Politics

Tim Kaine Speaks Spanish During First Speech as Hillary Clinton's Running Mate

July 23rd 2016

By:
Kyle Jaeger

During his first campaign event as Hillary Clinton's running mate on Saturday, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) revealed one of his greatest strengths heading into the general election: He's fluent in Spanish.

"Bienvenidos a todos a nuestro país porque somos americanos todos," Kaine said almost immediately after taking the podium at Florida International University in Miami. (Translation: "Welcome everyone to our country because we are all Americans.")

The crowd of supporters burst into applause over the remark, which symbolizes more for the Clinton-Kaine campaign. Kaine's ability to speak Spanish could prove essential to Clinton's Hispanic outreach efforts and broaden her lead over Trump. He learned to speak Spanish while serving as a missionary in Honduras, The Washington Post reports.

Here's how Twitter reacted to Kaine's introduction.

Clinton already leads Trump in support among Hispanic voters by a sizeable, 42-point margin, according to a 2016 Pew Research Center poll.

Sixty-six percent of Hispanic voters support Clinton to Trump's 24 percent. But Kaine's Spanish fluency can help the campaign deliver its message directly to Spanish-speaking Americans. There are about 41 million native Spanish speakers in America and another 11.6 million who are bilingual.

"[Kaine] has a lot of credibility with the Hispanic community in Virginia," Oscar Ramirez, a Democratic political strategist who previously worked with Kaine, told NBC News. "He worked closely with them, he spent time as a missionary in Central America so he definitely understands where we come from."

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