CNN's Alisyn Camerota one-upped her Big Three network peers on Tuesday's New Day by pressing Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine over running mate Hillary Clinton's not having a "message of unity" during their campaign. Camerota played a clip of Mrs. Clinton claiming she will "be a president for all Americans" and wondered, "Why hasn't Hillary Clinton been hitting that message harder for more weeks and months?" The same morning, ABC and CBS's morning newscasts also interviewed Kaine, but went much easier on the Virginia senator. [video from CNN below]
Midway through her interview of the Democratic politician, the CNN anchor led into the clip of Secretary Clinton by stating, "Let's talk about the message of unity that Hillary Clinton is now hitting; and what's going to happen, maybe, tomorrow. I want to play for you...what Hillary Clinton said last night, in terms of she wants to be president for the whole country." She responded to the soundbite by noting the "lovely message," and asked her "hitting that message harder" question.
Kaine answered, in part, by playing up that "the 'stronger together' message is what she chose a year or so ago; and that really is what we've been trying to convey — that we are a nation that's stronger together. That's the 'e pluribus unum.' That's the 'one nation, indivisible.'" Camerota retorted, "But it was also during one of the debates where she named Republicans as her greatest enemy. She also, more recently, called half of Donald Trump's supporters 'deplorables.' That's not the message of unity and 'I want to be president for everybody.'"
Later in the segment, the anchor by contending that "the Democratic Party has long been the party of the working guy." She added, "But this year, something different is happening; and it's possible that Donald Trump will win those folks by a margin of two to one over you both. So where do you think the disconnect is?"
By contrast, Robin Roberts her interview of Kaine on ABC's Good Morning America by asking, "Did you get any sleep last night?" She also took a similar approach to Camerota by asking about how the senator and his running mate would bring the country together:
ROBIN ROBERTS: ...[Y]ou've already cast your vote.
SEN. TIM KAINE, (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:: I have, indeed. We — we opened the polls at 6 am in Virginia. I got there at quarter till; and by the time I had voted, there was already quite a long line in my neighborhood. I was excited to see that.
ROBERTS: And we're seeing already long lines all across the country as the polls are opening. Senator, what have you seen so far — be it the early voting and such these last few days out on the campaign trail — that have given you confidence; or possibly, concern? What have you seen?
KAINE: Well, there are three things, Robin, that are really important that real data — you see who is registering to vote; and then, you see who is asking for absentee ballots and returning them. But then, you also see the early vote participation in the states that allow it. And what we're seeing, in terms of early participation, is very, very strong. Democracy always works better the more people participate; and I think the energy and enthusiasm about, what we believe will be a history making race — that's the thing that gives me the most — you know, the most feeling of optimism right now.
ROBERTS: There is a lot of enthusiasm. A number of states are still in play. What — what has you really — has your eye on — gives you the greatest concern?
KAINE: Well, yeah, there's — there's a couple of states that I call checkmate states; so there's probably 10 or 15 that are battleground states, but the ones we watch really close are checkmate states. Those are states where if we win, we know Hillary will be president, and — and I say this about North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio. These are four checkmates. I think if we win any of those four, Hillary will be president. And I think we have a chance to, maybe, win all of them. But there are — some of them are going to be really close. So, we're watching those states very, very closely.
ROBERTS: As voters head to the polls there in your home state of Virginia and all across the country — people who will be voting in favor of you; those who will not — what do you say to those people — the American people — who are going out to let their voices be heard today, after such a challenging election season?
KAINE: I just — I just encourage them, Robin. I — I lived in Honduras 35 years ago. It was a military dictatorship, and nobody could vote. They prayed for the day that they could elect their leaders — things like peaceful transfer of power and respecting election results, were — were what they looked at us as setting the example for. So, my main pitch to everybody is, we are so blessed to have the opportunity to participate in a vigorous way.
Minutes later, the CBS This Morning anchors interviewed Kaine and took a similar hands-off approach as Roberts:
CHARLIE ROSE: So, you have voted again. You have never lost an election. What concerns you — is it turnout?
SEN. TIM KAINE, (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I think that's what we're trying to do today — to just encourage people to get out there. There was a great line already at my polling place when it opened at six o'clock; and certainly, we saw super enthusiasm in early vote and absentee voting. But yeah, that's — that's the issue for today — that everybody should participate. We think this is going to be a history-making election, and you'll want to say you were there.
NORAH O'DONNELL: The polls close in your home state of Virginia at seven o'clock tonight — one of the earlier states — so it may give us an indication about how the night is going. What will you be looking for?
KAINE: We're just — you know, encouraging everybody to get out there and vote. Virginia polls do close at seven, so it's in the first wave of states whose polls close. That can give us an idea about how the night's going to go.
