Tim Kaine, democratic vice presidential nominee, is our hometown hero. We are so proud of you. It was an emotional but a powerful speech Kaine delivered at Huguenot High School before thousands of friends and supporters last evening. He thanked us all for our friendship of 32 years. Kaine said, “this will be the hardest speech that I will give during the entire campaign,” asking the question how could he “give thanks for 32 years of friendship in RVA, in this community?” Kaine heads to Daytona Beach, Florida for a jobs tour.
A full text of Tim Kaine’s speech is courtesy of Hillary for America:
“Hello, RVA! It’s great to be home. How about my wife, folks? How about my wife? What an amazing, amazing thing to come back after 10 intense days on the road, to come back to the Richmond public schools where all of our kids graduated and to see so many wonderful friends. I just – this is – this will be the hardest speech that I will give during the entire campaign.”
AUDIENCE: “Aw.”TIM KAINE: “Now, I’ve already given some hard ones. Hillary called me at 7:32 p.m. on the evening, not that I’m counting, but on the evening of Friday, July 22 and asked if I would be her running mate. And then they had to get me to an airport in Rhode Island, where I was, and then fly to Miami. And then I got rolled out to the nation as a running mate. Nobody outside Virginia knows who I am. And so I had to make an impression on three hours of sleep. That was hard. That was hard.
And then. And then that night when I accepted the nomination, they told me, ‘You’re going to be speaking between Joe Biden and Barack Obama.’
And I said, “Wow. Okay. Wow. I’ve got to speak between Vice President Biden and President Obama? I mean, how am I going to make an impression?” I thought about bringing out a puppy and doing some card tricks. ‘I mean, what am I going to do?”’
But this speech is harder. This speech is harder. How do I sum up and then give thanks for 32 years of friendship in RVA, in this community? Very, very hard. Very, very hard.
What I know about public service, you have taught me. I grew up in a very, very nonpolitical household. Politics was something in the newspaper, like Hollywood and baseball. We never knew anybody who did that. And so everything I know, everything I’ve learned through doing some things right and doing some things wrong and then getting better at everything I know. And everything I’ve learned I’ve learned from you. I’ve learned from you.
So what I just want to do is start off with some thanks. And then I want to say that I think this is a moment that is a special one for Virginia. It’s not so much about me, but there’s a lot about this moment that is about Virginia, and I want us to talk about that, and then I want to tell you why I’m so proud to be on a ticket with Hillary Rodham Clinton battling against Donald Trump to make sure Hillary Clinton is our next president.
So, thank-yous. Now, this is the hardest of the hard speech – my wife. My wife, Anne. I mean, when I moved to Richmond in August of 1984, in this state of 8 million people, I had one friend. I grew up in Kansas City, went to school at Mizzou, went to law school in Boston, worked as a missionary in Honduras, and worked with a judge in Georgia. I moved here in August of 1984 and I had one friend. And I was happy. I had one friend, and I was happy. In over 32 years of marriage, we’ve had many more good days than bad days. I’ve been incredibly blessed. I mean, I’m a 58-year-old guy with my parents and my wife’s parents still alive. My children know their grand – all four of their grandparents. I have been incredibly blessed with life. Like everybody, I have bad days. I have days where things don’t go right or I don’t do right. And when I ever question my own judgment, I always say but on the one decision, the most important decision that I’ll ever make in my life, I demonstrated excellent judgment. And when I wonder what might happen to me or what the twists and turns might be of an election, or when I used to try civil rights cases, whether I’d win or whether I’d lose, and when I would wonder and have doubts, I would say if I go back to only having one friend, I know I could be happy. I know I could be happy.
And so – and you all about Anne’s great public service career. When I was a civil rights lawyer, she was a legal aid lawyer. When I was a city councilman and mayor, she was a juvenile court judge. When I was governor, she reformed the Virginia foster care system. And now that I’m a Senator, Anne has been secretary of education working with a great governor, Terry McAuliffe. When Hillary asked me if I would do this job, Anne said, after we kind of got used to the idea, she said to Hillary and Bill Clinton, ‘What do you want me to do for the campaign?’ They said, “We want every minute you can give us.” And so Anne walked into her office a week ago today and resigned a position that she deeply loves because she wants to give 100 percent to making sure that […].
