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Hillary Clinton Chooses Sen. Tim Kaine For Vice President

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

It is official. Hillary Clinton has announced her pick for vice president. It is Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. The announcement was made just a short while ago in a text message to Clinton supporters. NPR's Tamara Keith is traveling with the Clinton campaign. She is in Tampa, Fla., right now, where Hillary Clinton held a rally this afternoon. Hello there, Tam.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hi. How's it going?

MCEVERS: Good. So it's - this has been expected for some time...

KEITH: Yes.

MCEVERS: ...That Hillary Clinton would pick Tim Kaine. Now that we know that he is the choice, what do you - what is it that you think made him the most attractive choice for her?

KEITH: Well, he - he is a safe choice. He also - and I think she's talked about this before, but he is someone who could be president if that - if that was the case. You know...

MCEVERS: Yeah.

KEITH: ...If something were to happen. He has a lot of executive experience. He was governor of Virginia. He was also mayor of Richmond, Va. And he is in the Senate now serving on both the Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, which means he has foreign policy experience as well. Also, they campaigned together recently and hit it off and felt that they had - she liked - we're told by an aide his low-key campaigning style.

MCEVERS: Even before this announcement was made, he was facing some opposition from progressive groups. What is it that they don't like about him, and could it - this opposition to him make it harder to unite the party after, you know, this pretty tough fight between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders?

KEITH: Well, you know, the biggest issue there is that he supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and she has said - that's the trade deal that is opposed vehemently by Bernie Sanders and also by Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton also opposes it. She says that she could not support it in its current form. She said that last October. Tim Kaine, as a senator, has supported it. And so that is one area that is a concern for progressives. Another area is that he has been somewhat - he signed some letters asking for some something for banks - that would help banking that progressive groups were not happy about it.

MCEVERS: What do we know about how this decision was finalized within the campaign?

KEITH: Well, what we do know is that Hillary Clinton called Tim Kaine tonight at about 7:30. After that, she told President Obama at about 7:45. We know that it's been a lengthy process, that her chief of staff brought her several - about a dozen binders back in April with potential VPs. She campaigned with Kaine. She's met with Kaine on a couple of occasions. And after they campaigned together in Virginia last week, he came back to her house. They had a meeting with staff and then later just met together. And then over this past weekend, their families met.

MCEVERS: That is NPR's Tamara Keith. She's in Tampa, Fla., with the news that Hillary Clinton has chosen Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate. Thank you so much, Tam.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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