Tim Kaine dropped in unexpectedly into the Florida delegation’s Wednesday morning breakfast, giving the nation’s largest swing state a little more political love ahead of his Democratic convention speech.
“It wasn’t an accident that the roll-out of the ticket was in Florida,” the vice-presidential nominee said. “Were any of you at that event in Miami? So much fun!”
Surprised delegates met Kaine with applause and hollers of, “We love you!” He arrived nearly 15 minutes before the scheduled start of the 8:30 a.m. breakfast at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. (“This is a lesson: Don't be late to a Florida breakfast,” Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant joked.)
“I was kind of still half asleep when I walked in,” Kaine admitted. “But I’m not half asleep now.”
Kaine posed with Orlando delegate Lavon Bracy, who’s been supporting a photogenic hat, and gave a shout-out to a delegate who told him in Spanish that she’s from Honduras. That was Miami’s Karla Hernandez-Mats, head of the United Teachers of Dade. Kaine told her he was last in Honduras a year and a half ago. On his way out, Kaine, a Virginia senator, made a point of shaking hands with a delegate wearing a Bernie Sanders T-shirt, telling him, “Bernie is a great leader on my budget committee. A great guy.”
He presented his wife, Anne Holton, whom he said resigned as Virginia’s education secretary to go on the campaign trail with him.
“I’m 8-0,” Kaine bragged about his election record. He made a crack at his affable personality: “If you’re barely likable enough, politics is a good profession.”
When he accepts his nomination Wednesday night, Kaine said he’'ll be joined by his 81-year-old parents. His Marine son deployed two days ago to assist NATO allies.
Kaine said he expects to spend a lot of time working the grassroots for Clinton.
“I can’t wait to get back and hit the pavement,” he said. “Where I really kick it into eleventh gear is on the streets, pressing the flesh.”