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Sen. Tim Kaine pre-endorses Hillary Clinton

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Addressing the South Carolina Democratic Women’s Council in Columbia on May 3, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) said he will endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton if she decides to run for president in 2016. “The best thing for our country – our growing, diverse, dynamic, innovative country – is for us to do all we can to help Hillary Clinton get elected as our 45th president,” he said.

Speaking from a podium decorated with an “I’m ready for Hillary” placard, Kaine said the former Secretary of State is ideal for the office. “She is a classic American optimist with the background and experiences necessary to lead this country in a very complicated world.”

Clinton has yet to announce a campaign bid. In Dec. 2013 she told ABC News that she would make final decision this year.

Despite this lack of formal announcement, “our work (for Clinton’s campaign) must begin right now,” Kaine said. “If we work together, we can build her a coalition of dedicated activists and those entirely new to the political process; we can motivate people to participate in the critical 2014 elections, and in 2016, we can finally shatter the glass ceiling.”

Kaine is known for other early endorsements. In 2006 while serving as governor of Virginia, he offered early support to Barack Obama, who had yet to formally announce his presidential campaign.

“I made my decision early because I figured that the sooner I started helping, the more helpful I would be. It was an historic effort that broke barriers and changed politics forever. If Hillary Clinton decides to run for president in 2016, I know that she can achieve all that and more.”

Kaine, who was also keynote speaker at an annual South Carolina Democratic Party dinner the previous night, is the second member of Congress to endorse Clinton. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) announced her support in June 2013.

Recent polls show Clinton with sizable lead over other potential Democratic presidential candidates, over possible Republican candidate Jeb Bush, and over all potential Republican candidates in the Iowa Caucus, where presidential primaries will begin in 2016.

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