PHILADELPHIA -- On the heels of the Democratic National Convention and with just over 100 days until the general election, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine kicked off a campaign swing Friday that will take them through economically struggling regions of Pennsylvania and Ohio, which GOP rival Donald Trump has put at the top of his target list of swing states.
"I'm not telling you everything is peachy keen. I'm telling you we've made progress but we have work to do," Clinton said, subtly responding to Trump’s criticism that the DNC was delivered from a “fantasy universe."
The more casual format of the upcoming barnstorm suits Kaine just fine, said the VP candidate, who explained he felt “weird” being on the big convention stage because, “I don’t like wearing a tie that much.”
He spoke seemingly extemporaneously, drawing heavily on his Catholic faith. But he did not mention the fresh questions about whether he has changed his position to join Clinton's in wanting to overturn a law that bars taxpayer dollars from being used for abortion.
The vice presidential nominee said he was proud of how “upbeat positive” the Democrats' convention was compared to the Republican one last week in Cleveland, which Kaine said was “a journey through Donald Trump’s mind -- and that is a very frightening place.”
Kaine was joined on stage his wife, Anne Holton, and Clinton by her husband, former President Bill Clinton. The image was subtle, but remarkable: For the first time in American history, the two women onstage were not the spouses of the candidates.
Bill Clinton seems to be so far navigating the uncharted territory of potentially being America’s first "first gentleman." He was spotted playing with balloons on the convention floor Thursday night as his wife waved to the cameras with her running-mate, and the former president kept a smile on his face Friday as he sat a few feet behind his wife. Bill Clinton did not speak at the event.
It had to be one of very few times in recent decades that Bill Clinton has ever sat on a stage and never gone to the microphone.
Philadelphia has always been good to the Clintons and Friday was no exception. “We trust Hillary!" a man shouted, prompting an eruption of cheers. There can hardly be anything Clinton aides would want to hear more than that, given their hard work at the convention to chip into Americans' perceptions that Clinton is untrustworthy.
When a heckler shouted that Clinton was a war criminal, the man was quickly overpowered by pro-Cliton chants and Clinton was not interrupted again.
“I’ll tell you something else, [the Founders] also expected a kind of raucous debate in America,” Clinton said in apparent response to the protesters. “But at the end of the debate, we have to come together and get things done, don’t we?