Philadelphia – Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine made a direct appeal to Latinos Wednesday night during his speech at Democratic National Convention – talking about faith and family values and promising that his running mate, Hillary Clinton, will reform immigration and provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
“Aprendí los valores del pueblo - fe, familia, y trabajo," Kaine said. “Faith, family, and work. Los mismos valores de la comunidad Latina aquí en nuestro pais. [The same values as the Latino community in the U.S.] Somos Americanos todos. [We're all American]”
The Virginia senator, who drew chants of “Si se puede” from the crowd, spent his time on stage touting Clinton’s campaign platform, while mocking Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump as untrustworthy and dangerous for the United States.
“When I lived in Honduras, I learned that the best compliment you could give someone was to say they were ‘listo’- ready,” Kaine said. “’Not inteligente [smart.] Not amable [friendly.] Not rico [rich.] But "listo." Because what ‘listo’ means in Spanish is this, it means prepared, battle-tested, rock-solid, up for anything, never backing down. And friends, Hillary Clinton is ‘lista.’”
Urging voters to visit Clinton’s campaign website, Kaine ran through his running mate’s platform before arguing that Clinton has proposed ways to solve the country’s problems while Trump has not.
“You can see how she'll reform our immigration system and create a path to citizenship, and how she'll make it possible to graduate from college debt-free.,” he said. “You can see how she'll guarantee equal pay for women and make paid family leave a reality.”
Kaine added: "[Donald Trump] never tells you how he's going to do any of the things he says he's going to do."
In one of the more heartfelt moments of the speech, Kaine referenced 11-year-old Karla Ortiz, who was one of the stars of the first night of the DNC. Ortiz, who appeared alongside her mother, said she was concerned that if Trump was elected president he would deport her parents, who are undocumented.
“Hey, do y’all remember Karla, the little girl we heard from on Monday who was worried that her parents would be deported?” Kaine asked the crowd. “She trusts Hillary to keep them together.”
The choice of Kaine was met with mixed reactions from the Latino community.
While some praised the Clinton camp for choosing a seasoned lawmaker who is fluent in Spanish and spent time in Central America as a missionary, others were upset that the campaign’s choice of Kaine as a sign that her campaign is taking the Hispanic vote for granted by passing on at least three viable Latino candidates.
Clinton officials said the choice came down to picking a running mate who could ultimately step in as president, if necessary.
Besides trumpeting Clinton, Kaine also picked up the traditional attack dog role of the presidential ticket's No. 2. With folksy charm, he tore into Trump, mocking his pledges to build a wall along the Mexican border, asking why he has not released his tax returns and slamming his business record, including the now-defunct Trump University.
"Folks, you cannot believe one word that comes out of Donald Trump's mouth," Kaine said. "Our nation is too great to put it in the hands of slick-talking, empty-promising, self-promoting, one-man wrecking crew."
Kaine also tore into Trump as a "guy who promises a lot" but always follows up with the words "believe me."
Kaine said "most people, when they run for president, they don't just say 'believe me.' They respect you enough to tell you how they will get things done."
The Virginia senator says, "so here's the question: Do you really believe him? Donald Trump's whole career says you better not."
Follow Andrew O'Reilly on Twitter @aoreilly84.