- The Washington Times - Friday, July 22, 2016

Hillary Clinton on Friday tapped Sen. Tim Kaine to be her running mate, taking a cautious, safe approach that could earn her goodwill with moderates and may aid her in Mr. Kaine’s swing state of Virginia — but her choice surely will leave progressives who had been hoping for a bolder choice disappointed, frustrated and questioning whether the former first lady truly will fight for a liberal agenda in the White House.

The announcement came Friday evening after a deliberation process that reportedly went down to the wire, with Mrs. Clinton, campaign chairman John Podesta and others informing losing candidates by phone that they had not be chosen.

Labor Secretary Tom Perez, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are among those Mrs. Clinton passed over in favor of Mr. Kaine.

Mrs. Clinton made the announcement on Twitter just hours after she finished speaking at a campaign rally in Tampa. The Democratic duo — who disagree on some issues deeply important to the party’s progressive base, such as free trade and Wall Street regulation — will appear together Saturday in Miami before traveling to Philadelphia for the party convention, which begins Monday afternoon.

“I’m thrilled to announce my running mate, Tim Kaine, a man who’s devoted his life to fighting for others,” she tweeted. “Tim Kaine is a relentless optimist who believes no problem is unsolvable if you put in the work to solve it.”

The former mayor of Richmond, governor of Virginia and chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Mr. Kaine, 58, was elected to his first Senate term in 2012 and is widely viewed as highly qualified but lacking the charisma of fellow Democrats such as Mrs. Warren. The Missouri native and former missionary has even described himself as “boring.”

President Obama, former President Bill Clinton and other top Democrats reportedly pushed the former first lady to select Mr. Kaine as her No. 2. Mr. Kaine also was on Mr. Obama’s V.P. short list in 2008, but ultimately was passed over in favor of then-Sen. Joseph R. Biden.

With experience on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Mr. Kaine brings to the table the foreign policy experience Mrs. Clinton wants on her ticket. The senator also speaks Spanish fluently, which could help Democratic efforts to rally the Hispanic vote ahead of the November election.

But Mr. Kaine also brings substantial problems and could make it harder for Mrs. Clinton to reunite a Democratic Party still fractured after a lengthy primary fight. Many liberal supporters of Sen. Bernard Sanders still are not enamored with Mrs. Clinton, and the Kaine pick will do little to soothe their concerns.

Mr. Kaine, for example, supports the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, which liberals deeply oppose and Mrs. Clinton herself has come out against. She reversed course on the issue during the primary, having previously backed the proposal while secretary of state.

Just this week, Mr. Kaine signed a bipartisan letter calling for sections of the landmark Dodd-Frank financial reforms to be undone, leading to an outcry from progressives who urged Mrs. Clinton to make a different choice.

On Friday night, they said the Kaine pick gives her Republican rival Donald Trump ammunition on trade, an important issue to working-class voters.

“As we saw in Donald Trump’s speech last night, Republicans will run hard against Democrats on trade this year. Unfortunately, since Tim Kaine voted to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Republicans now have a new opening to attack Democrats on this economic populist issue,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the powerful Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

Republicans also pounced on the news and mocked Mrs. Clinton for, in their words, undoing the supposed shift to the left she’s been making over the past year.

“Hillary Clinton’s choice of Tim Kaine does nothing to unify a fractured Democrat base which is repelled by her dishonesty and cronyism,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. “After spending last week pandering to grassroots Democrats with Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton has chosen someone who holds positions that she’s spent the entire primary trying to get to the left of.”

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