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Posted at 10:01 AM ET, 02/17/2011

Obama: Kaine would be 'a great senator'

By Ben Pershing

President Obama said Wednesday that Timothy M. Kaine would make a "great senator" for Virginia, but did not apply any public pressure on his friend to enter the 2012 contest to succeed retiring Sen. James Webb (D).

In an interview with Ryan Nobles of NBC12 in Richmond, Obama was asked whether Kaine -- the former Virginia governor who currently runs the Democratic National Committee -- would serve the president better in the Senate or at the DNC. Obama gave a lengthy response:

Look, Tim Kaine is a great public servant, He's a great friend of mine. He's done a great job as governor in Virginia, and a great job as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. I want to hear what he wants to do, and where he thinks he can best serve. I think he'd be a great senator from Virginia if he chose to do that. If he wants to stay as chairman of the Democratic National Committee he's going to do a great job there. Either way, I can tell ya, that he's -- as good of a friend as he is of mine -- he's less concerned about serving me. He's more concerned about serving the American people and the people of Virginia. And I think he's going to make this decision based on where can he do the most good for the most people, and I'll be interested in seeing what he decides. ... He's a terrific guy and I know he loves Virginia, and he loves the people of Virginia.

Obama and Kaine spoke Wednesday about the possibility of Kaine running for Senate, The Fix reported, though the details of their conversation have not been made public. Kaine has long said he was not interested in the contest, but many Democrats wonder whether he would change his mind if Obama appealed to him personally. Kaine is scheduled to speak at the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Richmond Saturday, and it is not clear whether he will make his intentions public before then.

If Kaine does not run, ex-Rep. Tom Perriello (D) says he would "consider" entering the race, and several other Democrats could also decide to jump in. Former Sen. George Allen (R) is already in the Republican primary race, as is tea party leader Jamie Radtke.

By Ben Pershing  | February 17, 2011; 10:01 AM ET
Categories:  Ben Pershing, Election 2012, George F. Allen, James Webb, Timothy M. Kaine, Tom Perriello, U.S. Senate  
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Comments

I am certain that Tim Kaine would make a good replacement for Webb, as almost anyone would. However, I don't think either would stand a chance against Allen.

Kaine is a good Democrat, since he lost nearly a billion dollars in highway funds, since found by McDonnell.

That's just the kind of guy we want running things at the federal level. BTW, where did all the "Stimulus" funds go?

Posted by: ScottinVA | February 17, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Well, being on the other coast and not knowing Tim Kaine very well, but seeing the 2010 "shellacking", I'd say Kaine could be no worse as a Senator than he has been leading the DNC.
Michael Steele presided (sort of) over a big GOP victory, and they dropped him like a bad habit.

Posted by: OldUncleTom | February 17, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

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