Tim Kaine might have given the most important speech of his life on Wednesday night. The Democratic vice presidential candidate introduced himself to delegates (and people watching at home) at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, many of whom were getting to know for the first time. This was Kaine's chance to make a lasting first impression on voters before the next phase of presidential campaigning begins — which is why the transcript of Tim Kaine's DNC remarks and the issues he reinforced are so important for the Democratic ticket.
Tim Kaine was only one of the incredible guests who spoke on Wednesday night. Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama also spoke on Wednesday, as well as Dr. Jill Biden, actress Sigourney Weaver, and musician Lenny Kravitz. (Can you imagine having to speak on that stage? It was a lineup that practically rivaled Coachella.) Still, there was no doubt on Wednesday night, once Kaine got on stage, that he belonged there — his words alone proved he was more than worthy.
Wednesday night's theme for the convention was "Working Together." According to the DNC, "speakers [would] take an in-depth look into how hight the stakes are in this election and how Hillary has the experience and steadiness to bring people together to tackle the big challenges and get real results." Kaine could not have done a better job tackling that theme in his own speech.
If the voting turn out ends in Clinton and Kaine's favor, both Clinton and Kaine will be working very closely together for the next four years. Kaine's remarks fully summed up the importance of Wednesday night's theme while still effectively introducing himself.
Read the full transcript of Kaine's speech below:
Thank you everybody! Hello Philadelphia! Hello Democratic family!
I want to start off by thanking my beautiful wife Ann and my three wonderful children, Nat, Woody and Annella. They're sitting right up there.
You know, my son Nat deployed with his Marine battalion just two days ago. He um, he deployed overseas to protect and defend the very NATO allies that Donald Trump says he now wants to abandon. Semper fi, Nat! Semper fi.
My parents and my in-laws are here. Their siblings and spouses, our nieces and nephews, and hundreds of friends from Virginia and beyond. I love seeing you front and center!
Including my friend of 37 years Senior Senator Mark Warner, my great Governor Terry McAuliffe, and my great friend congressman Bobby Scott.
We love you all.
Today for my wife Anne and every strong woman in this country, for Nat, Woody, and Annella, and every young person starting out in life to make their own dreams real, for every man and woman serving our country, in the military at home or abroad, for every working family working hard to get ahead and stay ahead.
For my parents and in-laws and every senior citizen who hopes for a dignified retirement with healthcare and the research to end diseases like Alzheimer's, for every American who wants our country to be a beloved community where people aren't demeaned because of who they are but rather respected for their contributions to this nation.
And for all of us who know that the brightest future for our country is the one that we build together and for my friend Hillary Clinton, I humbly accept my party's nomination to be vice president of the United States.
Can I be honest with you about something? I never expected to be here. But let me tell you how it happened.
I was born in Minnesota but grew up in Kansas City.
My folks weren't much into politics my dad ran a union working iron shop in the stockyards and my mom was his best salesman.
My two brothers and I pitched in to work during summers and weekends and you know, thats how small family businesses do it.
My parents Al and Kathy, here tonight and going strong, they taught me about hard work and about kindness and most especially about faith.
I went to a Jesuit Boy's High School — Rockhurst High School. We had a motto at our school, "men for others" thats where my faith became vital, a North Star for orienting my life. And when I left high school I knew that I wanted to battle for social justice. Like so many of you.
That's why I took a year off of law school to volunteer with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras. I taught kids welding and carpentry.
Faith family and work.
And let me tell you what really struck me there. I got a first hand look at a different system — a dictatorship — a dictatorship where a few people at the top had all the power and everyone else got left out.
That convinced me to advance opportunity for everybody no matter where you come from. how much money you have, what you look like, how you worship, or who you love.
Back in 1970, in Virginia, a Republican Governor named Linwood Holton believed the exact same thing. He integrated Virginia's public schools so black and white kids could finally learn together and then the family enrolled their own kids including his daughter, Anne, in those integrated and inner city schools.