So […] Now, from that one friend I have built out a lot of friends, starting with St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church. So I […] St. Elizabeth’s people. We found a little parish in Highland Park and joined and got married there in November of 1984. We were married there; our kids were baptized there; and I have learned so much about this community, but also about my own faith and, frankly, about the nature of God from the people that I worship with.
One of my favorite songs – anybody a George Harrison fan? So the song “My Sweet Lord” is one of my favorite songs. I love that song. But when he says, “I really want to see you, Lord, but it takes so long, oh Lord,” it doesn’t take very long. It doesn’t take very long. We come to know God through looking in the eyes of other people. And that means every time we interact with somebody, we can come to know something about the great good and the greater power in the world. And I learned that through these wonderful parishioners and through my neighbors, and then in my civil rights practice 17 years through my clients, and through the lawyers that I worked with, and through the lawyers that were on the other side of cases from me. You know, we would fight like cats and dogs in the courtroom, but then get along outside. That taught me something about political life. You could have a different point of view, but you don’t have to hate the other person. You can figure out a way to […]
And then […] folks like Jeanine right here in the front row, and many of you, I ran for city council in 1994 in the 2nd District to represent my interest in the neighborhood of North Side, the Fan, downtown, Jason W. Harbour. And then you guys taught me so much. You taught me that it’s about results, not about talk. It’s about being accessible. I was a Democrat; everybody – I knew who the Ds and Rs were, but we ran […]. It was about being […] and trying to make things happen. And again, I had four terms as city councilman and mayor, and you guys taught me a ton. I was pretty green when I started. I was incredibly naïve and I had to learn and do things well and make mistakes and then listen to people and learn and go to my – see people like Dwight, who have been such a good friend from the first […] on, and other people here who have been part of my upbringing.
And I’m so proud of my city. I’m so proud of RVA. I’m so proud of Richmond. I’m so proud of it. When I hear my own children – Anne and I have 26-, 24-, and 21-year-olds – brag about ‘Dad, Richmond’s a hipster town now.’ I mean, I’ve got to tell you nothing in public life, no accomplishment, no vote, no ribbon cutting is as meaningful as hearing your own kids brag about the town that they live in. That’s what’s so cool. That’s what’s so cool.
And so through basically eight years in local office and then after a dear friend of mine, whom many of you know, Emily Couric, had to pull out of her race for lieutenant governor because she had pancreatic cancer, I then was running for state office. I mean, my life has been so affected by chance, by things I didn’t know were coming along. And sometimes they were good opportunities, and sometimes it was created by pain or tragedy. But Anne’s dad used to always say, “It’s opportunity time.” You’ve got to wake up every day and wonder what the opportunity is, what the greater good is. Pick up your cross and follow me. You’ve got to just say it. Take the challenge and go after it.
And so just as I came to know you, so many of you in this room, then I had the chance to come to know Virginians: the coal miners in Big Stone Gap, VA, where Anne’s dad is from; and the oystermen in Chincoteague; and tobacco farmers in South Boston; and high-tech whizz-kids up in northern Virginia; and bluegrass musicians that whenever they’ll let me sit in and play one song – they usually don’t ask me to play two songs, they ask me to play one song – but the beautiful diversity of our commonwealth. I mean, that’s the thing that makes this so exciting. To have come to know that has been amazing.
So this is just a way of summing it all up, and starting with Anne and our three beautiful kids – a Marine and two artists; how did that happen, right? So – but our three beautiful kids. And then through that career, now 22 years in elected life, I just – I am a product of the things you have taught me, and that’s why this speech is so hard. It’s just hard. It’s just hard to sum it up, but I just – thank you is all I can say. Thank you.
And then – and let me say a thank you about Hillary Clinton. I know Hillary pretty well. I met her when I was mayor; did some stuff together when she was First Lady; when I was the governor and she was a Senator, did some stuff on military families issues; now in the Senate, as Secretary of State, working on diplomacy issues. But there’s nothing like being vetted to really get to know somebody. I mean, I – she knows me very, very well. Very, very well. And I just got to say, when she called and asked if I would be her running mate, first, I was just humbled as could be because I – there were other people who were being mentioned who are fantastic, dear friends of mine who have just been absolutely fantastic. And the fact that she would think of asking me, it was just a stunner. Again, coming from a super-nonpolitical family, just kind of the arc of things, it’s just an absolute stunner.
