Alongside Vice President Joe Biden, Tim Kaine Makes Final Appeal to Voters in Home State of Virginia
Today, vice presidential nominee Senator Tim Kaine made his final campaign stops before Election Day at a rally at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, before delivering remarks at a rally later this evening in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Vice President Joe Biden introduced Senator Kaine to the stage in Fairfax.
“To stand here […] after 22 years serving my city and my state, and in the Senate, my nation, I just – my heart is too full to put into words the things that I’m feeling. And so I’ll just have to say thank you. And I can’t wait until the next chapter of working with you,” Kaine said in Fairfax.
Laying out his and Hillary Clinton’s vision for a nation where everyone has the opportunity and the freedom to pursue what they love, to live up to their God-given potential, Kaine underscored the historic nature of this election and just how much is at stake as Americans across the country cast their ballots tomorrow. “This is so serious. Our nation is dedicated to that proposition that we’re equal. And when it comes to vision, Hillary embraces that. Donald Trump wants to take us in a different direction. That’s what’s at stake in the election tomorrow. We can’t afford to get it wrong,” he said in Fairfax.
Kaine’s remarks in Fairfax as transcribed are below:
“I’ve been in about 40 states, I’ve been in about 140 cities since I got on this ticket. I am so glad to be finishing this campaign with you right here on the George Mason campus. And then flying back to Richmond to see my friends and neighbors there, and sleep in my own bed. I moved to Virginia 32 years ago, and I only knew one person in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and it was my fiancée Anne. My wife Anne grew up in Roanoke, lived in Richmond, graduated from McLean – Langley High School, right here in Fairfax County. And I have had the most fantastic marriage and friendship, and from a guy who knew nothing about politics, anything I know, anything I’m good at, y’all have taught me. Y’all have taught me.
And so to stand here 32 years later after 22 years serving my city and my state, and in the Senate, my nation, I just – my heart is too full to put into words the things that I’m feeling. And so I’ll just have to say thank you. And I can’t wait until the next chapter of working with you. And I have – and I have so many wonderful friends here, for years and years, working with Bobby Scott, Gerry Connolly, Don Beyer. So excited. LuAnn Bennett, she’ll be a fantastic – and then my friend of 36 years, Mark Warner – I met him before I met Anne. When I was his lieutenant governor, I spent more time with Mark Warner than I spent with Anne. And I don’t mind when he calls me ‘Junior Senator’ five or six times a day. He is just about as good a friend as you could have in public life. Give it up for all our great officials, especially Mark Warner.
Now, you can imagine how honored that Anne and I are to have Joe and Jill Biden with us tonight. This is a special, special honor for us. Can I tell you – can I tell you how special this is? I have watched vice president Biden, I have talked to him and learned from him, but I have also heard President Obama say that, ‘Next to asking Michelle to be my wife, the best decision I’ve ever made in my life was to ask Joe Biden to be my vice president.’ And I’ll tell you – and I’ll tell you, we both know President Obama well. He doesn’t give a compliment unless it’s earned. When he gives one, he really, really means it. And he really means that about Joe. And his wife Jill, a great educator who teaches at Northern Virginia Community College. Who has brought not only to her teaching, but to her advocacy for military families, an amazing passion. This is a couple of public servants par excellence.
Two quick stories about the vice president. On 2008, when he was part of that historic ticket with President Obama, and I was governor of Virginia, on a very important election day like tomorrow is going to be, I got a call in the morning on election day that said, then Senator, our vice presidential nominee, Joe Biden, wanted to pop by Richmond and go to a polling place. Unannounced stop. Flew from Wilmington, came to Richmond, I met him at an elementary school. Mid-morning, on the day of one of the most important and historic elections in the history of our country. A youngster who was 19 years old, who was casting his first vote, an African-American kid who had sickle-cell anemia, couldn’t get out of the car. They had to bring the voting machine into the car so he could vote. And he was voting a few minutes before I knew our vice presidential nominee would make an unannounced visit to the polling place. I said, ‘After you’ve voted, will you wait here for 10 minutes, because I think something’s going to happen that you’ll really like.’
And this young man and the guy who was driving him, an uncle, said, ‘Sure, we’ll wait.’ The vice president pulls up, and I said to Joe, ‘I know you’re here to visit with a lot of folks, but here’s somebody in his car – this election means everything to this young man. Would you go visit with him?’ And man, I didn’t even have to finish that question. Joe Biden went over to that car, the kid was sitting in the back. Joe opened the door, hopped in the front seat, closed the door – the windows were up. The press gathered around the car, filming in, and Joe and this guy started having a conversation like they had known each other their entire life. That young man will never forget the kindness – never forget. Never forget.
