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U.Va. community responds to Clinton's choice of Tim Kaine as running mate

Professors say Kaine has strong academic, political backgrounds

<p>If Clinton is elected president, McAuliffe would appoint someone to fill Kaine's seat until a special election could be held in 2017.&nbsp;</p>

If Clinton is elected president, McAuliffe would appoint someone to fill Kaine's seat until a special election could be held in 2017. 

Several professors and members of the University community have reacted positively to Clinton’s pick of Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D) as her vice presidential running mate.

Batten Prof. Gerald Warburg interviewed Kaine in 2014 about future challenges to public policy. To him, Kaine was “sincere, direct and honest” during the interview.

Kaine has a strong reputation among both Democrats and Republicans, Warburg said.

“It is very important to have a vice president to either to cover the weakness or emphasize the strength of the candidate.” Warburg said. “Kaine could emphasize Clinton’s competence and experience in the government.”

Barbara Perry, Director of Presidential Studies and Co-Chair of the Presidential Oral History Program at the Miller Center, said Kaine has an impressive academic and political background for this role.

Kaine is a graduate of Harvard Law School who has a strong history of humanitarian work, Perry said.

Kaine’s political career started on the City Council in Richmond. He has also served as mayor of Richmond, Governor of Virginia and — most recently — United States Senator from Virginia.

“I was impressed when in 2005, he won the governorship [of Virginia] when the president was a Republican,” Perry said. “He has worked in the American government at all levels, and he has real understanding of foreign policies.”

University History Prof. Philip Zelikow said he sees Kaine as “a man of principle.”

“Kaine has an unusual range of experience, both executive and legislative and at all levels of government, with experience on both domestic and foreign issues,” Zelikow said in an email statement. “I cannot think of anyone she could have picked who would bring such a full package to the office.”

University Democrats President and rising fourth-year College student Samuel Tobin said the pick was “wise” and “excellent” for Clinton’s campaign.

“He has done a great job representing [Virginians’] values on the national stage,” Tobin added.

Tobin also said that Kaine’s past experience in Honduras as a missionary and efforts to help people who are discriminated against could help unite people of color in the country.

Kaine has a “quiet dignity” that makes people feel comfortable, Perry said. She tweeted that Kaine’s address at the convocation for victims of the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007 “revealed his oratorical skills and genuine empathy.”

Perry said Kaine could help Clinton draw in votes — an expectation of presidential candidates for their running mates.

“The two have a lot of commonalities,” Perry said. “Kaine could [also] fill the gap on the gender level.”

Comparatively, candidate Trump’s selection of the Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) is most likely an effort to “unify the party,” Perry said. Pence could attract more evangelical voters than Trump, Perry added.

Kaine could also help Clinton because of Virginia’s strategic importance in the general election.

“Virginia is a swing state. Sometimes it is Democratic and sometimes it is Republican,” Perry said. “Because of his background, Kaine will help Clinton get a better chance here.”

However, Perry said that some may challenge Kaine for not being a liberal enough candidate for the vice presidency.

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