Tim Kaine | Media Matters for America

Tim Kaine

Tags ››› Tim Kaine
  • Virginia election results show why candidates are smart to run against the NRA

    Blog ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Pro-gun-safety candidates swept Virginia’s three statewide offices in the 2017 elections, showing that it is prudent to run against the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) agenda and to make gun safety a centerpiece issue of campaigns. These candidates' victories help debunk a myth propogated by the media that gun violence prevention is a losing issue at the polls.

    Victorious candidates in Virginia elections last night included Ralph Northam, who won the governor’s seat by nearly nine points, Justin Fairfax, who won the lieutenant governor’s race (both of whom have received “F” ratings from the NRA because of their positions on gun policy), and Mark Herring, who was re-elected attorney general. In 2013, Herring made gun safety a prominent issue of his campaign, and his actions as attorney general led the NRA to label him “one of the most anti-gun lawmakers in Virginia history.”

    The NRA’s endorsed candidates for these three offices all lost, despite the gun group spending heavily on political advertisements in Virginia.

    According to election night exit polls, Northam and Republican candidate Ed Gillespie tied among voters whose primary issue was gun policy:

    Another candidate who is often linked to gun violence prevention is Chris Hurst, who won a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. In 2015, Hurst’s girlfriend, television news reporter Alison Parker, was fatally shot during a live broadcast. Hurst, who beat NRA-endorsed Joseph Yost, ran on a platform focused on reducing gun violence specifically for people of color and women who have escaped abusive relationships.

    But the NRA media myth about gun violence prevention being a losing issue at polls still persists.

    During a November 8 segment on NPR’s Morning Edition about the NRA’s influence, commentator Cokie Roberts said of the group, “I have to hand it to the NRA. They participate, they organize, they contribute, they vote. That’s the way you influence legislation. And if the other side wants to get gun control done, they can’t just tell awful stories. They have to organize and contribute in the same degree.” The results in Virginia are yet another example disproving this analysis, with the NRA failing to rally its supporters to deliver any of the three statewide officers to its preferred candidate.

    Winning despite the NRA’s campaign efforts is not a new trend for Virginia’s pro-gun-safety politicians. In 2013, the NRA spent $500,000 to beat Mark Herring in his bid for attorney general. After he won, his campaign manager said that Herring pulled off the victory by running on a strong record of supporting sensible gun legislation. Similarly, the NRA efforts against Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s statewide races have also repeatedly come up short. Like Northam, McAuliffe bragged about his “F” rating from the NRA during the 2013 gubernatorial race.

    The myth that gun safety is a losing issue dates back to the 1994 congressional midterm elections and the 2000 presidential election in which pundits blamed losses on candidates’ support for gun safety measures. Evidence-based research into those elections has long disproved those theories, which the NRA has nevertheless promoted in order to bolster its image.

  • Right-Wing Media Keep Pushing Myth Of "Partial-Birth" Abortion

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    In the 2016 election cycle, right-wing media have spread misinformation about the Democratic position on abortion access by alleging that the party supports so-called “partial-birth” abortions, often invoking the term as a description of an abortion that takes place in the final months or “moments” of pregnancy. In reality, “partial-birth” abortion is a term coined by anti-choice groups to vilify and stigmatize individuals who elect to have an abortion. Here is what the media should know about this common anti-choice myth and why media figures should not deploy it.

  • Journalists Shocked VP Debate Failed To Discuss Pence’s Anti-LGBT Record 

    ››› ››› ERIN FITZGERALD

    Following the 2016 vice presidential debate moderated by CBS’ Elaine Quijano, media figures were shocked that Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence was able to “escape” discussion of the “most controversial moment” of his career -- signing Indiana’s infamously anti-LGBT “religious freedom” law in 2015.Journalists highlighted Pence’s “aggressively” anti-LGBT track record, and noted that people were “up in arms on Twitter” at the “lack of discussion about Pence’s record on LGBT rights.”

  • Media Debunk Pence’s Smear Of Clinton’s Reproductive Rights Positions

    In The Vice Presidential Debate, Pence Revived An Anti-Choice Myth To Attack Clinton’s Support For Reproductive Rights

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    During the October 4 vice presidential debate, Republican nominee Mike Pence smeared Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s positions on reproductive rights. While Pence falsely alleged that Clinton’s position on abortion was extreme, Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine pointed out that Clinton “support[s] the constitutional right of American women to consult their own conscience and make their own decision about pregnancy.”

  • Vice Presidential Debate Shows What Happens When Moderators Don’t Fact-Check

    Blog ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    Moderator Elaine Quijano failed to fact-check Republican Indiana Gov. Mike Pence during the vice presidential debate, enabling him to freely lie about positions advocated by his running mate, Donald Trump, with no repercussions or corrections, highlighting the necessity of moderator fact checks.

