'This Week' Transcript: Tim Kaine

KAINE: Now, Christiane, we have to do better as well. Now, I'm on TV all the time talking about the president's accomplishments, and I'm happy to say, as I campaign around the country, most Democrats are proud of their president, proud of their party, proud of the accomplishments.

AMANPOUR: But what could the party have done better so that the narrative could still be controlled?

KAINE: Well, we're going to have to figure out a way to spend more time -- as the president said, we plead guilty to focusing on substance. You know, we were in an economic freefall with two wars that were open-ended blank checks, and we have taken a shrinking economy -- it's now a growing economy -- nine months of private-sector job growth. We've got a lot to do. Finding that right balance between focusing on the substance and the explanation of the work is something that we wrestle with. The good news is that if you have to err on the side, I'm glad that we're focusing on the substance, because as you know in Washington, it's often pretty hard.

AMANPOUR: I can understand what you're saying, and obviously the substance is what you want to be measured by. But you also want to win elections.

KAINE: Right, right.

AMANPOUR: President Clinton -- former President Clinton has been out on the stump across the country.

KAINE: Doing a great job.

AMANPOUR: He has spoken to one of your predecessors, Terry McAuliffe, who he was with, and basically has said that he's baffled, he's mystified why the message hasn't gotten out better, why they haven't told the story in a better way of the economy, and why are Democrats, quote-unquote, "allowing themselves to be used as human pinatas."

KAINE: Well, you know, again, I don't see Democrats on the trail, many who are being "human pinatas." I see them out campaigning vigorously on accomplishments. Look, we saved the auto industry...

AMANPOUR: But you are being battered around.

KAINE: The other side is always going to do that. We saved the auto industry. We saved the financial sector. We passed a bill enabling women to get equal pay for equal work, and done historic health care reform, among many other bills.

So we feel very good about the accomplishments. And that's why I think you see the polls closing. People understand that. They also understand what choice they have with the Republicans who have stood in the way in all of these accomplishments.

And people don't want to go backward, they want to go forward.

AMANPOUR: You mentioned health care. I want to say something that you, yourself, said about this issue when it comes to elections.

KAINE: OK, great.


KAINE: When make this happen, and people immediately see the benefits that are going to come their way, I think this is going to be a great thing politically for the Dems. And we're trying to show members that they've got their constituents behind them if they vote with the president.


AMANPOUR: Well, right now the country seems to be really split on that. And many Democrats are doing their best not to vote -- and not to campaign, rather, on health reform.

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