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Warner defends Kaine’s travel as DNC chair

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Senator Mark Warner, a close ally of Governor Tim Kaine and a former governor himself, weighed in on the attacks his successor is taking from Republicans regarding his travel as DNC chair. During an interview yesterday from Washington, Warner told me that while he is confident that Kaine will always put Virginia first, the Governor should not be surprised the attacks are coming.

“I am sure, Tim Kaine understands that he was going to take some shots,” said Warner. “I am sure the Democrats took some shots at former Governor Gilmore when he was RNC chair.”

Kaine has been dealing with an almost daily barrage of attacks from the Republican Party of Virginia regarding his travel as DNC chair. The party even released a web video, parsing his words and accusing him of abandoning Virginia in a time of crisis. Kaine’s staff defended the Governor and said his travel was only on his time and generally only on the weekends when his state business was complete.

But his explanation was not enough for various media outlets that criticized the Governor on their editorial pages and investigated his travel even further to learn that not all of it took place only on weekends. When pressed by the Washington Post, Kaine refused to say that he will release his entire travel schedule ahead of time, but will only answer questions truthfully if a reporter were to ask about a specific trip.

Senator Warner, wouldn’t say if he thought that Kaine owed it to Virginia taxpayers to release his complete travel schedule, but did say that he understands the Governor’s concerns over his security.  “I do know as a former governor, from a security standpoint the state police folks who provide incredible executive protection for the Governor and their families, like to not broadcast too much, ahead of time in particular,” said Warner. But the Senator did not go as far as to say that Kaine was handling the release of the information appropriately.  “I will let Governor Kaine and you folks work out all the issues on the travel.”

But while Warner did not emphatically defend the way the Governor is handling the questions about his travel, he was quick to say that under Kaine’s stewardship the commonwealth of Virginia is outperforming the rest of the country. He said that when he is on the clock, Kaine is making all the right moves.

“I think his first job, his 9 to 5 job and for that matter not just 9 to 5 but more like 9 to 9 everyday, is still Virginia first and foremost.”

Extended clips from my interview with Senator Warner can be found after the jump.

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Written by Ryan Nobles

June 26, 2009 at 10:32 am

Posted in Kaine Administration

Tagged with ,

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