And then four years later, the last rally that Vice President Biden did was in Richmond, Virginia to help out a guy who was running in a tough Senate rate, Tim Kaine, and he came to my hometown, and we did a rally together to win Virginia’s electoral votes for the Obama-Biden ticket, and to help me win my race. I will never forget that. We are lucky to have public servants of the caliber of Joe and Jill Biden, and especially to have them right here with us in Fairfax County, Virginia this evening.
So let me tell you now something about you. I like the energy I’m seeing in Virginia. I think you guys are knocking it out of the park. You’ve already set records about the number of absentee ballots – over 500,000 Virginians have voted by absentee ballot. Because there’s an energy and an excitement. All across the country, 41 million people have already cast early votes, and if there are any of you who still have any time tomorrowto volunteer, we could use you. I know a lot of you are volunteering. But if you want to just text ‘Together’ to 47246, and you can make sure that energy from early vote also translates into energy at the polls – we’ve got to win Virginia, and you are the key to doing it. You ready to help?
I want to just – I just want to do two things. I just want to do two things. I want to tell you in a real person-to-person way why I am so excited to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate. And then I want to tell you why this race is so important for us in this country, and us right here in Virginia. There’s so many things I can talk about with respect to Hillary, but I want to talk about a couple of things: what motivates her and what her vision is for the country. What motivates Hillary? Hillary was a kid in a Methodist youth group in the suburbs of Chicago, and she got exposed to a really cool guy by the name of Don Jones, who’s a Methodist youth minister, who broadened her horizons. Took her to see Dr. Martin Luther King speak in Chicago. It challenged her thinking. Just like we all needed as we were growing up. We all needed our thinking challenged, and Hillary developed a very particular passion and that was to empower families and kids. Now, her rationale was pretty simple. The better families and kids do, the better the whole society’s going to do. And this is what she’s done her entire life – before she was in politics, then in office or out, winning races or losing them, as a civil rights lawyer in the south, as a First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the country, U.S. senator, Secretary of State – empowering families and children.
I want to tell you my favorite Hillary Clinton story. Hillary Clinton will tell this story, but she doesn’t tell it as well as I do – because she doesn’t like to brag about herself. But I don’t mind bragging about her. This is a very, very important story and it’s a story that Joe knows real well. When Hillary was First Lady, President Clinton tried to do what the Obama-Biden Administration then was able to do: to get comprehensive health care coverage for 20 million more Americans. But as is often the case – you all know this – if you’re trying to make progress and make history, it doesn’t come like that. The forces of opposition will array against you and oftentimes they’ll beat you. And when the Clinton Administration tried to do health care reform, Hillary, as somebody who wants to empower families and kids, she knew how much it was needed. She knows what a parent feels if they go to sleep at night and they don’t know – what if my kid gets sick tomorrow, what if my kid’s in an accident? Or even if your child is healthy, if you’ve got that nagging at you because they don’t have health care coverage, that is the biggest anxiety a parent could have.
So Hillary threw everything into it as First Lady with her husband and others, tried to make it happen. And the other side beat the effort, but they beat it in a way that was very personal to her. You remember this, Joe. They called it Hillarycare. That was what they called it and they ran ads again and again on TV banging on Hillarycare, thinking they could beat that and beat her at the same time. And sadly, the voices of opposition, the voices against progress were successful and it didn’t pass.
Now, folks, I got to tell you, here is the moment where you learn something about someone in public life or even in private life. You put it all on the line for something you care about, you don’t get there, the other side makes it personal to you so it’s a loss that you feel deeply because it would have been good for the country and they made it personal to you, so what do you do in that moment? You can go away and say, ‘We’ll try it again in ten years.’ You can say, ‘No, I’ll focus on other issues now.’ You can just blame others and be bitter about it and talk about how bad the other guys are. That’s open to anybody who fails at something that matters to them. I’ve failed at things that matter to me and I’ve used some of those strategies on occasion. That’s not who Hillary Clinton is and that’s not what Hillary Clinton did.
Here’s what she did. When she said, ‘Look, we lost and we couldn’t get what I think this nation needs – health insurance for everybody – but can we get health insurance for every low-income child in this country? If we can’t get it for everybody, can we get it for every low-income child?’ And so Hillary went to work with Senator Biden and others, Democrats and Republicans, and passed the Children’s Health Insurance Program. And because of that, 8 million children in this country have health insurance because – Hillary Clinton wouldn’t back down, she wouldn’t go away, and she wouldn’t give up. Don’t you want that in the Oval Office?
