Clinton Camp's Secret Plan to Announce Tim Kaine as Vice President

A tick-tock of the 24 hours leading up to the Clinton/Kaine rally.

ByLIZ KREUTZ
July 23, 2016, 8:19 PM

— -- Unlike Donald Trump's announcement of his running mate, Mike Pence, Hillary Clinton's search for a running mate was a closely guarded secret.

Only a small team of aides were involved in the process and Clinton herself did not make her final decision about Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine until Friday morning -- the same day she made the announcement.

Once Clinton decided on Kaine, the campaign continued to go to great lengths -- concocting a secret plan that included riding in freight elevators and hiding in cars -- in order to keep the news from leaking.

Here is how the final hours of the mission played out early Friday evening, according to campaign aides.

Campaign chairman John Podesta, along with two others aides and a speechwriter, snuck out of their headquarters in Brooklyn using a freight elevator to avoid being seen as they traveled to Newport, Rhode Island, where Kaine was holding a nighttime fundraiser.

As Kaine spoke at his event, still unaware that he had been selected, Podesta waited in a parking lot of a nearby beach.

Meanwhile, around 7:05 p.m., Clinton had just finished a rally in Tampa and both she and Podesta began making calls to contenders who did not get the job.

Kaine and his aides had a hunch that a call from Clinton would be coming that evening and had hoped to return to their hotel first, but the swarm of reporters outside the fundraiser -- which was held at an old shipping yard -- prevented them from leaving. They scrambled to find a messy office space that was crowded with ropes and shipping equipment.

It was there that Kaine took the call from Clinton asking him to be her running mate

The two spoke for 15 to 20 minutes, during which Kaine learned of the campaign's plan and was instructed to meet Podesta at the Viking Hotel.

The problem? Aides were concerned about how they could sneak Kaine out of the shipping yard without reporters seeing.

They briefly contemplated leaving on a boat, but nixed the idea. Ultimately Kaine was simply driven out in an unassuming Volvo.

Around this time -- at 8:11 p.m. -- the campaign made the official announcement on Twitter that Clinton had chosen Kaine.

Back at the hotel, Kaine's wife, Anne, was waiting for him, along with Podesta, who gave him a briefing and handed over a copy of his speech for the campaign rally with Clinton he would appear at on Saturday in Miami.

Kaine decided not to return home to Richmond that night and instead flew directly to Miami. He had packed an extra outfit, thinking he would be fundraising the next day in Nantucket.

Around 10:45 p.m., before taking off, Kaine received a phone call from President Obama.

Once in flight, Kaine and his team popped some champagne to celebrate. Kaine also worked on his speech.

The next morning, the Virginia senator received a policy briefing from senior campaign aides and then met privately with Clinton.

The reason, aides say, the two were over an hour late to their Miami rally was because the newly-minted running mates couldn't stop chatting.

Related Topics

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events