And as President Obama said – hey, didn’t he give a great speech at the convention last week? Didn’t he do it? Yes. Well, he said a lot of great things. He said a lot of great things, but one of the things he said was that Hillary Clinton is far and away the most qualified person to be nominated by any party for president in a very long time. In a very long time.
And so to be asked by that person to be her partner and go out and win, wow, what an honor. But I’ll tell you another thing that made me feel so excited about it. When I was in on the stage in Philadelphia on Wednesday night – I’m sorry, Thursday night, after Hillary had given her acceptancy speech, and all the balloons were falling, and then Annie and my parents and siblings and kids and everybody was out on stage, the Clinton family too, my mother said to me – my mom is 81 – she said, ‘This is the best night of my life.’ Now, why did she say that? Why did she say that?
My mom said that because – I mean, I think she was happy for me. I think I was part of it. But there was another reason. She was so excited to be there on the night when the first woman was going to be nominated to be president. So excited. So excited. And I’m going to be honest with you, I’m very emotional about it. I don’t – I mean, if I’m emotional about it, any woman – and that means every woman who has ever felt like maybe there was a barrier in their way because of their gender, I can only kind of vaguely imagine how excited you must have felt about it. But here’s the thing: It made me think about 22 years in elected life, in public service, and how many strong women have stood and supported me. Campaign managers. Campaign volunteers. My whole finance team. Voters – more than half the American electorate is women; way more than half of those who vote for Democrats are women. My wife Anne supporting me. How many strong women have supported me when I’ve gone out and said, hey, I want to do this, and can I have your help? And I’ve tried to be supportive too of Anne’s public service career and others.
But in this nation, if you look at our presidents, and even if you look at a Congress that’s only 19 percent women, women again and again and again stand up and provide support for men to do great things in politics. I think this election gives strong men a chance to stand up and support a strong woman to be president of the United States. And I think we’re up to it. I think we’re up to it. I think we’re up to it.
Second, this – me being nominated is a lot about Virginia. I have my own modest charms. I’m not going to deny that. But look – when Hillary Clinton was thinking about who she wanted as a running mate, Virginia was important. Y’all are important. I hope you feel important. You’re important. And I love history, and I know that Virginia was real important – was real important – for a long time, and then, frankly, in national politics really unimportant for a very long time. It has been 170 years since a Virginian was vice president or president – 170 years. Now, the last Virginian who had his political career in Virginia to be president or vice president was John Tyler. Zachary Taylor was born in Virginia, moved away as a kid and had his career in Kentucky, became President. Woodrow Wilson, born in Staunton, moved away as a kid, had his career in New Jersey and became President. But it’s been 170 years since Virginia has had a vice president or president. And I tell you, folks, it’s no accident. It’s no – five of the first 10 presidents were from Virginia. Three of the first 10 vice presidents were from Virginia. But then a complete goose egg since 1845. Why did that happen? Why did that happen?
Susan Dunn wrote a book called ‘Dominion of Memories,’ and it asked that question: Why did Virginia produce all the leaders in the first seventy years and then virtually none for the next 100-plus when it comes to presidential politics? And the answer is pretty clear: Because we were so bent and determined to push people away because of the color of their skin, and even because of their gender – and even because of their gender – that we could not be all we could be. We called ourselves a commonwealth. There are four states that do: commonwealth – the wealth we hold, we hold in common. That’s kind of braggadocios to say that, but we weren’t living that way. We weren’t letting people be around the table. And what Susan Dunn lays out in this piece is it was first slavery, then it was Reconstruction, then it was Jim Crow, then it was massive resistance, then it was fighting against the civil rights movement. When I was born there were school systems in Virginia that were closed down rather than let kids learn together if their skin colors were different. I mean when I was born. When I was born, women didn’t get to go to the University of Virginia and other major universities in this commonwealth because of their gender. And there was no way a state was going to be a leader and be as successful if because of the color of your skin or where you came from or your gender, we pushed you away from the table and said we’re not interested in what you can contribute to society.
