5 Things To Know About Tim Kaine
After weeks of speculation, Hillary Clinton's campaign has announced she will tap Tim Kaine as her running mate.
The Virginia senator is a political veteran who has served at nearly every level of government. He's a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and has been a mayor, governor and senator. President Obama nearly picked him in 2008, but this time he got the job. He is seen as a safe choice in an anything but traditional election year.
Kaine himself joked about his scandal-free background on "Meet The Press" in June, saying, "I am boring ... but boring is the fastest-growing demographic in this country."
Here are five quick facts to get to know the new Democratic nominee for vice president:
1. He has never lost an election
Kaine began his political career on the Richmond, Va., City Council in 1994 and was later elected by the council to be the city's mayor. In 2001, Kaine was elected as Virginia's lieutenant governor and in 2005 he won election as governor. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 2012.
Kaine's rise through the political world has been steady and, in some cases, with a hint of luck: He won his Senate seat four years ago when incumbent Jim Webb, a first-term senator, did not seek re-election. Kaine got the Democratic Party's nomination after no other Democrats filed to run.
Kaine's opponent in that election, former Sen. George Allen, ran attack ads linking Kaine to President Obama, whereas Kaine's campaign focused on a positive message. That approach might make it difficult for the Trump campaign to have success "getting under Tim Kaine's skin," former Virginia state Sen. John Watkins said, according to the Associated Press.
2. He is fluent in Spanish
Kaine learned Spanish while living in Honduras in 1980. He took a year off from law school to work at a technical school with Jesuit missionaries.
In 2013, Kaine spoke in Spanish for almost 13 minutes on the floor of the Senate advocating for an immigration overhaul bill crafted by the bipartisan "Gang of Eight."
It marked the first time a senator gave an entire speech on the floor in a language that was not English, although others have spoken briefly in Spanish before.
In the speech, Kaine said he felt it was appropriate to speak in his second language because Spanish — which has been spoken in the U.S. for hundreds of years — is still "spoken by more than 40 million Americans with a huge investment in the result of this debate."
Earlier this month at a Clinton rally in California, Kaine taught the crowd how to say "Ready for Hillary" in Spanish.
3. He has a son in the military
Kaine's son Nat is an active-duty Marine, which makes Kaine one of just a few members of Congress who have a child serving in the military.
In 2014, Kaine met with Virginia veterans at a momentous time in his son's military career, according to the Culpeper Star Exponent. "My son is an infantry officer who takes control of his first platoon Monday so these are issues that matter to me personally," he said. Perhaps as a result of his son's military experience, Kaine has focused on military and foreign policy in Congress, serving on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
In an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Kaine criticized comments that GOP nominee Donald Trump made criticizing the military.
"When I hear Donald Trump say the American military is a disaster, I want to go through the screen and shake the guy," Kaine said in the interview. "We ought to have a commander in chief who talks about our troops with respect and gratitude."
4. He officiates weddings
If you're on Kaine's staff, you might have a built-in wedding officiant in the devout Catholic lawmaker.
Kaine officiated the wedding of his communications director, Amy Dudley, in April. He obtained temporary officiant status through the District of Columbia to perform the ceremony.
Back in 2007 when Kaine was governor, he also officiated the wedding of Mo Elleithee, the former communications director at the Democratic National Committee, who also helped in Kaine's gubernatorial race a few years before.
5. He plays the harmonica
Kaine has played the harmonica for over two decades, according to Roll Call. He has been known to make appearances with it on and off the campaign trail.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Kaine joked that his harmonica is actually a safety net.
"In politics you've got to have a fallback in our line of work because your career can be over in an instant," Kaine told the Post. "Not that I would make much money playing a harmonica."
He also told the Post that he's not very good.
"I've had people comment less than favorably on my quality. My wife is the most honest," Kaine said. "She says, 'Hey, you ought to play anytime they ask you because as soon as you're not in elected office, they're not going to ask you anymore.' "
Kaine seems to truly enjoy being known for his skills. According to his website, the senator loves "playing harmonica with bluegrass bands throughout Virginia." And his Twitter page also professes him to be a "harmonica enthusiast." Although, it does seem to lead to some tough choices: