Virginia U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine made his first appearance as Hillary Clinton’s running mate at a rally in Florida yesterday, where he showed off his Spanish-speaking skills and painted himself as a hardworking progressive who’s not afraid to take on Donald Trump.

“It’s a tremendous start for this ticket and could not be a better gateway into Philadelphia,” said Steve Grossman, who’s helped lead Clinton’s campaign in Massachusetts and is a former Democratic National Committee chairman. “I thought it was remarkable how conversational (his speech) was, which makes him likable, approachable and allows people to connect with him.”

As he joined the soon-to-be Democratic presidential nominee on stage at Florida International University, Kaine immediately broke out his Spanish.

“Bienvenidos a todos (Welcome everybody),” he said to a loud round of applause.

Turning to Clinton, he added: “We’re going to be companeros del alma.” Soul mates.

After sharing the story of his political career, which includes terms as mayor, lieutenant governor and governor, Kaine praised his new political partner for her unwavering commitment to the American people and showed he was ready to be an attack dog against the Republican nominee.

“Do you want a trash-talking president or a bridge-building president?” Kaine asked the raucous crowd of more than 5,000. “Donald Trump trash-talks folks with disabilities. Trash-talks Mexican-Americans and Latinos. With Donald Trump, it’s me first!”

Clinton is thought to have chosen Kaine, a political centrist, in part because of his national security credentials — he’s a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees — and his years of experience. Kaine, who’s never lost a political contest, was also considered a potential running mate for Obama in 2008.

“I have said many times that the most important qualification when you are trying to make this really big choice is, ‘Can this person step in to be president?’ ” Clinton said of Kaine. “Well, in every stage of his career, the people who know him best have voted to give him a promotion, and that’s because he fights for the people he represents, and he delivers real results.”

Herald wire services contributed to this report.


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