So that’s why we went in the tank. That’s why we went in the tank. You have been the generation of Virginians – you have been the generation of Virginians that after more than 150 years has said it’s time to turn and not face backward but face forward and march forward rather than living in the past. And that’s why we’re important. And that’s why we’re important.
People like Anne’s dad, who integrated Virginia public education – the historic election of Doug Wilder as governor in 1989. I mean, we started to turn the battleship, you know, in the late ’60s and it has been painful, and it has been slow. And I’ll tell you what the last piece to fall was. The last piece to fall was a belief that, well, Virginia though in presidential politics, not competitive. Red is to the red. When I moved here in ’84, in a presidential year, Republicans didn’t come because they didn’t need to; Democrats didn’t come because why bother? I mean, nobody came. They took our votes for granted. President Obama was the first in 2008. In 2008. In a presidential race. He was the first in 2008 to say, “Hey, I think something is going on in Virginia.” I know what the history is. I know what the conventional wisdom is, though it’s completely – “I think something is going on in Virginia.” I spent a lot of time. I was one of the original kind of co-chairs of the Obama campaign. And I kept telling him, “I think you can win Virginia. I think you can win Virginia.”
And I tell you, you guys know our President. I mean, he’s a good guy, but, man, he’s tough. He cross-examined me, he and the team, for months at a time, “What do you mean we can win Virginia?”
I kept giving him data and facts, and I was doing my song and dance, “I think you can win Virginia,” “I think you can win in Virginia.” They finally decided about Memorial Day 2008, “We’re going to invest in Virginia like it’s one of our biggies, like it’s Ohio or Florida.” “We’re going to invest in it.” And when they decided to do it, then-Senator Obama, nominee for president, said to me in June of ’08, “We’re going to do it, but, Tim, if we see a bad poll, we’re probably going to pull out.”
And I said, “I’ll tell you something. I’ll tell you something. If you invest in us, if you put your faith in the Virginia voter, you’re not going to see a bad poll. You’re going to win Virginia. And then you’re going to be president, not in spite of Virginia, but partly because of Virginia.” And that’s just what happened. That’s just what happened. And you made that happen. You made that happen. You made that happen.
And then – All right. I know you can. I know you can. And so now you know what happens. Now both parties have to come to Virginia. I don’t care whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, or Independent. It’s much better to live in a state where nobody can take you for granted, where all of the candidates have to come and make their case to you and ask for your help and ask for your support. And that’s the state we live in now. That’s the commonwealth we live in now because of the great work that you’ve done.
So this is a Virginia story. And I tell you Hillary Clinton is rock-solid serious about winning Virginia. And guess what. If she does, if she wins Virginia, we don’t have to stay up and see whether there’s a hanging chad in Florida or a weird voting booth in Ohio, we’ve got this thing right in our hands. And if we win in Virginia, she’ll be president of the United States, president of the United States.
Let me talk about – let me talk about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Third point, I want to talk about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Now, I told you that the last 10 days has been great. There’s only been one bad thing. Until I was on the ticket, Donald Trump wasn’t calling me names. So okay. So that’s the price you pay. You get on the ticket, and Donald Trump has got to call you a name.
So I accepted the nomination Wednesday night. Thursday morning, he went to do a press conference. So he stood up and said, ‘That Tim Kaine was a lousy governor of New Jersey.’ Wow. Wow. I mean, that’s your best? That’s your best?
I’m a sensitive guy. I have a lot of pride. That kind of hurt my feelings. I thought “Wait a minute. I’ve never been governor of New Jersey.’ ‘I’ve never lived in New Jersey.”
But, look, give Donald a break. He’s new at this. You know, 50 states and the governor of 1 state isn’t the governor of the other state. And New Jersey’s in the north, and Virginia’s a little bit in the – this is all new stuff. I bet he just hadn’t got to that in the briefing book yet. So you’ve got to give him a break. You’ve got to give him a break.
Here is why we have got to elect Hillary Clinton. It’s basically the economy. It’s our role in the world. And it’s character. On the economy, on the economy – I like to boil things down and make it simple. I used to try to do this when I was trying jury cases. You just want to boil it down and make it simple. And I’m going to make it simple. On the economy, you’ve got a choice. And the choice is this. Do you want a “you’re hired” president or a “you’re fired” president? I mean, it’s simple. Hired. You’re – it’s simple.