    At the debate table, Democratic candidate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) challenged Pence to answer for a number of Trump’s previously criticized policy positions and statements, including a proposal to create a “deportation task force,” his praise for Vladimir Putin, his advocacy for a ban on Muslim immigrants, and his claim that there “has to be some form of punishment” for women who seek abortions. Pence responded by whitewashing Trump’s past and denying that Trump made the remarks he did. Media, in turn, criticized Pence for defending Trump “by conjuring a candidate who does not exist.”

    For her part, Quijano failed her obligation to clarify the facts to viewers and let audiences know that Pence was lying about Trump’s expressed positions. Quijano could have clarified that Kaine’s questions to Pence contained truth, but instead she allowed Pence to disavow Kaine’s questions as “insults” and deny the validity of his claims.

    Quijano also missed several opportunities to correct Pence’s lies that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton supports aborting full-term babies (she doesn’t), is responsible for withdrawing troops from Iraq in 2011 (she’s not), and wants to turn the Affordable Care Act into a single-payer system (not true).

    Journalists have repeatedly stressed the “obligation” moderators have to their audiences to fact-check candidates during debates, arguing that journalists selected to moderate a debate must distinguish reality from fiction by “asking tough follow-up questions” and adding “clarity if needed.” Research suggests that people who encounter fact-checked news feel more confident that they know what is fact than those contemplating unchecked “he-said-she-said” information.

    Last month, Lester Holt’s moderation of the September 26 presidential debate demonstrated the need for moderators to prove real-time fact checks of blatantly false information, and Matt Lauer’s moderation of the NBC News Commander-in-Chief Forum demonstrated the risks of having moderators who won’t.

    Pence’s freedom to deceive and smear during the vice presidential debate reminds us of the duty moderators have to hold political candidates accountable to the public. Quijano’s failure to push back on Pence’s falsehoods demonstrates the consequences of moderating debates unchecked.

    Fox News host Chris Wallace, who will moderate the final debate this fall, has already declared that he does not intend to ensure candidates are honest, claiming it is not his job "to be a truth squad." Media Matters founder David Brock has penned a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates asking members to reconsider Wallace's selection.

  • At The VP Debate, Mike Pence Should Be Asked About Anti-LGBT "Religious Freedom" Laws

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    Before he was chosen as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s vice presidential running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was arguably best known for the controversy over the “religious freedom” bill he signed into law in 2015. The continuing nationwide debate over “religious freedom” bills and Pence’s repeated refusal to stake out his position on anti-LGBT discrimination makes the vice presidential debate the perfect opportunity to find out where Pence really stands on so-called “religious freedom” laws.

    In March 2015, Pence signed Indiana's "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" (RFRA) into law, a move The New York Times called the “most consequential - and controversial” decision Pence made as governor. The law -- which was criticized by religious leaders, members of the business community, legal scholars, and even the Republican mayor of Indianapolis -- provided a legal defense for individuals and business owners who cite their religious beliefs while discriminating against LGBT people.

    The furious backlash to the law put Pence in the center of a nationwide media firestorm, which included a disastrous interview on ABC’s This Week where Pence repeatedly refused to answer a question about whether the RFRA legalized discrimination against LGBT people. At a town hall this past February, Pence again refused to answer whether anti-LGBT discrimination should be legal. 

    The Indiana RFRA is just one component of Pence’s longheld opposition to LGBT equality. Previously, Pence has:

    • said that gay couples signaled a “societal collapse” as part of a 2006 speech advocating for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman;
    • pledged to oppose allowing gay people to serve in the military under “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” because “the presence of homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion”; and
    • called the 2009 expansion of federal hate crime legislation to include crimes based on sexual orientation a “radical social agenda.”

    Where Pence now stands on so-called “religious freedom” legislation and anti-LGBT discrimination is also a question of importance for Republicans. After the fierce criticism of the RFRA, Pence signed a “fix” to the law aimed at preventing businesses from using the measure to to justify discriminating against LGBT people. That decision drew ire from Christian conservatives who felt betrayed by the move. A Politico article in July noted that evangelicals are “still peeved” over his backtracking on the RFRA, with right-wing Iowa radio host Steve Deace calling it “the worst we’ve ever been stabbed in the back by a Republican.”

    The Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has already made it clear that he supports nondiscrimination protections for the LGBT community. The October 4 vice presidential debate gives CBS News' Elaine Quijano the chance to ask Pence -- running as part of a presidential ticket that’s attempted to appeal to LGBT voters -- for a definitive answer on whether he supports “religious freedom” legislation that legalizes discrimination against LGBT people. 

