ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, took a big step toward shedding the “boring” label on Monday night, as he whipped out a harmonica and joined some musicians playing at a local brewpub here following a campaign rally.
The senator from Virginia, who became Hillary Clinton’s running mate barely three weeks ago, accompanied a male-female guitar and vocal duo for a rousing rendition of “Wagon Wheel.” Soon thereafter, as the trio launched into “My Home’s Across the Blue Ridge Mountains,” Kaine’s wife, Anne Holton — until recently the secretary of education in Virginia — danced alongside the band.
Upon finishing the second song, Kaine declared himself “ready for another beer” and moved to the bar at Catawba Brewing Company, ordering himself one of the establishment’s specialties, a White Zombie White Ale, as the traveling press corps looked on.
Kaine has played the harmonica since his youth, and his proclivity to jam at bluegrass jamborees has been part of his political persona in Virginia. But Monday was the first time this side of him was on display on a national stage since he joined Clinton’s ticket.
Kaine’s outing followed a campaign rally here at which his wife introduced him to the crowd. Kaine told his audience that having her with him made it feel kind of like a vacation.
During the run-up to his selection by Clinton, Kaine, a former Richmond mayor and Virginia governor, was widely pegged as a safe choice for the Democrats. For some, that translated as boring — a notion Kaine didn’t exactly refute.
During an appearance on “Meet the Press” in June, Kaine told host Chuck Todd: “I am boring. … But boring is the fast-growing demographic in this country.”
Prior to making his way to the brewpub, Kaine greeted patrons at Buxton Hall, an adjoining restaurant that advertises its “bar-b-cue.” Kaine, his wife and several staff members, including communications director Karen Finney, who was celebrating her birthday, decided to have dinner there.
The meal, according to an aide, included barbecue chicken, catfish, pork, a couple of side dishes and two pitchers of beer.