The presumptive Democratic nominee will officially debut the Virginia senator as her vice presidential pick on Saturday.
Tim Kaine isn’t just with her — the Virginia senator will also be on Hillary Clinton’s ticket, her campaign announced Friday evening.
While Kaine’s selection ends a months-long process for the Clinton campaign, his consideration for the vice presidency has been eight years in the making. He was an early endorser of Barack Obama in 2008 and was a top contender on Obama’s shortlist.
Similarly, Kaine was “Ready for Hillary” even before the now-presumptive Democratic presidential nominee had launched her campaign, having endorsed Clinton nearly a year before she entered the race last April. Now, he’s ready for the White House.
“I’m thrilled to announce my running mate, @timkaine, a man who’s devoted his life to fighting for others. –H,” Clinton said in a tweet to supporters. She also alerted her followers by text, keeping the campaign’s promise to share the news “first with those who’ve been by Hillary’s side the longest.”
About a half-hour after the news broke, Kaine said he was “honored” to join the ticket and couldn’t wait to campaign.
“Just got off the phone with Hillary,” he wrote. “I’m honored to be her running mate. Can’t wait to hit the trail tomorrow in Miami!”
Clinton hailed Kaine in an email to supporters as “a lifelong fighter for progressive causes and one of the most qualified vice presidential candidates in our nation’s history.”
“I have no doubt that Tim can do the job,” she said. “I want him by my side on the trail and in the White House.”
Media reports had pointed to Kaine as the front-runner, speculation further fueled Friday morning with a tweet coming from Clinton’s grass-roots organizing team in the battleground state Kaine represents.
Clinton’s campaign, however, had maintained that the former secretary of state hadn’t finalized her decision — until the text message was blasted to supporters’ phones.
Trump argued Friday morning that Clinton’s imminent declaration was to distract from the “tremendous success” of the four-day Republican National Convention.
“Hillary’s trying to pick her vice president as fast as possible because she wants to take away a little of the success that we had at this convention,” he said, addressing volunteers in Cleveland one day after accepting the Republican Party’s nomination for president. Clinton later called the GOP convention “perversely flattering” and derided its speakers for spending “so much time talking about me.” But the former secretary of state’s veep announcement was delayed — likely due to the news of a terrorist attack in Munich, Germany, that killed at least 10 people.
But in a text to his own supporters Friday evening, Trump called Kaine, Clinton and Obama the “ultimate insiders” and warned against a third Obama term.
“The ultimate insiders – Obama, Hillary, and Kaine,” the text message said. “Don’t let Obama have a 3rd Term.”
Conventional wisdom suggested Kaine, a Spanish-speaking lawmaker with executive and leadership experience as a former Richmond mayor, lieutenant governor, governor and DNC chair, would emerge as the vice presidential nominee.
He was considered a safe but boring pick. Kaine serves on the Armed Services and Foreign Relations panels in the Senate and is the type of candidate who is unlikely to hurt the ticket with controversial stands or painful gaffes. And his selection would allow Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to name his temporary replacement for the Senate.
His selection drew praise from Democrats and even some Republicans.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid described Kaine as “a leading voice in navigating the toughest international issues of our time” and a man who brings “exceptional foreign and domestic policy experience” to the ticket.
“The Clinton-Kaine ticket is everything the Trump-Pence ticket is not: competent, steady and committed to giving all Americans a fair shot to succeed,” the Nevada Democrat said in a statement.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) congratulated Kaine after joking that he drew a blank trying to tally how much he hates his Senate colleague.
“Congrats to a good man and a good friend,” he tweeted.
Kaine, however, did come under fire this week from progressives for supporting loosening regulations on banks. He’s also personally against abortion and has moderate positions on trade and financial regulations. And he lacks the star power of someone like progressive darling Elizabeth Warren — which is likely a plus for the campaign since his addition to the ticket doesn’t threaten to take the spotlight off Clinton.
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