“This is a civil rights battle,” Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine told a meeting of party officials Friday.
The Democratic National Committee, the party’s governing body, has been battered all week after its chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, resigned Sunday after WikiLeaks-leaked party emails showed the DNC was helping Hillary Clinton win the presidential nomination.
There was some concern Friday that the party’s image has been tarnished.
“I’m hoping we’ll be more transparent,” said Jeri Shepherd, a Colorado DNC member. Asked whether the turmoil will hurt the party this fall, she said, “Time will tell.”
But Maureen McKenna, a DNC member from Sebring, Florida, said the party organization remained strong. “We have a system in place,” she said. “We have a quality assurance system to make sure we continue.”
Donna Brazile, the interim chairwoman, gave a fiery speech aimed at showing unity. “I’m a street fighter,” she said.
She’s made mistakes, she said. She’s said the wrong thing. But, she added, she’s going to be fair.
Kaine spoke for about five minutes. He gave some personal recollections of Thursday night, when Clinton accepted the nomination.
He was worried whether he could keep his emotions in check. “I cry when the Royals lose a game and they lose a lot this year,” he said of the Kansas City baseball team.
Kaine talked about how his mother had pulled him aside Thursday night and said it was the happiest night of her life. He felt he could do no wrong in her eyes. He joked, “I know I have 72 hours where I can do no wrong.”
And he recited why he thought Democrats have a strong edge over Republicans in November, listing party positions promoting gay rights and other social issues.
“The thing I do best is when the civil rights lawyer in me gets engaged,” he said.