NEW YORK — Sen. Tim Kaine has joked that when presidential running mate Hillary Clinton tapped him to join the ticket, she warned Kaine he was about to be kidnapped.
"When you say it's like being kidnapped, what do you mean by that?" CBS "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert asked.
"You know that scene in 'E.T.' when they go up into a big space ship," Kaine described. "You know, there's just such a huge operation of a presidential campaign has been going for 20 months and it's just massive."
The last stretch will be intense, he said, but if you've got to be on a presidential campaign, "just join in the last 95 days."
Kaine's appearance was his first on late night television as the Democratic vice presidential nominee, and his nerves showed as he endured questions from Colbert on everything from Donald Trump to disagreements with Clinton to immigration and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Colbert brought up Trump's attack this week on Clinton, when the Republican presidential nominee called her "a bigot." Kaine jumped to Clinton's defense.
"When Hillary Clinton got out of law school, she was working to help advance racial justice in the juvenile justice system in the south, segregation in Alabama," Kaine told Colbert. "And I about that time got out of law school, was battling housing discrimination in the south in Virginia.
"At his early career, Donald Trump was a real estate guy who got sued by the Justice Department for discriminating against people in housing," Kaine charged. "Hillary Clinton has got a track record all the way back to being a middle schooler in trying to advance priorities for others. Donald Trump is for himself."
When Colbert asked Kaine what he thought of Trump's supposed "softening," on his hardline immigration stance, Kaine said, "I don't buy it,” and then whipped out his Spanish speaking skills for what was some of his toughest language yet for the Republican nominee.
“Siempre el esta peleando contra la comunidad Latina con palabras de mala voluntad y acciones de un idiota,” Kaine said to booming audience applause, which can be translated to that he’s always fighting against the Latin community with words of ill will and the actions of an idiot.
That’s when Colbert admitted he doesn’t speak Spanish, but asked the senator for the Spanish word for “pander.” Kaine told him he doesn’t think there is one, that the word is "unique to the American political tradition."
The two also waded into some of the rumors swirling around the Democratic nominee.
"Let me ask an important question," Colbert said. "How's her health? Is she okay? Has she stood up on her own power?" he asked, mocking recent questions raised by Trump and his campaign surrogates about Clinton's medical state.
"I think she could beat me in the New York Marathon," Kaine quipped. "But we may not do that because there's a campaign."
Kaine continued his attempt to introduce himself to Americans, recounting the highlights of his bio. Kaine brought up his time as a missionary in Honduras, prompting Colbert to ask if he had a favorite Bible verse.
"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility in mind, consider others more important than yourself," Kaine said, quoting Philippians 2:3.
Colbert tried to test the senator, telling him that Clinton has said she was looking for a vice president who was willing to disagree with her, and asked about one thing they disagreed on. Kaine didn't budge.
"You think I'm new at this?" he asked, then pointed to his time working below another politician — as lieutenant governor under Mark Warner in Virginia and as the DNC chair under President Obama.
"My view on it is the same as with Hillary Clinton, which is, 'I'll tell ya if I disagree with you," he said. "But you're going to hear about it from me. You're not going to hear about it or read about it in the press and you're not going to see it on TV."
Kaine also couldn't escape the Internet memes caricaturing him as fatherly. Colbert seized on it, asking the senator, "Now, are you familiar with your role as America's stepdad?" He went on to read a slew of tweets, like, "Tim Kaine is that soccer dad who can sing along to any rap song, but hums the cuss words."
"I have been prepared for that for 26 years because I have three children who have been ribbing on me for saying those things since they were born," Kaine said.
The "Late Show" team has been enthralled with the physical similarities between Kaine and the show's post-production supervisor Mark Spada. So they showed Kaine a video where Colbert introduces Spada to people on the streets of New York as the senator, compete with harmonica playing, Spanglish speaking, and memories about Virginia.
"We offered for Mark to go out for you any time you are too tired," Colbert said, "If you ever need him, he's willing to step in. Of course, if you do step in, I'll need you to be my post-production supervisor."
The interview airs Thursday night on CBS.