WATCH: Tim Kaine Makes Campaign Trail Debut: 'I Like To Fight For Right'
By Amita Kelly
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton arrives with Sen. Tim Kaine at a rally at Florida International University Saturday. Mary Altaffer/AP hide caption
toggle caption Mary Altaffer/AP
Appearing on stage together for the first time since Friday’s vice presidential announcement, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine push for voters of color by highlighting his record on diversity and civil rights.
Clinton said Kaine has “lived” the values diversity. That, she argued, is in contrast the GOP ticket and last week’s Republican National Convention. “Tim Kaine is everything Donald Trump and Mike Pence are not,” she said.
She also used a line she has used to describe herself in an attempt to appease Sanders and other progressive supporters who feel Clinton and Kaine are too moderate. “When he’s a progressive who likes to get things done, I mean it.”
Kaine went through his bio as a civil rights lawyer and public office.
“I like to fight for right,” he said.
He addressed the crowd briefly in Spanish, and a little Spanglish:
“Benievenidos a todos en nuestro pais, verdad, porque somos Americans todos,” he said. (“Welcome to all in our country, right, because we’re all Americans.”)
“We’re going to be compañeros de alma (soul mates) in this great lucha (fight) ahead,” he said.
But Kaine mostly used his time to enthustically endorse Clinton and draw sharp contrasts with Donald Trump. Calling her the “opposite” of Trump, he said “Hillary Clinton doesn’t insult people, she listens to them. What a novel concept.”
Sanders supporters not won over
Clinton and Kaine will be officially nominated this week at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Ahead of its start Monday, some Bernie Sanders supporters there expressed reservations about Kaine’s record and worry that he’s not progressive enough.
Referring to Kaine as “more conservative than Hillary Clinton,” Sander supporter Cameron Sato of Honolulu told NPR that “by picking someone who’s that progressive … they’re not necessarily pushing the agenda in the way we want to see it.”
“I would have campaigned for Hillary Clinton, I would have busted my but … if she had picked Elizabeth Warren,” he said.
“It makes me wonder, is she really going to follow through with all those progressive platforms and things she’s claiming she’s going to get passed through,” said Asami Kobayashi also of Honolulu.
Both said Clinton’s choice of Tim Kaine make it harder to vote for her.
Ben Jealous, former head of the NAACP, however feels that Kaine can be pivotal in helping Clinton win over African American and Latino voters.
Jealous favors Bernie Sanders — and is at the convention pushing to eliminate superdelegates — but says Clinton’s “pick has is made” and that he’ll support her.
The key to getting minority voters on board, he said, is playing to Kaine’s strengths as a former civil rights leader, mayor of a black city and his ability to speak Spanish. That record, he says, will give the party an opening to “invest in turning out black and brown vote.”
But it’s up to Democrats to use that record to their advantage, he says. “In order for Tim Kaine’s pick to be as valuable as it can be,” he continued, “that’s what her campaign, that’s what the DNC that’s what our party needs to be investing in right now.”
“And, by the way, we need to do that to beat Donald Trump,” he said.
Asma Khalid contributed to this report.