WASHINGTON - Senator Tim Kaine, joined FOX 5 for his first sit-down interview with a local television station since running as Vice-Presidential nominee with Hillary Clinton. He talked about entering the campaign, election results, and what is next for him.
"I did the 105 day version, not the two year version," Kaine said about his involvement in the Clinton campaign. "105 days - I went to 40 states - I went to about 140 cities," he added. "We did about 950 events in 105 days!"
Kaine says the experience was a whirlwind that left him with a lot of good friends. While disappointed with the election, Kaine says he is happy to get back to work in Washington. "I’m really proud of Virginia - we did very well in Virginia and you know we won the popular vote."
"I really was holding my expectations down. I always felt like Hillary was the underdog frankly because she's trying to be a woman president - and we never had one. And it's really hard to win three terms in a row," Kaine said. "By 7:45, I knew we going to win Virginia – and we were going to win by more than President Obama did four years ago."
"I started to get in a good mood – but that was at 7:45. And by 9:30 it was like, 'Just because Virginia is doing better that doesn't mean other states are.'"
In the aftermath, Kaine said he is proud that the Clinton team won Virginia by more than President Obama did and that they won the popular vote.
CONVERSATION WITH HILLARY
"Hillary is a very resilient person. I mean, she has dealt with an awful lot in her life - painful situations, difficult situations," he said. Kaine said Clinton has a philosophical perspective on life that allows her to accept both good and bad in life. He said they talked that night, and while she was deeply disappointed, she quickly looked ahead to her concession speech
"I'm proud to be on this ticket. I'm proud to be Hillary's friend. I'm proud that she won the popular vote - that she made history as the first woman nominee of any party, of any major party in the country's history. While we didn't quite get there, I'm proud of the effort," he said.
He also added that he will join Hillary for several 'Thank-you' events in the near future.
"The Clinton team looked at the votes and looked at recount - and we're not going to pursue it. But when Jill Stein, one of the third party candidates, decided to do it - if there's going to be a recount we have to be at the table to make sure it's done right - that it's done fairly." he said.
"I do think people are entitled to know that the results are results that they can trust and that they can count on. So if there's a recount, we have to be at the table and we are."
"The most important thing that all of us can do - whatever our role - is to play the role we can in reaching across the aisle."
Kaine said that as soon as he came back to D.C. he began working on bipartisan bills – including bills that help the armed services. "Every presidential election means that afterwards we've got to come together - but this one maybe more than most," he said.
Kaine is not looking toward a presidential run but wants to continue his work in the Senate. "I have been a very happy senator. I'm back a little sadder, a little wiser but incredibly energized," he added.
"The D.C. metro area doesn't work without Metro," Kaine said while giving credit to Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld. "I give him a lot of credit. He came in and realized we have got major safety problems and goal one has to be people have to be safe. And so this SafeTrack proposal that he put on the table - there were short term pains for a lot of people - but the system is safer as a result."
The tug-of-war, Kaine says, is whether to fund Metro to fix its problems or to demand Metro fix its problems before it gets funding.
ELECTION WAKE-UP CALL / WOMEN IN OFFICE
"There's a lot to scrutinize in them," Kaine said about the election results. "Certainly a feeling of being upset with Washington is a big part of it. It's not only part."
"Hillary was trying to be the first woman president," he said. "That cannot be under sold. It's very, very difficult to do. In Congress right now - just to give an example - 19 percent women. That ranks 75th in the world - we're behind Iraq - we're behind Afghanistan. We've made it hard for women to get elected to federal office. And that was a head-wind she was running against."
Kaine also says that the fact that Democrats have been in officer for two terms was a factor in the election. Americans tend to vote for the opposite party after two consecutive terms, he added.
Kaine says - unlike most recent Virginia congressmen - he prefers to live in Richmond rather than in northern Virginia.
"I'm a little more connected with people who don't do politics twenty-four seven by going to church in Richmond, hanging out in my neighborhood in Richmond, going to the diner in Richmond," he said.
"If people call me 'Senator' in Richmond they're mad at me," he said. "If they call me 'Tim' I know I’m okay."