Kaine downplays presidential readiness amid Clinton illness

Published 9:51 am Wednesday, September 14, 2016

ANN ARBOR, Michigan — Tim Kaine’s role as Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate means he’d be one heartbeat away from the presidency. Clinton’s health scare, complete with a widely-viewed video of her stumbling and being supported by aides after abruptly leaving a 9/11 memorial service in New York City, makes that fact more relevant to some — and a bit awkward.

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland found that out by offering what’s usually benign praise of any presidential running mate, telling an audience on Monday that Kaine was, “wonderfully prepared” to “be the president if that ever became necessary.”

Asked the same day if there’s more pressure to prove he’s up for the presidency given Clinton’s pneumonia, the usually folksy and expansive Kaine was curt: No, he said, he absolutely does not think that. He did not elaborate.

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As Clinton recovers from pneumonia and prepares to resume campaigning Thursday, Kaine is emphasizing instead that her “energy staggers me. I have a hard time keeping up with her.”

“She is working so hard, even pushing through. She got told, ‘Hey, you’re a little bit sick,’” Kaine told hundreds of supporters from the steps of the graduate library on the University of Michigan campus during a Tuesday rally. He characterized Clinton’s response as: “‘Well, I’m going to still go at it.’”