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Vice presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine greets the crowd during Monday's rally at Huguenot High School. (Photo by: Jay Paul)
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Vice presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine speaks at Huguenot High School, surrounded by cheering supporters. (Photo by: Jay Paul)
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Former Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton introduces her husband, vice presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine. (Photo by: Jay Paul)
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About 2,500 people attended the rally for vice presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine. (Photo by: Jay Paul)
It was the hardest speech he’d have to make, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine told 2,500 supporters gathered at a homecoming rally Monday night, but he didn’t falter. In emotional remarks lasting about 45 minutes, Kaine thanked the city where he cut his teeth in politics and made the case for why Democrat Hillary Clinton should be the next president of the United States.
“How do I sum up and then give thanks for 32 years of friendship in RVA?” Kaine said to applause from the crowd. “What I know about public service, you’ve taught me. I grew up in a very, very nonpolitical household. Politics was something in the newspaper, like Hollywood and baseball — we never knew anyone who did that. … Everything I know and everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned from you.”
Since formally accepting the vice presidential nomination last week and joining the Democratic presidential ticket, Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, have traversed swing states on a bus tour. They returned to Richmond at Huguenot High, where supporters waved signs and cheered Kaine, Richmond’s proudest son turned America’s Dad.
Kaine replayed for the crowd a whirlwind 10 days, beginning with the phone call from Clinton at about 7:32 p.m. on Friday, July 22, asking if he would join her ticket. He conveyed the nerves he felt when, a few days later, he learned he would speak at the Democratic National Convention between Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama. He thanked Holton, who introduced him to the crowd and remained on the stage through his remarks, for her unending support in their 32 years of marriage.
“When Hillary me asked if I could do this job, Anne said … to Hillary and Bill Clinton ‘What do you want me to do for the campaign?’ They said, ‘We want every minute you can give us.’ And so Anne walked into her office, a week ago today, and resigned a position that she deeply loves because she wants to give 100 percent” to making sure Clinton and Kaine win the election.
In the latter half of his speech, Kaine pivoted to a pitch for his running mate, pointing to her experience, character and policy plans. He balanced the praise with periodic jabs at their opponent, Republican Donald Trump.
Kaine touted Clinton’s jobs plan, which he said would add 10 million jobs if implemented. In contrast, Kaine said Trump’s plan would cost the country 2 million jobs. “Do we want a you’re-hired president or a you’re-fired president?” he asked the crowd. He praised Clinton’s character and public service throughout her career, and later criticized Trump for not honoring business agreements, unfairly targeting immigrants and attacking the family of a slain U.S. soldier.
“We are too great a nation to put it in the hands of a slick-talking, empty-promising, self-promoting one-man wrecking crew,” Kaine said. “We just can’t do it.”
If elected, Kaine said, Clinton would be a “families and kids first” president, and Trump would be a “me first” president. He called on Richmonders, and Virginians, to vote for his running mate come Nov. 8.
“We have so many challenges. And none of the challenges we have are going to be solved by being more divided, by doing more name-calling, by doing more finger-pointing. They’re all going to get worse.”