ORLANDO, Florida (AP) — Hillary Clinton will introduce her running mate Friday, seeking to snatch attention from newly crowned Republican nominee Donald Trump just hours after he closed out his convention with a fiery and foreboding turn at the podium.
Crews were still sweeping confetti from the GOP convention floor as the Clinton campaign signaled an announcement was coming soon, and a person familiar with the campaign’s plans said Friday first word would come later in the day in a text message to supporters.
The person did not say who Clinton will add to the Democratic ticket, but added that the presumptive nominee and her new running mate will make their first joint appearance on Saturday in Florida.
The person was not authorized to publicly discuss the campaign’s internal plans and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine is the leading contender, according to a pair of Democrats familiar with Clinton’s search. Active in the Senate on foreign relations and military affairs, he has a reputation for working with both parties as Virginia’s governor and mayor of Richmond.
“I’m glad the waiting game is nearly over,” Kaine said Thursday, giving away no hints about whether he is Clinton’s choice for the spot on her ticket.
As Clinton prepared to make news, Trump made clear he isn’t yet ready to give up the spotlight.
“Hillary is trying to pick her next vice president as fast as possible, because she wants to take away a little of the success that we had at this convention,” Trump told supporters at his convention hotel on Friday morning.
But rather that stay focused on Clinton or reach out to the general election voters he now must court, Trump spent considerable time stoking the fire of his bitter quarrel with Republican former rival Ted Cruz.
The Texas senator refused to endorse Trump in a Wednesday night speech to the Republican convention, drawing boos from the crowd. No matter, Trump said Friday: he didn’t want that support anyway.
“What difference does it make?” Trump asked, as he wondered aloud if he could create a super PAC as president to target Cruz. He added: “Ted, stay home. Relax. Enjoy yourself.”
Trump also boasted of his TV ratings, his primary victories and other achievements, including winning over his wife, Melania, in a stream-of-consciousness delivery with his vice presidential nominee, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, standing quietly nearby.
“I don’t do anything unless I win,” Trump insisted. He promised to work “so hard” and vowed his campaign was “not going to disappear,” even though he has no plans to campaign this weekend and no events on his schedule for next week.
In an 75-minute speech Thursday night, Trump made forceful promises to be the champion of disaffected Americans, capping his convention on a high note for the party, not a moment too soon after shows of disharmony and assorted flubs before the four-day closer.
Speaking to “the forgotten men and women of our country,” the people who “work hard but no longer have a voice,” he declared: “I am your voice.” The speech was strikingly dark for a celebratory event and almost entirely lacking in policy details.
Trump pledged as president to restore a sense of public safety, strictly curb immigration and save the nation from Clinton’s record of “death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”
“I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves,” Trump said. He shouted throughout as he read off a teleprompter, showing few flashes of humor or even smiles.
Democrats offered a different assessment. President Barack Obama said Friday the picture Trump painted of the nation “doesn’t really jive with the experience with most people.”
At a White House news conference with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, Obama said crime rates, especially those for violent crime, are lower than at any time in the past 30 years. He noted violent crime has recently risen in some cities, “but we’re not going to make good decisions based on fears that don’t have a basis in fact.”
During their convention, Republicans were relentless and often raw in demonizing Clinton. As fired-up supporters at Trump’s acceptance speech broke out in their oft-used refrain of “Lock her up,” the nominee waved them off, and instead declared, “Let’s defeat her in November.” Yet he also accused her of “terrible, terrible crimes.”
“This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism and weakness,” he said. “But Hillary Clinton’s legacy does not have to be America’s legacy.”
The Democratic convention in Philadelphia, which starts Monday, is expected to be a more orderly affair. But she’ll first make a two-day campaign swing through Florida, with a Saturday event at Florida International University in Miami the likely spot for her first event with her running mate.
Kaine, 58, appeared to be the favorite for her choice, according to two Democrats, who both cautioned that Clinton has not made a decision and could change direction.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a longtime friend of Hillary and Bill Clinton, is still in the mix for vice president, according to one of the two Democrats. Both are familiar with the selection process and spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly.
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