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GOP Delegate Slams Kaine's Motives

Tim Craig

Republicans in the General Assembly are stepping up their criticism of Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) for his role in Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) presidential campaign.

In a statement released today, Del. William R. Janis (R-Goochland) asks, "Is governor Kaine sacrificing Virginia on the alter of vice-presidential ambition?"

After looking into Kaine's schedule, Janis concludes that Kaine has spent "over 19 days (this year) jetting around the country with Barack Obama, but only fifteen hours over 10 days promoting his transportation plan," an apparent reference to Kaine's ongoing series of town hall meetings.

Kaine rarely appears with Obama in public, but has become one of his chief surrogates on the campaign trail, including speaking on his behalf at the Texas Democratic convention last weekend. Most of Kaine's campaign trips are on the weekend.

"You can tell where a man's heart is by where he devotes his time and his treasure," Janis wrote. " Tim Kaine has been devoting his time, attention and treasure to running for Vice President, not to solving Virginia's problems."

Obama reportedly has Kaine on his short-list of potential running mates. Kaine has been vague about whether he would be interested in joining the ticket, although he generally states he plans to complete his term.

Janis accused Kaine, who has become a familiar face on the Sunday morning talk show circuit, of calling a special legislative session on transportation so he can keep his name in the "Washington Post" as Obama begins vetting potential vice-presidential candidates.

"Unfortunately, while this may be a political win-win for Tim Kaine, it is a lose-lose for Virginia taxpayers who will pick up the tab for Kaine's ambition," Janis wrote.

Kaine, a national co-chairman of Obama's campaign, has scheduled a June 23 special session so the General Assembly can consider his proposal for a $1 billion tax increase to pay for transportation improvements. Kaine's proposal is in response to a Virginia Supreme Court ruling that parts of the 2007 transportation funding plan were unconstitutional.

House Republicans, and some Democrats, oppose Kaine's proposal, meaning it has little chance of passing.

Charles Kelly, Kaine's political director, dismissed the memo, saying Janis is part of the "do-nothing House Republican leadership."

"Governor Kaine has spent countless hours over the course of his term putting together three separate and distinct transportation plans and I have yet to see Bill Janis put forward anything," Kelly said. "The Republican leadership has failed to ...take this pressing challenge seriously. The governor's main priority is Virginia and he continues to be very focused on the transportation problems facing the Commonwealth."

By Tim Craig  |  June 11, 2008; 2:40 PM ET
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine  
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"Is governor Kaine sacrificing Virginia on the alter of vice-presidential ambition?"

Umm, yeah, he doesn't have anywhere else to go.

Posted by: duh | June 11, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

The Richmond GOP Convention showed that the Far Right still had power within the state GOP.

In an Election Year who will moderate GOP Delegates and Senators fear more, their own brethren and the Club for Growth to the Right of them, or Democratic challengers in the General Election?

I'm not sure that any Transportation Plan the Governor puts forward stands a chance in the House of Delegates (unless it were accompanied by significant Tax Cuts).

So, he may as well campaign, as long as Virginia taxpayers aren't picking up the tab.

Posted by: NoVA | June 12, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Oh, get a grip. With the state of modern technology, Kaine could probably run the state from a bunker deep under the ground. It's not as if he has no down town on these trips. Instead, he's increasing the Virginia's clout with the (probable) new administration, and networking with other political leaders. It can only be for Virginia's benefit. Were you complaining when former Sen. Allen was running around the country trying to be the next Republican presidential nominee?

Posted by: Fairfax, VA | June 12, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Yes, everyone was. That's why he's an ex-Senator.

Posted by: duh | June 12, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

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