Kaine Does New Hampshire in VP Candidate Style, Pence Soon To Follow

Aug 15, 2016

Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine and Senator Jeanne Shaheen arrive at The Bridge Cafe in Manchester
Credit josh rogers/nhpr

You can verify that New Hampshire is a presidential battleground by the campaign schedules of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. You can also see in in the attention Granite Staters are getting from vice presidential candidates.

When vice presidential candidates work the campaign trail, the goals tend to be straightforward: rally loyalists, raise money, attack the opposing party's nominee -- and avoid gaffes. By that standard, consider Senator Tim Kaine’s two days in New Hampshire a success.

Kaine began by scooping up what party officials say was over $1 million at private fundraiser hosted by Stonyfield yogurt founder Gary Hirshberg. The next morning, Kaine was showed a more common touch when he and his Senate college Jeanne Shaheen greeted diners at The Bridge Café in Manchester.

"I’ve learned a ton from Jeanne in the Senate, I really have," Kaine told diner patrons.

That Kaine - who in addition to being a senator, has been a governor, the mayor of Richmond, and chairman of the Democratic National Committee - is a practiced campaigner was evident. As was his famously chipper demeanor.

"What a great crowd. If I hadn’t had five cups of coffee already, I would have felt like I had five cups of coffee, seeing you guys here. Thank you so much for coming. "

Kaine’s remarks to about 700 Democrats at St. Anselm College were well-received. His stated stress was on Hillary Clinton’s economic policies. And Kaine said higher taxes on the rich would pay for spending on roads, rails, the electric grid, among other things. But Kaine also focused on GOP nominee Donald Trump. Most pointedly, on Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns.

"Everybody’s done it. Trump is not doing it. Trump is not doing it. He says the rules that apply to everybody else do not apply to Donald J. Trump…..What doesn’t he want to show?"

On stage and afterwards, Kaine said voters here can expect to see plenty more of him. He also predicted Democrats will see big gains in November, something he acknowledged will be key to enacting Clinton’s policy agenda.

"I think we are going to have a Democratic Senate after Election Day. This is what my gut tells me. So you are going to have a Republican House, and Democratic Senate, and you are going to have an American public that’s said overwhelmingly, ‘We want to get something done.’ "

Expect a different forecast, when another guy who hopes to be vice president, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, comes calling. He’ll pay his respects to voters in Manchester on Thursday.