  • Charlotte Observer Calls Out North Carolina GOP For Attacking Tim Kaine’s Pin Honoring His Marine Son

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Charlotte Observer called out North Carolina's Republican party after its official Twitter account tweeted that it was “shameful” for Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine (D-VA) to wear a “Honduras flag pin on his jacket but no American Flag.”

    Throughout the convention, conservative media have tried to paint Democrats as unpatriotic by inaccurately accusing them of failing to displaying American flags on the stage and for not mentioning ISIS on the opening night of the convention. Right-wing media also specifically targeted Kaine's use of Spanish during his speech, mocking his accent and questioning if he was actually fluent in the language.

    The July 28 Observer article noted that the North Carolina GOP inaccurately tweeted that Kaine was wearing a “Honduras flag pin on his jacket but no American flag.” However, WNYT reporter Ben Amey was quick to point out that Kaine’s pin was a “Blue Star Service pin for his son, who’s a deployed Marine.” The North Carolina GOP account replied, thanking Amey “for letting us correct our mistake,” but failed to apologize to Kaine for the error. From The Charlotte Observer:

    When Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine addressed the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Wednesday night, the North Carolina GOP thought it quickly spotted something wrong.

    “[Tim Kaine] wears a Honduras flag pin on his jacket but no American flag,” the state party tweeted as he was speaking. “Shameful.”

    There was one problem: Kaine’s pin, which had a single blue star on a white background bordered with red, wasn’t the flag of Honduras, where he spent a year as a missionary decades ago. It was the symbol for Blue Star Families, or those with members serving in the military.

    Ben Amey, a reporter for WNYT, caught their mistake:

    Kaine’s son, 1st Lt. Nathaniel Kaine, is an infantry officer serving with the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, who deployed to Eastern Europe shortly after his father was named Hillary Clinton’s running mate.

    In his first public speech after being named her vice presidential candidate, Kaine had referenced his pride for his son and the impending deployment.

    “He is a proud Marine, and in just a few days he’s deploying to Europe to uphold America’s commitment to our NATO allies,” Kaine said in the speech. “For me, this drives home the stakes in this election.”

    The person behind the Twitter account thanked Amey for alerting them to the mistake in a reply after deleting the tweet, but did not apologize to Kaine for the error. 

  • PolitiFact Debunks Trump’s “Dead Wrong” Smear Of Tim Kaine

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    PolitiFact’s Warren Fiske corrected Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump after he erroneously claimed that Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine took more undisclosed personal gifts than former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

    McDonnell and his wife were convicted in 2014 on 11 counts of corruption after being accused of taking “undisclosed” gifts from businessman Jonnie Williams in exchange for connecting him to state officials, including $120,000 in loans, a Rolex watch and the use of Williams’ vacation home. The Supreme Court later overturned the conviction, saying it was unclear that McDonnell had acted inappropriately on Williams’ behalf. Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine also took gifts from several companies, including Barr Pharmaceuticals, Dominion Resources and McCandlish Holton PC, but CNN’s Chris Frates explained that Kaine complied with the state law and “disclosed his gifts” while McDonnell did not.   

    PolitiFact noted that, contrary to Trump’s claim, McDonnell actually accepted almost three times as much in gifts as Kaine and that all of Kaine’s gifts were “disclosed as required by state law.” Fiske called Trump’s remark “dead wrong” and gave him PolitiFact’s highest rating of “Pants on Fire.” From the July 24 fact check:  

    Donald Trump welcomed U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., to the Democratic presidential ticket on Sunday by assailing the presumptive vice presidential nominee’s ethics.

    Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, Trump said Kaine accepted more political gifts than former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

    That’s a big claim, because McDonnell, a Republican, stood trial for accepting $177,000 in undisclosed personal gifts from an entrepreneur who was seeking business with the state. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned McDonnell’s bribery convictions in June.

    "Bob McDonnell took a fraction of what Kaine took," said Trump, the GOP presidential nominee. "And I think, to me, it’s a big problem. Now, how do you take all these gifts? Hundreds of thousands of dollars."

    We wondered whether McDonnell’s gift-taking was, in fact, "a fraction" of Kaine’s. Trump’s campaign did not respond to our request for proof. So we set out on our own, comparing gifts Kaine received as lieutenant governor and governor from 2002 to 2010 to those McDonnell accepted as attorney general from 2006 to 2009 and as governor from 2010 to 2014.

    [...]

    Trump, speaking about gift-taking, said, "Bob McDonnell took a fraction of what (Tim) Kaine took."

    Kaine accepted $162,083 in gifts as lieutenant governor and governor, all of which was disclosed as required by state law.

    McDonnell disclosed accepting $275,707 in gifts as attorney general and governor. And there was another $177,000 that he didn’t disclose. That comes to a total of $452,707 in gifts - almost three times Kaine’s total.

    Trump has got this one dead wrong. We rate his statement Pants on Fire.