Many years later Anne went off to college and she brought those critical lessons with her and then one day in a study group she met this goofy guy who had been teaching kids in Honduras. Well, Anne and I have now been married almost 32 years and I am the luckiest husband in the world.
You know, let me tell you something, Anne's parents, Lin and Jinks are here today, almost 90 plus and still going strong.
Linwood Holton — he is still a Republican but he is voting for an awful lot of Democrats these days.
And heres why. He's voting for Democrats because any party that would nominate Donald Trump as president has moved too far away from his party of Lincoln. And if you're looking for that party of Lincoln, we've got a home for you right here in the Democratic Party.
Linwood's example helped inspire me as a civil rights lawyer for seventeen years I took on banks, landlords, real estate firms, local governments — anyone who treated anybody unfairly.
I had a six year case against an insurance company that was discriminating against minority neighborhoods all across America issuing homeowners insurance.
Folks, Democratic friends, these are the battles I have fought my entire life. And thats the story of how I decided to run for office.
My city of Richmond was divided and discouraged in the early 1990's. We had an epidemic of gun violence that overwhelmed our low income neighborhoods. People were pointing fingers and casting blame instead of finding answers.
And I couldn't stand it. So I ran for city council. And I won that first race almost 20 years ago with a landslide by almost 94 votes.
And I said if I'm good at politics because I started at the local level, listening to people, learning about their lives and trying to get results. I see a mayor here, he knows what I'm talking about.
Later, I became Mayor of Richmond, Lieutenant Governor, and the 70th Governor of Virginia. I was a hard time Governor — steering my state through the deepest recession since the 1930's. But tough times don't last — tough people do. And Virginians are tough. Smart, too.
We achieved national recognition for our work — best managed state, best state for business, best state for a child to be raised, low unemployment, high family income.
We shed tears in the days after a horrible mass shooting at Virginia Tech, but we rolled up our sleeves, and fixed a loophole in our background check system to make us safer.
And we invested in our people — expanding pre-K and higher education, because education was the key to all we wanted to be.
Now I have the honor of serving in the Senate. I work on the Armed Forces and Foreign Relations Committees to keep us safe at home and strong in the world. I work on the Budget Committee, with Bernie Sanders, a great leader, fighting for investments in education, health care, research and transportation.
And I serve on the Aging Committee, making sure that seniors have a secure retirement and don't get targeted by rip-off artists who will scam them out of their saving or overcharge them for prescription drugs.
And heres a funny thing: I spend a lot of time with a lot of Republican Senators, who, once they've made sure nobody is listening, will tell you how fantastic a Senator Hillary Clinton was.
My journey has convinced me that God has created a rich tapestry in this country — an incredible cultural diversity that succeeds when we embrace everyone with love and battle back against the dark forces of division.
We are all neighbors and we must love our neighbors as ourselves.
Hillary Clinton and I are companeros del alma. We share this belief: do all the good you can. Serve one another. That's what I'm about. That's what you and I are about.
That's what Bernie Sanders is about. That's what Joe Biden is about. That's what Barack and Michelle Obama are about. And that's what Hillary Clinton is about.
Now, last week in Cleveland, we heard a lot about trust. So let's talk about trust. I want to tell you why I trust Hillary Clinton.
First, she's consistent. She has battled to put kids and families first since she was a teenager — in good times and bad, in victor and defeat, in and out of office, through hell or high water.
Fighting for underprivileged kids at the Children's Defense Fund. Fighting to get health insurance for 8 million kids when she was First Lady. Fighting for the well being and girls around the world.
Here's a little tip for you: When you want to know the character of someone in public life, look to see if they have passion, one that began before they were in office and they have consistently held on to throughout their career.
Hillary's passion is kids and families. Donald Trump has a passion too: It's himself.
And it's not just words with Hillary, it's accomplishments. She delivers. As a Senator, after 9/11, she battled Congressional Republicans to care for the first responders who saved victims of the terrorist attack.
As Secretary of State she implemented tough sanctions against Iran to pave the way for diplomatic breakthrough that curtailed a dangerous nuclear weapons program.
She stood against thugs and dictators and was a key part of the Obama national security team that decided to go to the ends of the earth to wipe out Osama bin Laden.