I knew there was going to be 100 percent here. We’re at Huguenot High School. I mean, there was going to be a 100 percent correct answer to that question because we’ve got a bunch of smart people here. We want a “you’re hired” president. We don’t want a “you’re fired” president.
And I predict that when this campaign is over and everybody’s forgot everything about the Donald Trump campaign, the one thing they will remember about Donald Trump is “you’re fired.” Right? “you’re fired.’
Now, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, is a “you’re hired” person. She’s got a great five-point plan for how we’re going to get the economy rolling. It starts with the biggest jobs program since World War II in the first 100 days of the administration. Infrastructure, manufacturing, wages. We’re going to do all we can – research – we’re going to do all we can to create jobs, to create higher-paying jobs, and to make sure that the growth we have in this country is not just confined to a few at the top, or a few states, or a few regions, but that it’s shared by all. That has to be the most important task of the administration.
She’s going to do great things for American workers. From minimum wage – I mean, it hasn’t gone up for eight years. You can work full time now for minimum wage, and with a child, you’ll be below the poverty level. Right? When we look people in the eye and say, you’ve got to work hard in your life, what does it say about our values that we say that to people, but then we have policies where if you work full-time with a dependent for minimum wage, you’re under the poverty level? It says that we’re kind of lying to them. If we thought work was important, we would value work. And so we’ve got to raise the minimum wage, and we’ve got to have pay equity for women – pay equity for women to show that we value work.
Education. Hillary Clinton’s got an education plan that starts with a favorite of mine, a favorite of Anne’s, high-quality pre-K. Early childhood education. I heard in a church once, it’s easier to build a child than to repair an adult. Right? It’s easier to build a child than to repair an adult. So let’s invest in early childhood education. That’s what we need to do. And then the cost of college – I mean, I see so many young people, but I also see the parents and grandparents of young people who are grappling with this.
Hillary Clinton has a goal. She says, in this country, the greatest country on earth, we ought to be able to get to debt-free college. Debt-free college. Right? So that you’re not crushed by debt, and also so that those with debt can find ways to refinance it and bring it down. What does it say that Donald Trump can bankrupt debts, but students can’t refinance student loan debt? I mean, you can reorganize a loan for a yacht. You can reorganize a loan for a vacation home. But you can’t reorganize a student loan debt? It makes no sense. And so that’s absolutely key.
We’ve got to have – I’ve mentioned this, but I want to come back to it – one of the fastest things we can do – one of the fastest things we can do to boost the economy is equal pay for equal work. Equal pay for women. This is an issue – it’s an issue of fundamental fairness, but it’s also an economic issue, because, hey, look, I’m a man, but I’ve got a working wife and I’ve got a working daughter. And so many of you have working sisters and working grandparents, and working siblings, and working cousins. This is a basic family economics issue. And that’s something that so important we do.
So Hillary’s economic plan is as good as can be. In fact, Moody’s Analytics, which is completely nonpartisan, just came out and said if you took the economic plan that you can find at HillaryClinton.com and you just enact it like that, it would increase the number of jobs in the United States by 10 million. 10 million jobs with the Hillary Clinton plan. (Applause.) And part of her plan is also for the economy – immigration reform. I mean, immigration reform is so important, and if we do it, and we do it right, what a boost for our economy, right? What a boost for our economy.
Clean energy. Right? We – sí, se puede. Sí, se puede. We can do it. We can do it. We can do it. Clean energy, to – America is already just leading the way. But let’s just put our foot on the gas and go even farther to save the planet and use American innovation to create jobs at the same time. How about that? How about that? Now, that same Moody’s Analytics says – go to the Trump plan – if you put it in place just as is, it would lead America into a recession that would cost us 2.5 million jobs. The difference between the plan is 12.5 million jobs. Do we grow by 10, or do we lose by 2.5? That’s the difference between the Clinton plan and the Trump empty promises.
