ALEXANDRIA—Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine squeezed in a few favorable lines for his U.S. Senate campaign Tuesday night as he praised President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
Kaine, appearing after an Ohio firefighter and before Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, rolled the foreign wars, health care and the economy — among other things — into his under-eight-minute speech.
“You know, a few years ago, very few people imagined Virginia would be a battleground state,” he told the crowd, mentioning how Virginia voted blue for the first time since 1964 in 2008 by electing Obama. He also mentioned how Virginia voted blue for Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner in 2006 and 2008. “… And if I have anything to do with it, we’ll win again in 2012,” he added.
Experts said Kaine — who dwelled briefly on his record as governor — pulled off a fairly typical political speech both for himself and Obama.
“It was essentially the Kaine stump speech that leaned a little bit more towards the issues that are important in the presidential race,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, director of the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.
But Kaine didn’t launch into attacks against his rival for the Senate race, George Allen, or against Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, something that caught the attention of Geoff Skelley, political analyst at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics — especially compared with Gov. Bob McDonnell’s speech last week at the Republican National Convention.
“I do think that McDonnell took more time attacking Obama than Kaine did attacking Romney,” Skelley said.
Kidd said Kaine — like Allen — continues to be on the offensive, rather than the defensive, one indication of how seasoned Virginia’s two senatorial candidates are.
“So the question is, will either one be able to knock the other off their offensive posture to the defensive posture?” said Kidd. “You probably won’t find a senate race or any other kind of race in the country where both candidates in both campaigns are so professional, so on top of their game.”
— Kathryn Watson