PHILADELPHIA -- Sen. Timothy M. Kaine (D-Va.) plans to return home to Richmond on Monday for a campaign rally following his address to the Democratic National Convention here on Wednesday night and an upcoming three-day bus tour with his running mate, Hillary Clinton.
The rally in Richmond will be the first public event -- aside from unannounced visits to a diner and his church -- that Kaine has held in his home state since being named as Clinton’s vice presidential candidate on Friday.
During his acceptance speech here, Kaine delivered a workmanlike defense of Clinton's presidential candidacy while attacking Donald Trump's fitness for office.
As part of an effort to contrast Clinton’s preparedness to be commander in chief with that of Trump, Kaine reminded the crowd that his son, Nat, deployed this week with U.S. Marines to Eastern Europe, declaring, "I trust Hillary Clinton with our son’s life."
"You know who I don’t trust? Donald Trump," Kaine added. "The guy promises a lot. But you might have noticed, he has a habit of saying the same two words right after he makes his biggest promises. You guys know the words I mean? 'Believe me.'"
"It’s gonna be great – believe me!" Kaine said, dropping his voice to impersonate the GOP nominee. "We’re gonna build a wall and make Mexico pay for it – believe me! We’re gonna destroy ISIS so fast – believe me! There’s nothing suspicious in my tax returns – believe me!"
Kaine also used the address to introduce himself to a country that knows little about him.
He recounted his rise from a missionary in Honduras, to an attorney, Richmond mayor, lieutenant governor, governor and senator. As a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, he said that Republican colleagues privately recounted "how fantastic a senator Hillary Clinton was."
"Hillary Clinton and I are compañeros del alma," he said -- using the Spanish term for soul mates. "We share this belief: Do all the good you can. Serve one another. That’s what I’m about.”
At various points, Kaine showed that he could embrace the traditional role of attack dog that vice presidential candidates play.
"Folks, you cannot believe one word that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth,” Kaine said. “Not one word. And I'll tell ya, to me, it just seems like our nation, it is just too great to put it in the hands of a slick-talking, empty-promising, self-promoting, one man wrecking crew."
While his selection has been warmly received in some quarters, a number of progressive groups -- some with ties to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the runner up in the Democratic primaries -- have questioned whether Kaine is progressive enough.
He drew some scattered boos at the start of his speech and a few pockets of delegates waved signs in opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact that Kaine has supported in the past. After calling it the “gold standard” of trade deals while secretary of state, Clinton has come to oppose the pact, like most congressional Democrats including Sanders.
The Virginia delegation, meanwhile, broke out into cheers of "Kaine" and waved "Stronger Together" signs in Spanish and English when the senator took the stage.
Kaine began his day with a breakfast speech to his home-state delegation. Referencing his son’s deployment, Kaine said Trump has fought to avoid paying taxes that fund the military -- a potent message in veterans-rich Virginia.
“Who’s funding veterans’ programs?” he asked. “Who’s funding veterans’ services? Folks like you and me, but Donald Trump’s too big to have to fund veterans, too big to have to fund our military… too big to have to fund the things that make us a great nation.”
“I guess that’s just for suckers to have to pay for the society we have,” he said, as the audience of friends and supporters cheered.
Kaine is scheduled to appear with Clinton at a rally here on Friday following the final night of the Democratic convention. The new ticket is then planning to embark on a bus trip through the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Ohio.
According to Clinton’s campaign, Clinton and Kaine will be joined along the way by their respective spouses: a former president and a current secretary of education in Virginia.