Because I can – I can’t guarantee much; I can guarantee this – I can guarantee this – the next president will have days where it doesn’t go his or her way, will have days where something important that was supposed to happen doesn’t happen, and you got to know that the president the next day will be a person who will say, ‘I’m not giving up, I’m not going away, I’m not going backwards,’ and that will be the kind of president that Hillary Clinton will be. That’s her motivation. That’s her passion.
Donald Trump has a passion too – I’ll give him that – but the passion is Donald J. Trump. It’s Donald J. Trump. It is not a policy, an issue, other people. That’s a very, very important distinction.
Second thing I want to point out is not about passion and motivation but it’s about vision. Hillary at the start of this campaign before I got on the ticket, she said, ‘What do I want this to be about’ and she picked a pretty simple phrase: stronger together. It’s kind of like e pluribus unum or one nation indivisible. She and I both believe – and you just heard Vice President Biden talk about this – we are stronger together. This beautiful diversity of who we are as country is the greatest strength we have. And Hillary Clinton was a civil rights lawyer in the south for the Children’s Defense Fund, and I was a civil rights lawyer and my wife was a legal aid lawyer fighting for people’s rights in Richmond. We are pro-equality people. We believe in workers’ rights, civil rights, voting rights, women’s rights, full LGBT equality. Is there another nation in the world that said it’s all about equality? This is the proposition to which our nation is dedicated, and Hillary and I have a vision that stronger together with everybody equal and everybody at the table is who we are.
We – you said it, Mr. Vice President. We can solve any problem we have if we just let everybody around the table to solve it. And the only time we ever run into problems if we start pushing people away because of the color of their skin or where their family came from or what their sexual orientation is or what their gender or religion is. If we push people away, suddenly we find that these problems and challenges that we face are hard to solve. We’ve got to be stronger together. That’s who Hillary Clinton is, that’s who the nation is, and that’s the direction we’re going if she’s president.
Donald Trump’s got a different point of view. He started off his quest for political significance by perpetrating for five years the bigoted lie that President Obama’s not a U.S. citizen. He started off his campaign in his first speech by saying Mexican American immigrants were rapists and criminals. And it has been one nonstop insult fest ever since, going after immigrants, going after Muslims, horrible things about women, wanting to roll back LGBT equality, going after John McCain, a POW, saying he wasn’t a hero because he was captured, going after the beautiful Virginia family, the Khan family, whose son, Captain Humayun Khan, was killed trying to save the lives of others. And when the Khan family heard Donald Trump saying that Muslims weren’t patriotic or needed to prove themselves more or we should keep Muslims out of this country, they stood up and they say, ‘What? What more do we have to give? What more do we have to give? We gave the life of a son of ours who’s a Muslim who died trying to protect his colleagues in arms, and you say we’re not patriotic, that Muslim-Americans are not patriotic?’ And when they challenged Donald Trump, he attacked them. What kind of a person does that?
This is so serious. Our nation is dedicated to that proposition that we’re equal. And when it comes to vision, Hillary embraces that. Donald Trump wants to take us in a different direction. That’s what’s at stake in the election tomorrow. We can’t afford to get it wrong, and that’s why Hillary has got to be elected. Absolutely […].
Now, let me then just say this. Why is this so important to us in this country and in Virginia? I want to bring this home to Virginia right now and give you just that extra motivation for the next 24 hours because we need you tomorrow. We need you to persuade and help and volunteer. I like the way polls are looking, sort of, but I don’t trust them. We got too consider ourselves the underdog until we call ourselves the winner because Hillary’s trying to do something that’s never been done. If it had been easy for there to be a woman President, there would have been a woman President. So this is hard.
Making history is hard. Blazing a trail is hard. Doing something for the first time is hard. I bet there’s a lot of people here who have tried to do something for the first time in your family, in your workplace, in your school. You’ve tried to blaze a path in your own life. And you know it’s not easy, and Hillary knows it’s not easy.
But let me make this personal to Virginia. Here’s something that we did. Here’s something that we did in 2008. You know Virginia’s history – capital of the Confederacy. We got a lot of scar tissue. Civil War battlefields, pain, suffering, bloodshed. First African Americans who came into the English colony came to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. A lot of the laws that created the second-class status for African Americans were created right here, even in the capital building that is still used in Richmond today.
