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!”
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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.”