Virginia senator welcomes everyone in our country with bilingual address as Clinton and running mate take aim at Donald Trump and Mike Pence
Tim Kaine, Hillary Clintons newly minted running mate, had barely taken his place at the podium in Miami when he started speaking Spanish.
Bienvenidos a todos en nuestro pais, porque somos Americanos todos, the senator from Virginia said. It translated to: Welcome to everyone in our country, because we are all Americans.
Of Clinton, he said: Were going to be compaeros de alma [soulmates] in this great lucha [fight] ahead.
A crowd of thousands had queued for hours under the sweltering sun, lines snaking around the campus of Florida International University. They erupted into cheers.
Not long after, Kaine asked those who were naturalized US citizens to raise their hands. A sizable chunk of the audience obliged in a county that is home to a majority Hispanic population.
Thank you for choosing us, Kaine said, to another rousing reception.
Such moments captured dramatically a tale of two elections: Clinton and Kaine embracing the changing demographics of America, Donald Trump surging to the Republican nomination on a staunch anti-immigration platform and a pledge to build a wall on the US-Mexico border.
In Miami, one voter, Michael Paul Massaria, turned to his wife and remarked: Were not hearing all that doom and gloom like we did at the Republican convention in Cleveland.
On multiple occasions, Kaine was interrupted with chants of USA! USA! the sort of patriotism often on display at Republican events where time is dedicated to the projection of American strength.
But the supporters who packed into this basketball stadium were celebrating a different vision, one in which America is defined by its diversity and multiculturalism.
Weve got this beautiful country that should be a country of welcome, a country of inclusion, Kaine said.
He later vowed to advance comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US, in the first 100 days of a Clinton presidency. Such promises could be seen as wishful thinking, as Barack Obama has learned during his time in the White House. But Massaria, from nearby Davie, was quick to observe the benefit.
Kaines fluency in Spanish, he said, will help down the line with bringing in the Latino vote, especially here in south Florida.
Attendees like Anna Alvarez, a 67-year-old naturalized citizen who moved to Miami 43 years ago, were a testament to the potential appeal of a vice-presidential candidate campaigning for the first time in English and Spanish.
He will get in his pocket the millions and millions of Hispanics that Trump lost, she said.
Alvarez had never seen Kaine before, a fact the senator invoked with the self-deprecating declaration: Let me be honest: for many of you this is the first time youve heard my name.