Now, you know, like, one of the things that’s odd about Trump is, you actually can’t really go and get the details like with Hillary. You can’t get the details. It’s like, what was that old show? It’s like, we’re going to pick – what’s behind door number three or door number two? You don’t know what’s behind the door. He says, we’re going to be rich, believe me. We’re going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. Believe me. We’re going to beat ISIS so fast, believe me. There’s nothing funny in my tax returns, believe me. You know? I mean –
Why would one person believe Donald Trump? Why would one person believe him? Now, because there’s a track record – people have believed him, and they’ve gotten stiffed, and they’ve gotten hurt. When he’s wanted to build things like a casino in Atlantic City, and all the contractors were so proud to work on it, and they did all the work, and installed the marble and glass and hung the drywall, and poured the concrete. They believed him. And the building got built. Trump started operating it. And they didn’t get paid. Overwhelmingly they lost, and some of their businesses went bankrupt. They didn’t get paid.
There’s a powerful story of an architect who designed a golf course clubhouse. It was a signature project. And Trump wouldn’t pay him a penny. And then he came and said, wait, I did the work for you, and you got the building. Yeah, I got the building, and we’re using it now. Well, you’ve got to pay me. I’m not paying you. Well, I’ll sue you. If you sue me, you’ll win, but we’ll make you spend so much money to sue me that the check you end up getting is going to be just a fraction of the check you’re having to pay your own lawyers. So take a hike. This is the way he treats people.
Retirees gave him money to build them condos in Florida. He got the money, he didn’t build the condos, and they ended up losing tens of thousands of dollars. All because they believed Donald Trump. And a bunch of students, including veterans – including veterans who wanted to learn something, saw these ads about Trump University, and they paid thousands of dollars. And they ended up with a certificate that wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. All because they believed Donald Trump. Is there anybody in this place who believes Donald Trump? (Crowd: “No.”) We are too great a nation – we are too great a nation to put it in the hands of a slick talking, empty promising, self-promoting, one-man wrecking crew. We just can’t do it. We just can’t do it. We just can’t do it.
Second, leadership in the world. Question two, do you want a bridge builder or do you want a trash talker? All right. You’re two for two. I mean, Hillary Clinton is a bridge builder. She was our chief diplomat – when President Obama said, I want to revitalize American diplomacy after eight years of an administration before that didn’t care about diplomacy – he said, I’ve got to pick somebody to be Secretary of State who can walk into any room in the world and to have not only the gravitas of coming as the US Secretary of State, but be a personality that people know and respect. And he said, to restore American diplomacy, I want to pick Hillary Clinton. Hasn’t it been great to have a president – President Obama, who cares about diplomacy? Absolutely. Absolutely.
So Hillary is a bridge builder with alliances and strength, and she knows the value of alliances. She knows we’re stronger if we have alliances. We’re not – you’re not strong if you just stand out there by yourself. You’re stronger with alliances. And she gets that. And that’s one of the reasons we should elect her. Now, Donald Trump, no bridge builder, folks. He’s a trash talker. He trash talks allies, he trash talks foreign leaders, he trash talks people with disabilities, he trash talks women and says offensive things about them, he trash talks fellow Republicans.
I mean, the thing that has amazed me is the depth of his trash talking of Latinos. Saying that all Mexicans are rapists, and going after Latino immigrants. But it’s not just about the immigrant who’s here for one day. A Latino governor, Republican governor of New Mexico, because she wasn’t wild about his candidacy, he blasted her. A federal judge from Indiana who had proud Mexican American heritage, after a life of service as a federal prosecutor, and then as a judge, Trump trash talks that guy because his parents were of Mexican origin. We just – we don’t need it.
And, look, now we’ve seen the lowest of the low. I mean, did anybody watch the Khan family speak at the convention last week? Did you see that? Did you see that? His family, proud Virginians, right – they’re us. They’re us. They’re proud Virginians. They live in Charlottesville. Their son went to the University of Virginia, and went through ROTC there, and volunteered to be in the military before 9/11. And then in a split second, when he thought a suicide bomber was coming toward his colleagues, he got in the way, and he was right. And he lost his life, but he saved everybody else’s life.
