Kaine Coming Out of National Spotlight

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

February 1, 2006

The governor of Virginia is coming out of the national spotlight after delivering the Democratic Response to President Bush's State of the Union Address. Many believed this was a big step for Governor Tim Kaine--a step that came just one month after becoming the leader of the Commonwealth.

From the Executive Mansion in Richmond Tuesday night, Tim Kaine responded to President Bush's State of the Union Address. Some experts say the governor did it rather well.

"The speech itself was very good. It seemed to be a well crafted response to what the president said," said director of communications for UVa's Center for Politics, Matt Smyth. "It didn't attack the President, but it talked about disagreements on issues, or at least ways to handle issues."

According to Smyth, what worked to Kaine's advantage was the fact that he sits outside the federal realm and was able to talk about issues in the Commonwealth, linking them to similar national issues, such as education and the budget. For the most part, he kept it bipartisan.

"By focusing less on divisive issues, talking more about competency, about how to run a government. I think that's where Tim Kaine found some success in his speech," added Smyth.

Some Virginia residents feel that Kaine got the job done.

"I thought Tim Kaine he did a good job. He's only been in office three weeks. It's probably a good choice on the Democrats? part," said Lisa Ramsey.

However, others believe Democrats did not pick the right man.

"It's almost as if they wanted to do that because they didn't want to give a true opposition; his moderation proves to me that they're not serious about governing the country," said voter, Chris Frisco.

But moderate or not, experts add that although there were times when Kaine looked a bit uncomfortable compared to previous Democratic responses, they felt this was a more successful one.

Experts add one of the things that also worked for Kaine was that he has the credentials to back up his points when it comes to bipartisan success and fiscal management.

Kaine's condition for accepting this speech was that he had creative control over it.

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