Richmond, VA - Wednesday, Tim Kaine announced his plan for day one on the Senate floor. Breaking down Congressional gridlock is the top of his agenda. The senator-elect also weighed in on Tuesday's election results.
\Kaine campaign staffers are jubilant but ready to get down to business. Kaine said he has short-term goals like rebuilding our infrastructure and long-term goals like re-training the American workforce. But, his main goal as a U.S. Senator will be building bipartisanship again.
It's Kaine's first press conference as U.S. Senator-elect. With the U.S. economy inching closer to the fiscal cliff - that toxic mix of tax hikes and budget cuts - the economy is number one, and that means parties working together.
"When the bond rating of our country was downgraded a year ago, it wasn't the particular mechanics of the deal that led to the downgrade; instead, it was the bond agencies' assessment of a Congress where leaders were more interested in playing chicken with each other than actually solving problems," said Kaine.
Kaine calls congressional disfunction the principle shackle on our economy. But the junior senator says he'll compromise with his own party, even the president: Kaine wants taxes raised on incomes over $500,000, the President says $250,000. A king of compromise, member of the bipartisan Gang of Six, Mark Warner, backs the Kaine agenda and the man behind it.
"It's really good when a really good guy wins," said Warner.
Warner and Kaine have a friendship that spans three decades. Now, they will work side by side in the Senate. For political experts, Kaine and Warner highlighting their friendship in political ads helped Kaine on election day. For Kaine, a positive campaign message with old-school grassroots campaigning also did the trick.
"Spoke very clearly to the nation that grassroots person to person politics can beat big check, negative ads," said Kaine.
It's too early, we have no hard data, but 40% of Virginia voters are Independent. Kaine believes they split their ticket voting Romney-Kaine, not Romney-Allen.