October 23rd, 2009
03:23 PM ET
5 years ago

Kaine: Obama 'very interested' in Virginia race

Virginia governor Tim Kaine is hoping the governor's mansion remains in Democratic hands.
Virginia governor Tim Kaine is hoping the governor's mansion remains in Democratic hands.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Virginia governor Tim Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, acknowledged Friday a "challenging" environment for Democrats in his home state but held out hope that his party's gubernatorial nominee could still rally the voters who helped President Obama win Virginia last November.

Kaine also downplayed anonymous quotes from administration officials about Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds that appeared Friday in The Washington Post. Unnamed administration officials told the paper that if Deeds loses, it will be his own fault for shunning White House advice and not doing enough to embrace President Obama on the campaign trail.

"I tend not to comment on the comments of unnamed sources," Kaine told CNN in a phone interview from Atlanta, where he was meeting with party activists. "We still have more work to do and it's challenging, but I know the president is very interested in the race. The president has been very solicitous."

Kaine said the president, whom he last spoke to about the race on Tuesday night, is "very excited" to make his second appearance for Deeds next week in Norfolk. The Virginia governor, a confidante of Obama since the early day's of his presidential campaign, said he talks to the president "a good bit" about the campaign but said he talks to Deeds more often, "every day, or every other day."

The DNC chair said Deeds' path to victory is clear: "Energizing the president's supporters, energizing those who approve of how Democrats are govering Virginia." Asked if Deeds has done a good enough job doing so in his race against Republican Bob McDonnell, Kaine said Deeds "is working hard to do so" but admitted that Democrats in the state aren't as excited for this election as they were one year ago.

"It is the case that last year was a catharsis for our side," he said. "It was that way nationally and in Virginia. I do think people are seeing stark differences between the two tickets. They are waking up a little late, but they're definitely waking up."

Kaine brushed off the suggestion that the results of the race will reflect on him in his unique role as Virginia governor and chairman of the national party. The DNC has made its largest financial commitment ever for a Virginia gubernatorial election, sending roughly $6 million to the Deeds campaign.

"The most direct reflection on me is what Virginia voters think about me," he said, noting that his approval rating in the state is higher than President Obama's. "It's a very, very challenging time to be governor of any state, especially with the tough decisions with respect to budget, but I think the voters appreciate what we've done."


Filed under: Creigh Deeds • President Obama • Tim Kaine • Virginia
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. val from seattle

    If Bob wins I'll laugh myself blue in the face. How in the heck is he ahead?!

    October 23, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. Mark

    Funny how all the 2010 elections are now oh so close.

    what does this say about CNN's past journalist integrity??

    October 23, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. seebofubar

    It's too bad he's not interested in the economy, Iran, Iraq, N.Korea, increasing racial tension, the American people, his job, congress' sliding approval rating etc.

    October 23, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  4. IWMPB

    $6 mil down the tube. The pragmatic center right voters have had enough already. I just hope for the Repubs that they've learned from their mistakes and don't blow it this time. Principles, principles, principles

    October 23, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  5. Thomas

    I would hope the President has enough on his plate that's he's not overly concerned about campaigning for others. Enough politics. More work.

    October 23, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  6. D.

    very interested in what should not be his interest, and very uninterested in the interest he should have....

    October 23, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. Not my President

    Well Mcdonnell isn't the best, but he is certainly better the Kaine or Deeds. I can't even believe people of my home state think the Kaine has done anything positive for Virginia. He hasn't except for leaving the state in a financial mess, which was happening before the economy crashed. Deeds, Kaine, Pelosi, Reid, Obama need to realize that giving away hard earned money to illegals and those that choose not to work is not going to make this country better. Why are we now the country of handouts and "I have a right to this"? When did hard work go out the widow?

    October 23, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. Eric

    Obama's ratings had the steepest drop of any president in over 50 years, but you won't find the libtard mainstream media reporting it... Probably because Obama would try to silence them. LIBERALS HATE THE CONSTITUTION!

    October 23, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. Bob

    What else can Governor Kaine say as chairman of the DNC.

    Not much and that is exactly what he did.

    October 23, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I'm moving if McDonnel wins. All we need is a obstructional republican governor. So what if he's from Hampton Roads. When's the last time he's been downtown Newport News? ummmmmm........NEVER!!!

    October 23, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. Enough

    Too bad Obama isn't interested in running the country...........nope just running away from the issues he needs to be working on. Guess he is waiting until after the November elections to send the troops to Afghanistan..............politics as usual!

    October 23, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. T'SAH from Virginia

    I am ready to get fired up now and maybe get a few others to do so also!!! I am so worn out from the Presidential Election I have not been doing my job... I got over 200 people registered to vote and I know for a fact they all voted..... SO, maybe I'll get on the phone and try to RALLY at least the 200 I registered... (At least all that is necessary is a phone call and not registration... Whew!!)

    October 23, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  13. andy

    Of course Obama's interested. He only wants people in office he can completely control. He will never have anyone who thinks will disagree with him. Thats the socialist way.

    October 23, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  14. Can't wait till 2010

    Kaine should stick to writing books about sex with children, freak.

    Obambi. what happened to all the uh, uh, uh, uh, uh love that you spread via celestial choirs ascending from the heavens?

    God, Hillary should be our President, this gutless fraud should be the head of the DNC and nothing else.

    Queue up the speech and the binkyprompter, the snicker, snicker, smart man is coming to your town to campaign......

    October 23, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. Bedtime for Obonzo

    The Obama arrogance continues to grow, with a preemptive "Creigh Deeds lost because he didn't embrace me or my playbook." Could it be just the opposite? Please weigh in, Virginia voters. I'd like to hear your opinions.

    October 23, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. Bear

    When will Mr. Obama have time for doing work. We need a law that states presidents should not be allowed to campaign during non election years when we are at war and unemployment exceeds 8% (a figure Obama promised if we let him steal 800 BILLION dollars from us). Obama still has not grasped that he is the President of the United States. He is no longer a slacking Senator. He needs to do work. What do we have to do to get any real work out of this guy? He is just running around the world doing photo ops. Man!!! I would vote for Hillary now if given the chance. This guy and his goons are just a bunch of Jr. High bullies thugs with no clue how to run a country.

    October 23, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  17. Dan

    Of course he is very interested, he knows it's a referendum on how he is doing? The people know how to evaluate a sitting president and a campaigner and the referendum will be a result of this difference (after a year of being elected, Obama is still looking for opportunities to be again and again re-re-re-elected!).

    October 23, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  18. Maria - Proud Democrat

    Deeds is NO Obama......

    Too bad there isn't a better Democrat available for the job.

    October 23, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |