Hillary Clinton introduced her new running mate, Tim Kaine, as a “progressive” who is “everything Donald Trump and Mike Pence are not,” while Kaine highlighted his working-class roots and also took aim at Trump, as the former secretary of State and Virginia senator made their debut as the Democratic presidential ticket.
“He is qualified to step into this job and lead on day one,” Clinton said of Kaine. She also described him in a way she’s previously characterized herself, as “a progressive who likes to get things done.”
“That’s just my kind of guy,” she added.
The most important criteria in her choice was Kaine’s fitness to immediately assume the presidency, Clinton said, in rejecting criticism from some progressives that he’s not a fighter for their causes.
“Behind that smile is a backbone of steel,” said Clinton, in introducing Kaine to a crowd of more than 5,000 supporters at Florida International University.
Clinton described Kaine as someone who’s fought for stricter gun laws, education funding and veterans issues.
Breaking out into Spanish in his introduction and at several points during his speech, Kaine showed his eagerness to play the traditional vice presidential role as attack dog.
He went straight at Trump, the billionaire businessman who is the GOP’s new presidential nominee. “He leaves a trail of broken promises and wrecked lives wherever he goes,” said Kaine.
He cited recent comments by Trump that raised question about his commitment to defending NATO allies as well as controversial remarks the real estate mogul made last summer about Arizona Sen. John McCain’s time as a prisoner of war.
“And he wants to be commander in chief?” Kaine said of the Republican nominee, calling Clinton “the direct opposite of Donald Trump.” Kaine also gave the audience a lengthy autobiography, acknowledging “for many of you, it may be the first time you’ve heard my name.”
Throughout his remarks, Kaine touted Clinton’s credentials as a potential commander in chief.
“She doesn’t trash our allies; she respects them,” the Virginia senator said of Clinton, adding that “Hillary knows that we’re stronger together.”
Trump weighed in on Twitter following the rally, saying the Democratic ticket didn’t “look presidential” to him.
After considering potential picks like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Clinton is calculating that Kaine, a Virginia senator and former governor who comes from a working-class background, will help her beat Trump by drawing in independent and moderate voters.
The big question is whether Kaine’s pick will also unnerve progressive Democrats who had been hoping for a more liberal candidate out of respect for Clinton’s fierce primary battle with Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Some progressives reacted critically to the pick, while Sanders has remained silent, a response that may be telling. The pick also comes as leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee show there were discussions among top party officials about how to attack the Vermont senator, a development sure to anger his followers whom Clinton is now counting on.
SOURCE: Heidi M. Przybyla