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Kaine on 'Morning Joe'

Anita Kumar

Virginia Governor/Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe this morning to talk national politics and spar with former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan.

But what he got was several questions about ... who else? ... those infamous White House party crashers and Virginia residents, Tareq and Michaele Salahi.

Host Joe Scarborough even joked that after Kaine leaves the governor's mansion in January, he could write a book entitled "The Salahis I Know."

Kaine's response? "I have a few things higher on my to-do list than that."

But when asked, Kaine did talk about his relationship with the Salahis.

"I've known Tareq and Michaele for about five years,'' he said. "They have a family winery in Northern Virginia. Tareq had served on the state's wine board under both Gov. Gilmore and Gov. Warner, and when his term on the wine board finished, he and the tourism board wanted him on that board because he's a great promoter -- you won't be surprised to hear me say that."

Cue the laughter.

Kaine said earlier this week that he knows the Salahis fairly well. Their Oasis Winery was one of several stops on a vineyard tour of Fauquier held by the county's Democratic Committee during Kaine's campaign for governor in 2005.

When asked if he was surprised about the Salahis's behavior, he said: "I'm surprised the story is providing so much havoc ... I'm surprised that it is gotten so much attention."

Okay, now onto politics:

Kaine said he knows that the headwinds are against Democrats in 2010 -- as he said they usually are for first-term presidents in midterm elections.

"We're going to have to be stronger, better, smarter but I think we're gonna do very well next year for two reasons,'' he said. "One, because of the president's success, but second, I use the phrase that the tea party is kind of devouring the GOP right now."

Kaine cited Sen. Arlen Specter's defection and the upstate New York congressional race as examples where the Republicans are divided against themselves.

"What we see is the Republican Party narrowing demographically, ideologically and geographically and again, we've got a lot of work to do in a midterm election but we think the prospect out there are pretty good for us," he said.

By Anita Kumar  |  December 4, 2009; 11:04 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Timothy M. Kaine  
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Someone should check the Visitors Register for the Governors Mansion . . . we might find out the Salahi’s spent the night while Kaine was out of town.

Posted by: WeThePeopleofVirginia | December 4, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Far from "devouring" the Republican Party, the Tea Parties are energizing it.
These events rally the GOP base in a way that few Republican leaders can. And by appealing to independent voters who value competence and accountability in government, they've expanded the number of independents who "lean" Republican.

Posted by: VirginiaIndependent | December 5, 2009 6:58 AM | Report abuse

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