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Clinton's VP Choice Excites Some, Riles Others

  • VOA Staff

FILE - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, accompanied by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks at a rally in Annandale, Va., July 14, 2016. Clinton has chosen Kaine to be her running mate in the 2016 presidential election.

FILE - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, accompanied by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks at a rally in Annandale, Va., July 14, 2016. Clinton has chosen Kaine to be her running mate in the 2016 presidential election.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has named Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her vice presidential running mate.

Kaine is a veteran Democratic politician who describes himself as "boring." He is a moderate, who has the potential to attract voters repelled by Donald Trump and those who may have a hard time fully embracing Clinton.

"He's never lost an election. He was a world-class mayor, governor, and senator and is one of the most highly-respected senators I know," Clinton told CBS news.

"The most important consideration is his ability to step in as president, and he clearly has the experience, knowledge, intelligence and temperament to do that," Jocelyn Bucaro, an Ohio super-delegate and a Clinton supporter, said about Kaine.

Kaine wrote in a Twitter message that he is honored to have been chosen and that he "can't wait to hit the [ campaign ] trail" Saturday in Miami. He is expected to appear with Clinton at a rally.The 58-year-old Kaine was born in Minnesota and is a Harvard-educated lawyer. Harvard is the same law school that turned out President Barack Obama.

FILE - Queen Elizabeth II and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine enter the Old House Chamber at the Virginia State Capitol building in Richmond, Va., Thursday, May 3, 2007.

FILE - Queen Elizabeth II and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine enter the Old House Chamber at the Virginia State Capitol building in Richmond, Va., Thursday, May 3, 2007.

Kaine, who is fluent in Spanish, took a year off from Harvard to work as a Catholic missionary and teacher in Honduras.

According to his biography, Kaine observed poverty up close in Central America and saw what it can do to the human spirit. His time there is said to have helped form his support for citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the United States — a stance likely to attract Latino voters.

Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota, said Clinton "has chosen a running mate that has a track record of advocating and fighting for the issues that affect the Latino community and our nation: immigration, health care, women's rights and the environment."

Kaine began his political career as a city councilman in Richmond, Virginia, in 1994. He then was elected the city's mayor, was elected lieutenant governor for the state of Virginia in 2002, and assumed the governorship in 2006.

Before his election to the U.S. Senate in 2012, Kaine was chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Tom Wolf, a longtime friend and a former law partner, said "One of the wonderful things about Tim is that he does not need anybody's title. You could sit next to him on a cross-country flight and he would never tell you that he was a Virginia governor or a U.S. senator."

He has foreign policy credentials, not only stemming from his time in Honduras, but also from his membership on the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committee.

Kaine is a Catholic and says he personally opposes abortion, but does support a woman's right to choose.

He backs the Trans-Pacific trade deal, which some liberals and conservatives decry.

Jeff Flake, a Republican senator from Arizona, said on Twitter he was trying to count the ways he disliked Kaine. "Drawing a blank. Congrats to a good man and a good friend," he said.

Kaine's vice presidential candidacy may disappoint some progressive Democrats. Some had hoped that after Bernie Sanders' pro-socialist policy speeches attracted wide support during the primary campaign, Clinton would choose a more liberal candidate.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders wave to supporters with during a rally in Portsmouth, N.H., where Sanders endorsed her for president, July 12, 2016.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders wave to supporters with during a rally in Portsmouth, N.H., where Sanders endorsed her for president, July 12, 2016.

Angie Morelli, a Sanders delegate from Nevada said Kaine's selection "was a horrible pick." Morelli said she saw Clinton's picking of Kaine as "catering to conservative voters" rather than progressives that backed Sanders.

Some activists say Clinton's choice could alienate African Americans because of Kaine's embrace of Project Exile while he was Richmond's mayor.

Kaine supported the now-defunct project, which sought to reduce gun violence. Project Exile made gun possession a federal crime, which allowed prosecutors to send convicted felons to distant federal prisons for at least five years.

Nicole Lee, a civil rights lawyer, said "These measures were not used against white kids in the suburbs with guns, they were used against black kids in the cities."

Richmond resident Sam Sinyangwe said "To select somebody like (Kaine) is not a sign of good leadership potential in a president." Sinyangwe is co-founder of Campaign Zero, a group working to decrease police violence.

A former Bill Clinton administration spokesman sees Kaine as a plus to Hillary Clinton's campaign. "Kaine adds a reach to white working men, a Trump stronghold, so smart pick," said Robert Weiner.

"He has also been strong against the NRA (National Rifle Association), and most Americans now want more gun safety, given the spate of terrorist mass shootings as well as daily gun killings."

Before her announcement of Kaine as her running mate, Clinton made a rousing campaign appearance in Tampa, Florida. She said Donald Trump offers fear, anger, and resentment but no solutions to America's problems.

Clinton called the speeches at the Republican convention "scary," and in a preview of what could be her 2016 campaign slogan, Clinton told the crowd "love trumps hate."

The Democrats hold their convention in Philadelphia starting Monday.

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