And he’s buried in Virginia too, in Arlington National Cemetery. And on his gravestone is the crescent to emphasize the fact that his family is of Muslim faith. And Donald Trump has the temerity to say, after 240 years of the Virginia idea of religious freedom, that you can worship as you like or not, and you’re not going to be preferred or punished, Donald Trump has the temerity to say, we’re going to punish Muslims, we’re not going to let them in the country, there needs to be a test. He paints the broad brush and tries to trash them. And so this family that has lost their son serving in the country – and many, many Muslims have lost their lives serving the United States in the United States military during the last 15 years. Many, many.
Donald Trump has the temerity to trash them, and even say stupid things about this poor boy’s mom, who was so overwrought emotionally, even 12 years after her son died, that she said, I can’t stand in front of a microphone and say anything – and, you know, Donald kind of trashes her for that. I mean, is there no limit to which this guy will descend? Trashing the family of a war hero, trashing John McCain for being a POW, saying the American military’s a disaster, when 2 million young American men and women volunteer in a time of war to try to help their country, and Trump goes around saying there’s a – and he wants to be Commander-in-Chief? He wants to be Commander-in-Chief?
So we don’t need a trash talker. We don’t need a trash talker. The last one, and then I’ll conclude, is this. And it’s about character. This is a third question. Do you want a kids and families first president, or a me-first president? (Kids and families first. And that’s what it boils down to. Hillary Clinton is kids and families first. A lot of the Cleveland convention – anybody watch the Cleveland convention? Even a little bit of it? All right. Compared to the Democratic convention, upbeat, positive, patriotic – that Cleveland convention, I mean, it looked like Batman 5 with Gotham City – it was – oh my gosh, it was such a, kind of a twisted view of everything.
And somebody said that, “Boy, the Republicans are really painting a pessimistic and twisted view of the United States.” I said, “Folks, that was no view of the United States. That was a guided tour through the mind of Donald Trump.’ And that is a very scary place to be. It’s a very scary place to be.
Take it from me he may have – he may have grabbed the mantle of the Republican Party, but I know a lot of Republicans, like Anne’s dad, who I might disagree with, but they’re optimistic and positive people about this country. They’re not trash talking the United States all the time, like Donald Trump does. He says, “Make America first.” Donald Trump is about blame America first. And I ain’t into the blame America first, folks. Right? I’m not into it. I’m not into it.
Hillary, so – but they talked a lot about her character. That’s what they wanted to talk about. So let me tell you about Hillary Clinton’s character. Here’s a tip. I’ve been in this line of work for 22 years, in public life. If you want to know something about the character of somebody in public life, look to see if they have a passion that showed up long before they were in politics and then ask have they kept that passion going rock solid through good times or bad, through victories and losses, through hell or high water, whether they’re in office or whether they’re out of office. Ask that question. Ask that question. Hillary Clinton has that passion. She’s demonstrated her character.
Dwight, she got turned on by a youth minister, a Methodist youth minister, when she was a teenager in the suburbs of Chicago, a guy named Don Jones, who took her to see M.L.K. and then told her about the plight of migrant workers when she was a teen. And she realized that there was a world outside of the suburb that she lived. And it was like her horizons opened up, and she decided, “I want to battle for kids and families.”
And so whether it was with the Children’s Legal Defense Fund or as first lady of Arkansas with maternal health and children’s health programs, first lady in the United States – this is my favorite Hillary Clinton story. And I tell it better than she does because she won’t brag on herself like she ought to. Can I brag on her just for a second about something? Can I brag on her? Okay. Look, when people think of Hillary Clinton as first lady, they tend to think of one thing. She was the point person leading the effort to promote a universal healthcare system. And, remember, the other guys trashed it, called it Hillarycare? They trashed it just like they call it Obamacare now, after they got their head handed to them and we did something really good for tens of millions of people, right, tens of millions of people. But they beat – but they beat Hillary Clinton. They beat her back in the 1990s. We know that story. But here’s where the character comes in. Here’s where it comes in. They lost. It was tough. The ads that were running against them trashing them, they lost. But did Hillary Clinton go away?”
TIM KAINE: “Did Hillary Clinton say, ‘Okay. Let’s move on to another issue?’”
TIM KAINE: “No. She pulled the team together, legislators and others, and said, “Okay. We couldn’t get what we wanted. We couldn’t get everything we wanted. And that’s a shame. But can we figure out a way to get a healthcare program passed to give 8 million American children health insurance for the first time in their lives?’ And they did. And they did.
