now, the fact is, we don't have all the resources in the world, but we're still going, and we have to husband our resources," Kasich said. "I feel it's very fair for me to be able to go to areas where I can spend my resources most effectively - and the same is true for Sen. Cruz. What's the big deal?"

The Ohio governor argued that Trump is a sure loser to Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, in the fall. Polls show that Kasich performs best against her among the three remaining GOP candidates.

"We're going to go to a convention - it's going to be an open convention - and then the delegates will pick that person who can do the best in the fall," Kasich said.

If nobody enters the July national convention with a lock on a majority of delegates, most will become free after the first ballot to vote as they think best, regardless of what voters in state primaries and caucuses did.

Both challengers are counting on an open convention.

Kasich said he was sympathetic to Mayor Kenney's goal of expanding prekindergarten education in Philadelphia, but said he would oppose the sugary-soda tax intended to pay for it if he had a say in the matter.

"Here's the thing I do know, wherever I travel: Every time you raise taxes, you basically hurt economic development," Kasich said. "And when you cut taxes, you help economic development."

tfitzgerald@phillynews.com

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@tomfitzgerald

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