Kaine: Clinton ready to fight, win and lead

Ken Thomas
Associated Press

Philadelphia — Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine promoted his lengthy government experience Wednesday night in his first major speech as the Democratic vice presidential candidate.

Hillary Clinton’s running mate introduced himself to the nation as a formidable foil to Republican nominee Donald Trump.

“Donald Trump has a passion,” he said. “It’s himself.”

“Believe me!” he exclaimed over and over, imitating Trump’s tone as he ridiculed a list of the Republican’s promises.

“Most people, when they run for president, they don’t just say ‘believe me.’ They respect you enough to tell you how they will get things done,” Kaine said.

Kaine said there’s a standard that voters should consider: which candidate is “ready for the job.”

The Virginia senator said Clinton’s “ready because of faith. She’s ready because of her heart. She’s ready because of her experience. She’s ready because she knows in America we are stronger together.”

“Hillary is ready. Ready to fight, ready to win, ready to lead,” Kaine said.

Kaine — in a prime-time speech at the Democratic convention — detailed his rise from a member of the Richmond City Council to the city’s mayor, to Virginia’s lieutenant governor to governor.

If he’s good at his work, Kaine said, it’s because he “started at the local level listening to people, learning about their lives and trying to get results.”

Kaine told delegates that it was hard work steering his state through the recession, but he said, “Hey, tough times don’t last — and tough people do.”

The vice presidential nominee said his father-in-law remains a Republican, but is voting for Democrats because “any party that would nominate Donald Trump for president has moved too far away from his party of Lincoln.”

Kaine spoke to the Democratic National Committee as supporters of Clinton’s one-time Democratic rival Bernie Sanders warned that Kaine had yet to forcefully oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Kaine, a former Virginia governor, was introduced by Clinton last weekend in Miami, where he switched easily between English and Spanish and spoke of his time as a Catholic missionary in Honduras, his work as a civil rights attorney and an education-focused governor who managed a state through tough times. He officially became the nominee in the early moments of Wednesday’s session, joining the ticket by acclamation to cheers and a few scattered boos.

Addressing his home state delegation Wednesday morning, Kaine called the campaign “a civil rights election,” panning Trump for mocking disabled people and using “demeaning and offensive language” about women.

Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta praised Kaine’s “strong progressive credentials.”