By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Nearly a hundred loyal Democrats packed the party's local headquarters Thursday to welcome Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton's vice presidential running mate, and his wife, Anne Holton, on their first, but what Kaine assured the crowd would not be their last, visit to New Hampshire as a couple.
"I can't resist talking about yesterday," Kaine began, referring to Clinton's speech to the American Legion Convention in Cincinnati and Donald Trump's speech on immigration in Phoenix on Wednesday. Clinton, he said, showed "what it means for America to lead" and that the presidency "is a job for a professional, not a first-timer, an amateur or a dilettante." Clinton, he said, talked about "the right way to stay secure" by maintaining both a strong military and strong alliances.
Trump, he continued, "had a different kind of day." Noting that throughout his campaign Trump has talked of building a wall along the southern border at Mexico's expense, he turned to Trump's brief visit with Enrique Pena Nieto, the president of Mexico. "When they were in a small room, eye-to-eye," Kaine said, "he didn't even bring it up. He lost his nerve, lost his confidence and kind of chickened out." Dismissing Trump's claims to be a "tough negotiator," Kaine he said that he is "talking out of both sides of his mouth" and "losing his backbone at a key moment."
Kaine said that Trump's speech echoed similar speeches delivered the Irish in the 1840s, the Italians in the 1850s, the Jews in 1880s and other immigrants from central and eastern Europe in the 19th century. He said it was divisive then and it is divisive now and recalled the hallmark of there Clinton campaign "Stronger Together!"
"It's humbling to be one this ticket," Kaine said. He noted that five of the first 10 presidents hailed from Virginia, but because of slavery, Jim Crow laws and resistance to integration, "we consigned ourselves to irrelevance" and this year a Virginian is on a presidential ticket for the first time since John Tyler was elected in 1841.
With Martha Jefferson Randolph, the daughter of Thomas Jefferson, Kaine's wife is the only other daughter of a governor of Virginia to also become First Lady of Virginia. Her father, Linwood Holton, served as the first Republican governor since Reconstruction from 1970 to 1974 when she was a teenager, and she became First Lady when Kaine was elected governor in 2005, making her the only person to live in the governor's mansion as both a child and an adult.
But, Holton not only her father's daughter and her husband's wife, but a presence in the public life of Virginia in her own right. A lawyer, she spent 13 years with the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society and seven as a judge on the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in Richmond. She resigned from the bench when Kaine was elected governor, but in 2010 was named Education Secretary by his successor.
Little wonder Holton remarked that her "biggest gift to Hillary was teaching Tim to be a great supporter of a strong woman." Recalling touring Ohio with Clinton by bus after the Democratic convention she said what impressed the most her ability to "multi-task," to speak about the nuances of foreign affairs or the details of education policy while tending to the needs of her family.
Like his wife, Kaine practiced law in Richmond. In 1994 he was elected to the first of four terms on the City Council, the last two as mayor, became Lieutenant Governor in 2001 and Governor in 2005. Rumored as high on the vice presidential short list in 2008, he instead agreed to chair the Democratic National Committee and in 2012 was elected to the United States Senate.