Clinton-Kaine Ticket Makes Debut In Miami

Jul 23, 2016
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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine campaigned as a ticket together for the first time this afternoon in Florida after the presumptive Democratic nominee announced the U.S. senator from Virginia as her choice for vice president. Here's some of what Tim Kaine had to say earlier today.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TIM KAINE: I'm grateful to you, Hillary, for the trust that you placed in me. And we're going to be companeros de alma in this great lucha ahead.

(APPLAUSE)

MARTIN: He said they will be soulmates in the great fight ahead. NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith was at the event at Miami International University, and she's with us now. Hi, Tam. Thanks for being here.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Glad to be with you.

MARTIN: Set the scene for us. Now, the two of them have campaigned together before. But what did you see, and what's this on the dynamic today?

KEITH: Yeah, so they campaigned once before in Virginia about a week and a half ago. This time, they were a ticket. They came out together. They held hands. He held her hand as she walked up the stairs onto the stage. They clasped hands and held their hands up high in that sort of typical victory thing. They waved. They - they were very much happy - it seemed to be happy to be in each other's company. And as they sort of talked about their resumes and they talked about their approach to governing in public life, there were a lot of echoes between their personal histories and the way they approach public life that echoed in a way that you thought, oh, this is why she picked him.

MARTIN: I do want to mention that they're still sort of breaking down the event there. You can hear kind of the hubbub around it. So...

KEITH: They're absolutely breaking it down.

MARTIN: So thanks for hanging in there with us. How did Hillary Clinton introduce him? How did she make the case for him, if you will, as a member of the ticket?

KEITH: She talked about him living the values of diversity that are - she says - American values. She said that Tim Kaine "is everything Donald Trump and Mike Pence are not. He is qualified to step into the job and lead on day one." That was a quote. And she said that he's a progressive who likes to get things done, which might sound familiar because that's how she describes herself.

MARTIN: And we only have a couple of minutes left. So what did Tim Kaine have to say? We heard just a little bit, some excerpts from his comments, which were extensive, at the beginning of our conversation. What did - what was his case for himself?

KEITH: Yeah, so coming into this, there was sort of this collective sigh of, like, oh, my gosh, he's so boring or people who just had no idea who he was. What he did with this speech is he told people who he was. He went through his resume, but in a way that sort of described how that made him who he was. And then he also talked about Hillary Clinton and praised her and talked about the things that they had in common.

This one moment that really stood out is when he talked about being governor of Virginia during the Virginia Tech shooting. And he said it was the hardest day of his life. When he said that, his voice broke. He got emotional. The room was emotional. It was, like, quiet all of a sudden. And, you know, that is one of the issues that they will work together on, which is gun control. And it also points out a resume point for him that's a really interesting point. He has an F rating from the NRA, and he's from the state of Virginia, where the NRA is headquartered.

MARTIN: So before we let you go, Tam, what was the reaction from the crowd? What kinds of comments did you get as you surveyed people there? You can - you know that - he cannot have been - he's not that well-known nationally. What did people have to say...

KEITH: No.

MARTIN: ...About him there?

KEITH: Well, people learned a lot about him watching his remarks. They were impressed. One woman said that she almost cried listening to him speak. She said that she was surprised because she expected him to be boring given all of the hype leading up to it. And I spoke to a couple of Bernie Sanders supporters, actually, who said that they were OK with the choice. They were happy with the choice. My colleague, Asma Khalid, was up in Philadelphia at the Democratic convention though and talked to some Bernie Sanders supporters who were deeply disappointed, said they wanted Elizabeth Warren or someone else that would nod to the desires of the left. And they didn't get that in Tim Kaine.

MARTIN: Well, thanks for hanging in there with us, Tam, as you can hear the event moving on all around you. That's NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith. Tam, thank you.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.