Tim Kaine, usually tasked with pillorying Donald Trump, zeroed in Monday on a different Republican target on the Florida ballot: Marco Rubio.
Kaine used a Miami campaign stop on the first day of early voting to cast Rubio as hypocritical for denouncing Trump during the GOP presidential primary while still endorsing him in the general election.
“He called Donald Trump ‘dangerous,’ and he called Donald Trump a ‘con artist,’ but he’s supporting Donald Trump. I mean, ‘Con Artists for Trump,’” Kaine said. “I don’t get it.”
He spoke at a rally held on the same Florida International University campus where Rubio has worked as a popular political-science lecturer.
Kaine echoed President Barack Obama, who bashed Rubio last week at a Miami Gardens speech intended to boost Hillary Clinton and Rubio’s Senate rival, Patrick Murphy. Whether Clinton will adopt a similar approach when she campaigns Tuesday in Coconut Creek remains to be seen.
“When someone is unwilling to condemn the many things that ought to be condemned about Donald Trump’s divisive campaign, then you got to ask yourself whether they’re the right person to represent you and to represent your values,” Kaine told about 200 students gathered on a campus green.
Kaine urged young voters to cast ballots early.
“We can’t take anything for granted,” he said, in tacit acknowledgment of Clinton’s lead over Trump in Florida polls. Rubio is also ahead of Murphy.
About 30 hands went up when Kaine asked students if they had already voted.
Jesse Rubens, a 20-year-old Florida Atlantic University student from Plantation, said he planned to go to the polls Monday or Tuesday to cast his ballot for Clinton.
“She is a fighter,” he said. “She is a champion for all things I care about, and her campaign is all about breaking down the barriers that hold folks back and reigniting the American dream of equality of opportunity.”
Earlier Monday, Kaine made an unannounced stop at the Miami-Dade County Elections Department, where he and Sen. Bill Nelson greeted Democratic volunteers. From FIU, he headed to West Palm Beach, ending a two-day Florida trip that also took him to Gainesville and Orlando.
Kimberly Dorsey, a 31-year-old junior studying social work at FIU, said she attended the rally to learn more about Kaine, whom she knew only as a Virginia senator.
“I want to see what he has to say to make sure he’s on the same page as Hillary,” said Dorsey, who lives in Homestead and said she’s never voted for president before. A registered independent, she said she plans to vote this time to oppose Trump.
“Before, I always agreed with both sides, but this year I agree with the Democrat side more than the Republican side,” Dorsey said. “And I just don’t want Trump to win.”
Ditto from Carolina Gonzalez, an FIU freshman studying political science who used to back Bernie Sanders.
“A vote that isn’t for Hillary is a vote for Trump,” she said.