Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) is channeling Yogi Berra: the election ain’t over 'til it’s over.
The Democratic vice presidential nominee appeared exclusively on NBC News’ “Meet the Press”, where he said he and Hillary Clinton aren’t “taking anything for granted” despite opening up a wide lead over Donald Trump in recent polling.
“It’s been a season of surprises,” Kaine told moderator Chuck Todd. “We’re going to hammer to do everything we can before the polls close on the evening of November 8th.”
One of the surprises, of course, has been the WikiLeaks hack of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails.
Kaine criticized the hack, saying it was “connected to a Russian government propaganda effort to destabilize the election” but still did not verify any of the emails’ authenticity.
“I think there’s a capacity for much of the information in them to be wrong,” he said.
Nonetheless, many of the WikiLeaks revelations are troubling to progressives, who were already skeptical of Secretary Clinton’s position on key issues, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Kaine said progressives’ doubts about his running mate were not fair.
However, one of the WikiLeaks hacked emails revealed Clinton advisers were concerned that coming out against the trade deal would be seen as a “huge flip flop.”
Kaine reiterated that Clinton came out against TPP because the final agreement “falls far short of her standards.”
Pressed on whether he and Clinton would pursue a new Asian trade agreement if elected, Kaine said they “haven’t talked about that question directly” but added “you never close the door if you can get a deal that’s going to be good for American workers and our economy.”
With the realities of post-Election Day life fast approaching, Kaine will have to make a decision about when to resign his Senate seat, should he win the Vice Presidency.
Kaine says “it’s pretty common” for a President- or Vice President-elect to serve “at least for part” of a lame duck session of Congress. This lame duck session could see key issues such as TPP and Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination come to the floor for a vote.
Sen. Kaine said one consideration will be the timing of when the Governor of Virginia appoints a replacement, so as not to “leave a gap, where Virginia would only have one senator.”
Kaine said he hasn’t “had a chance to dig into the details”, but noted that he is “generally pro-competition.”
He added, “Less concentration… is generally helpful, especially in the media.”