Kaine defends DNC chairmanship
It was a job he didn’t want. A job he said would force him to take his “eye off the ball” of his responsibilities as Virginia’s Governor. But as he gets ready to leave the Executive Branch of the Commonwealth’s Government and take on the role of Democratic National Committee Chairman full-time, Tim Kaine is attempting to make the case that having both jobs at the same time actually helped the people of Virginia.
I asked Kaine about his service as DNC chair during my lengthy exit interview with the Governor last month. Kaine made no apologies for taking the job, despite his own reservations prior to taking on the role. Describing himself as a “patriot”, The Governor told me that when the President asks you to serve, you answer the call. But he agreed only after he and Barack Obama came to an understanding.
“The President and I had a very candid conversation,” Kaine told me. “I said, I am the Governor of Virginia and that is my first responsibility.”
Kaine said that Mr. Obama instructed him to concentrate on being Governor and tend to DNC business when he had time, before taking up the mantle completely in 2010. He said that looking back, his view of serving those two masters was incorrect. “Results speak for themselves,” Kaine said as he pointed to Virginia’s record as a business friendly state and its continued recognition as one of the best-managed states in the Country.
But Kaine did not stop at defending his decision to take on the DNC role, he went a step further and tried to build the case that his close relationship with the President actually helped the people of Virginia. “The citizens have understood it,” he said. “I think the citizens understood pretty quickly, ‘wait is there any downside to the Governor having a close working relationship with the President?’ The answer is no.”
Kaine said he was able to leverage his relationship with the White House to encourage them to issue an executive order to begin work on cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and keep an aircraft carrier from being moved from Norfolk Bay. According to the Governor that advantage to the Commonwealth, far outweighed the negative aspects of serving as the leader of the national Democratic party.
“It’s meant I haven’t had a personal life for the last year,” said Kaine. “But the citizens have gotten it and I have been able to work with the White House to do some positive things for Virginia.”
This Saturday during our special coverage of Bob McDonnell‘s Inauguration, I will have special in-depth look at Governor Kaine’s four years in office. The story will include more never heard clips from my one-on-one interview with the Governor. Our coverage of the event begins at 11:30 and we will broadcast the entire Inauguration on NBC12-TV and NBC12.com.
You can see the entire extended clip on Kaine and the DNC from our interview, below.