Hey, remember Karla, the little girl we heard from on Monday who feared her parents would be deported? She trusts Hillary to keep them together. And remember the Mothers of the Movement we heard from last night? They trust Hillary to keep other mother's sons and daughters safe.
And as he's serving our nation abroad, I trust Hillary with our son's life.
You know who I don't trust? Donald Trump. 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 know the words I mean? "Believe me."
It's gonna be great — believe me. 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.
By the way, does anyone here believe Donald Trump has been paying his fair share of taxes? Do you believe he ought to release those tax returns like every other presidential candidate in modern history? Of course he should. Donald, what are you hiding?
And yet he still says "believe me." Believe me? Here's the thing? Most people when they run for President, they don't just say "believe me." They respect you enough to tell you how to get things done.
For example, you can go to HillaryClinton.com right now and find out how she'll make the biggest investment in new jobs in generations, and how she'll defend and build on Wall Street reform. You can see how she'll reform our immigration system and create a path to citizenship, and how she'll make it possible to graduate from college debt-free. You can see how she'll guarantee equal pay for women and make paid family leave a reality. With one click you'll see how she'll do it, how she'll pay for it and how we'll benefit.
Not Donald Trump. He never tells you how he's going to do any of the things he is going to do. He just says "believe me." So here's the question? Do you really believe him? Donald Trump's whole career says you better not.
Small businesses — companies just like my dad's — believed him when he said he would pay them to build a casino in Atlantic City. They did the work, hung the drywall, poured the concrete. But a year after opening, Trump filed for bankruptcy. He walked away with millions. They got pennies on the dollar. Some of them went out of business. All because they believed Donald Trump.
Retirees and families believed Donald Trump when he said he'd build them condos. They paid their deposits, but the condos were never built. He pocketed their money and walked away.
They lost tens of thousands of dollars all because they believed Donald Trump. Charity after charity believed Donald Trump when he said he would contribute to them. And thousands of Trump University students believed Donald Trump when he said he would help them succeed. They got stiffed.
He says "believe me." Well his creditors, his contractors, his laid off employers, his ripped off students did just that. Folks, you cannot believe one word that comes out of Donald Trump's mouth. Our nation is too great to put it in the hands of a slick-talking, empty promising, self promoting one man wrecking crew.
Don't take it from me. Take it from Former First Lady Barbara Bush. She said she didn't know how any woman could vote for him after his offensive comments. Or John McCain's former economic advisor — who estimates Donald Trump's promises could cost America 3.5 million jobs. Or independent analysts that found Trump's tax plan, a gift to the wealthy, would rack up $30 trillion in debt.
Or John Kasich, the republican governor who has the honor of hosting the Republican Convention in Cleveland but wouldn't attend it because he thinks Trump is such a moral disaster. Or take it from the guy who co-wrote Donald Trump's autobiography. For Trump, he said, "lying is second nature to him." So do you believe him? Does anybody here believe him?
The next President will face many challenges. We better elect the candidate who's proven that she can be trusted with the job. The candidate who's proven she's ready for the job. And, by the way, I use the word "ready" for a specific reason. When I lived in Honduras, I learned that the best compliment you could give someone was to say they were listo — ready.
Not inteligente — smart. Not amable — friendly. Not rico — rich. But listo. Because listo means in Spanish is prepared, battle-tested, rock-solid, up for anything, never backing down. And Hillary Clinton is lista.
She's ready because of her faith. She's ready because of her heart. She's ready because of her experience. She's ready because she knows in America we are stronger together. My fellow Democrats, this week we begin the new chapter in our proud story.
Thomas declared all men equal, and Abigail remembered the women. Woodrow brokered peace, and Eleanor broke down barriers. Jack told us to ask, and Lyndon answered the call. Martin had a dream, Cesar y Dolores said si se puede and Harvey gave his life. Bill bridged a century, and Barack gave us hope.
And now Hillary is ready. Ready to fight, ready to win, ready to lead. Thank you Philadelphia. God bless you all.