- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 6, 2004

ROANOKE — Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine yesterday vowed to protect spending increases provided by Virginia’s new $60 billion budget and chided Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore and other Republicans who opposed it.

“I have a message for him and any other official who wants to return to recklessness,” Mr. Kaine told a raucous crowd at the state Democratic convention. “I will not let you roll back the progress we made.”

Mr. Kaine, who likely will run against Mr. Kilgore for governor in 2005, noted that even the attorney general’s twin brother, Terry, voted for the budget.

Mr. Kilgore had supported a voter referendum, asking the public to decide whether the state should raise taxes.

About 1,100 people packed into the convention hall at the Hotel Roanoke, cooling themselves with cardboard fans. Former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland, a Vietnam veteran who is campaigning for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, said he knows of 100,000 veterans who support Mr. Kerry, and as the war in Iraq continues, he expects 900,000 more to back the Massachusetts senator by November.

“Nothing prepares you better for being president of the United States (more) than getting shot at,” Mr. Cleland said of Mr. Kerry. “You learn something about yourself. About leadership.”

He said the war in Iraq was a disaster, but it has strengthened the resolve of Democrats to battle “for the soul of the country.”

Earlier in the day, Democrats finished selecting the 97 delegates and 13 alternates to the national convention in Boston. Candidates for statewide office also kicked off their campaigns by introducing themselves with rock and roll tunes.

Delegate J. Chapman Petersen, who strode to the podium to “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi, said he wanted to serve the entire state and announced he was running for lieutenant governor.

“I won my seat the old-fashioned way — I beat a Republican incumbent … in a district he drew with his own pencil,” the Fairfax Democrat said.

Delegate Viola Osborne Baskerville of Richmond, Sen. Phillip P. Puckett of Tazewell and former Sen. Leslie Byrne of Fairfax also said they would seek the party’s nomination for lieutenant governor.

State Sens. Robert Creigh Deeds of Bath County and John S. Edwards of Roanoke both announced they were running for attorney general.

Mr. Deeds blamed Mr. Kilgore for trying to dismantle affirmative-action programs at state universities and colleges and said he would try to “take the politics” out of the office.

Delegate Brian J. Moran of Alexandria said he decided against running for statewide office this year.

“I’ve got a young family, and (running) would require more time and energy than I have right now,” Mr. Moran said.

Mr. Kaine was led into the ballroom by a parade of sign-waving supporters and took several minutes to reach the stage. He joked about the bandage under his left eye, which covered a cut from smacking his face into the door of his truck.

“I know this looks bad, but folks, you should have seen Jim Gilmore,” Mr. Kaine said, referring to former Gov. James S. Gilmore III, a Republican.

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