We were a leader in this country in the early days, setting out the values and the documents and the doctrines that have influenced scores of people in this country and around the world. But then we went a different direction. We gave up our leadership opportunity and instead of advancing toward that goal of equality, we went the other direction.
And in 2008, when President Obama was on the ballot and was trying to make history, a lot of people thought that Virginia wouldn’t be there. We hadn’t gone Democratic in 44 years. And they thought that history might be made. But like some other history, they thought it might be made in spite of Virginia rather than because of Virginia. That’s what they thought. A lot of people thought that. But you didn’t think that and we didn’t think that. And we worked very, very hard for the Obama/Biden ticket, and we surprised a lot of people. We surprised a lot of people. And they called Virginia on election night in 2008 for Obama/Biden, and within two minutes they called the U.S. race for Obama/Biden. We were that critical. We were that critical.
Now, you remember the feeling that night and how powerful it was. You remember how powerful it was because something that was so cool about that night – and there’s been much history made by this great ticket in the 8 years since – but something that was so cool about that night was this. The moment, the moment, that President Obama was declared the winner, history changed for this reason. Before he was even inaugurated, before he was even inaugurated, history changed for a powerful reason because when President Obama and Vice President Biden were called the winner, a whole lot of people in this country – a whole lot of people in this country – who had never been able to see themselves as President of the United States could now say, ‘I can be President of the United States. And if I can be President of the United States, I can be anything. I can dream anything. I can do anything. I can be anything.’ That was the history that you made in Virginia – not history in spite of Virginia, history because of Virginia. History because of Virginia.
All right. So now tomorrow it’s November 8, 2016 tomorrow, and we got a chance to do that again in a powerful way. Let me tell you about our history. We are about 4 miles from a place called the Lorton Reformatory, the Occoquan Workhouse in Southern Fairfax County. Some of you know 100 years ago, 1917, nearly 200 women who were protesting at the capital, protesting – and sadly, we say it’s about equality; women should at least be able to vote – they were put in prison in Southern Fairfax County. They were forced to eat. There were times when they were tortured and mistreated because they said, ‘Wait a minute. We said it was about equality. And women don’t have the right to vote, and we’re going to stand up and say women should have the right to vote.’
These women were imprisoned within 4 miles of where we’re standing because they believed in the values and the things that we said about ourselves, and they were put in prison for doing it. But the attention that they got shook America out of its blindness on the issue, and by 1919, just two years later, Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment giving women the right to vote. And you know what happened then. You know what happened then. When Congress amends the Constitution, that’s not enough. You got to get three-quarters of the states to ratify it. Once Congress did this, Democrats and Republicans under Woodrow Wilson as President, states rushed to ratify to allow women finally to vote. It only took one year – there were 48 states, but it only took one year to get to three-quarters. The 36th state was the state of Tennessee in 1920, and that happened, and the Constitution changed and women got the right to vote. And the next President of the United States is going to commemorate the centennial of women getting the right to vote. And I […].
So let me just get to my punchline here and tell you why it’s so important that we leave nothing on the field tomorrow because of the 36 states that ratified it, I’m sorry to tell you that Virginia wasn’t one of the states that ratified the Nineteenth Amendment. It became the law of the land, but there were still some silent protestors out there who wouldn’t go along. And year after year, there was an effort to get the Virginia General Assembly to finally send the signal that we were okay with women having the right to vote. That history was made, the Nineteenth Amendment, not because of Virginia. That history was made in spite of Virginia. And it wasn’t until 1952, 32 years after women got the right to vote, that Virginia finally got on board and said it was okay for women to participate. And in our entire history as a state, we’ve only had one woman, one woman, elected to statewide office, our friend Mary Sue Terry when she was elected to Attorney General.
So what I am here to tell you is – what I am here to tell you is just like in 2008, when we had a history and we had some scar tissue and we had some scores to settle and a lot of people thought maybe that history would be made, but it might be made in spite of Virginia rather than because of Virginia, we rose up and said, no. We’re going to do the right thing. We’re going to be part of the crew making history. We’ve got to do the same thing tomorrow. We’ve got to do the same thing tomorrow. And we’ve got to do the same thing tomorrow because if we do, the same thing is going to happen the moment that they call this race for Hillary Clinton tomorrow night as happened eight years ago. A whole bunch of people in this country who’ve never been able to see themselves as president of the United States, the moment it’s called for Hillary Clinton tomorrow, they’ll be able to say, ‘I can be president of the United States. And if I can be the president of the United States, I can do anything.’ That’s what’s at stake, Virginia. Are you ready to go make history? You are ready! Let’s go win! Thank you!”