You want to know something about character. Character is when you get knocked on your back trying something you care about and you don’t give up and you get right back up and you keep on plugging and you don’t get everything you want but you do something good.
I mean, eight million children? Eight million is the population of Virginia. It’s the same size as our state’s population. That many kids have had health insurance. And it not only means that they have health insurance against illnesses or injuries. It also means that their parents can go to bed every night and not have that little voice in their ear that says, ‘Hey, what’s going to happen if my kid gets in an auto accident? What’s going to happen if my kid gets sick?’ because, even when you’re healthy, if you don’t have health insurance, it’s going to be a source of anxiety and for your parents. And because Hillary Clinton has character and she’s got a passion, she stood up and fought to get something good, even after she took a loss. That’s character. That’s character.
And then she did – she did the same thing. She had been in the Senate from New York for a year after the attack on 9/11. And the Bush administration came in to do a bunch of things for defense but not to do anything for the families of the first responders in Virginia and in New York that got hurt. And Hillary Clinton said, ‘I’m fighting for healthcare for these people. I mean, we say they’re heroes. We go to services for them. Many of them died. Now they’re getting sick. I’m going to make sure that they get healthcare.’ She battled and got that done.
This is what she does. She’s got that passion that she showed early in life. And she’s not giving up on it. And that’s why so many of the plans – if you go on hillaryclinton.com – are about just this thing: fighting for families and kids because if families and kids are doing well, as Anne said, Dana Bedden said earlier, if our kids are doing well, if our families are doing well, then everybody is going to do well. We feel that very strongly.
Now, now, the last point is this. Donald Trump’s had a passion, too. Donald Trump has had a passion, too. And it showed up long before he decided to run for office. And I will say this about him. He’s been completely consistent in this particular passion that he has. He’s very focused on this particular passion. Donald Trump’s passion is Donald Trump. That’s the only passion he has. That’s the only passion he has.
And so that’s why I’m so proud to be supporting Hillary. Look, she’s a “You’re hired” president. Trump would be a “You’re fired” president. She’s a bridge builder, and our nation needs them in a tough and divided time.
We have so many challenges. We’ve got challenges. And none of the challenges that we have are going to be solved by being more divided, by doing more name calling, by doing more finger-pointing. They’re all going to get worse. We know that in Virginia. I mean, if anybody knows it, we know it because one of the reasons we went in the tank was because we decided to divide against one another. And one of the reasons that we’re coming out and going back onto the main stage in the nation and leading again is we decided to be that commonwealth we always said we would be and bring everybody together around the table. And that’s the kind of president that Hillary Clinton is going to be.
So I just want to – I just want to say this. It’s going to be 99 days. And I suspect they will probably be the hardest 99 days that I have – that I have ever been connected with. But – but they will probably be the most exciting, too. They’ll probably be the most meaningful, too. I think we all ought to feel a little bit of weight on our shoulders because our citizens are counting on us.
And I talk to people all around the world. I’m on the Foreign Relations Committee. The leaders of other nations tell me “We are counting on you.” We’ve got to have the right leadership in this country. We’ve got to have it. We’ve got to have it.
And so – and so here is the challenge – here is the challenge for all of us. When Virginia wasn’t that relevant in presidential politics, I mean, face it, we didn’t necessarily have to do our best work. We would stay up late and watch what happened in Ohio or Florida, but everybody just kind of assumed what would happen in Virginia. We didn’t have to do our best work. Hey, but now we’ve come off the – come out of the shadows. We’re on the main stage. The spotlight is on us. And now the pressure is on us to do our best work. But, guys, we know how to do it. We know how to do it. We’ve shown we can do it. We’ve got a great candidate who’s going to be a great president and Virginia is right at the center of this thing and we’re at the center of it because of each of you. So let’s go out for 99 days and pound the pavement and fight a battle for justice and our values and make sure that Hillary Clinton is the next president of the United States.
God bless you guys. God bless you guys. Let’s go win.”
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Tim Kaine: How Do I Give Thanks For 32 Years of Friendship in RVA? was originally published on kissrichmond.com