GAYLE KING: A lot of attention is being paid to the Hispanic vote. There's been a huge increase in the Hispanic voters turning out early in both Florida and Nevada. What does that say to you, Senator?
KAINE: There are two things going on with the Latino vote. First, the Latinos perceive a huge difference between the two tickets. Hillary and I support comprehensive immigration reform; Donald Trump supports building a wall and deporting people. They perceive a difference.
But the other thing that's really important: I think this is the election where the Latino community understands that they make a big difference. They don't view themselves as a minor part of the electorate anymore in states like Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Nevada, Colorado. All over the country, [the] Latino vote now sees that they can be a difference-maker, and that is an empowering thing.
ROSE: Senator, a lot of people look at this campaign and say, it is very nasty; and whoever wins, they're hoping the country can come together. Assume you and Hillary Clinton are in power after today — how will you close the divisions in this country and the extraordinary partisan feelings that have erupted?
KAINE: Charlie, that's a challenge after every race; and maybe, sharper in this one than — than any race, maybe, in the last 40 years. Hillary's got a great track record. When she worked in the Senate, she had really good relations on both sides of the aisle — members of the Senate that I talked to; Republicans who worked with her — feel that they're going to be able to again. And I have that same track record as governor. I had two Republican houses, and I've got good bona fides in the Senate right now. The burden's going to be on our shoulders if we're successful.
The transcripts of the relevant portions of Alisyn Camerota's interview of Senator Tim Kaine from the November 8, 2016 edition of CNN's New Day:
ALISYN CAMEROTA: So Senator, let's talk about the message of unity that Hillary Clinton is now hitting; and what's going to happen, maybe, tomorrow. I want to play for you what — I know you were there — but what Hillary Clinton said last night, in terms of she wants to be president for the whole country—
SEN. TIM KAINE, (D), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Right—
CAMEROTA: So watch this moment.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE (from campaign event): I also want you to know: I will be a president for all Americans — Democrats, Republicans, independents — not just the people who support me in this election; everyone.
CAMEROTA: So Senator, that's a lovely message. Why hasn't Hillary Clinton been hitting that message harder for more weeks and months?
KAINE: Well, I will say this, Alisyn: you know, the 'stronger together' message is what she chose a year or so ago; and that really is what we've been trying to convey — that we are a nation that's stronger together. That's the 'e pluribus unum.' That's the 'one nation, indivisible.' That's why we've got, in Virginia, strong Republicans like John Warner, our long-time U.S. senator — who is a Republican — supporting a Democratic nominee for the first time in his life.
So this — you do have to draw contrasts; and it's important to do that. But the burden will be on our shoulders, if we're fortunate enough to win to—
KAINE: To put together a team and promote policies and speak in a way that shows that we want to be an administration for everybody.
CAMEROTA: But Senator — I mean, yes, you say she had the slogan 'stronger together' for more than a year now. But it was also during one of the debates where she named Republicans as her greatest enemy. She also, more recently, called half of Donald Trump's supporters 'deplorables.' That's not the message of unity and 'I want to be president for everybody.'
KAINE: Well — and then, she, within a day, said, 'Wow, I shouldn't have said it that way' — taking responsibility and saying — and I know this from on the campaign trail — we say things that — because we're giving tons of speeches a day — and we then say, you know what? I could have said that better; and that's what she does.
But I'll tell you this: I'm in the Senate — Hillary Clinton was in the Senate for eight years — and she's got a lot of colleagues there on the Republican side who tell me Hillary was a great person to work with. She was a great partner. She is going to put those skills to the test. I was a Democratic governor in a Virginia where I had two Republican houses. I worked well across the aisle in the Senate.
Again, if we have the — the blessing of being able to serve, we've got to show, right out of the gate, that we want to bring people together. And that's in words. It's in the team we put together. But also, we have to promote policies that show people, even who didn't vote for us, that we've been paying attention to concerns that they have; and we're trying to address them in a good-faith way. And we'll be up to the task.
CAMEROTA: Back to all of Donald Trump's supporters for a moment: you know, the Democratic Party has long been the party of the working guy. But this year, something different is happening; and it's possible that Donald Trump will win those folks by a margin of two to one over you both. So where do you think the disconnect is?
KAINE: Well, look, you know, we're a closely-divided nation. So we feel really good about the Hillary coalition — the coalition of voters of all income levels; of all races around this country — that are turning out and early vote in ways that make us feel good about the likely outcome.
But, you know, I would say that an issue that we do have to grapple with is the one that I talked about early — which is economic anxieties. And — and President Obama came in with the economy in a free fall. We've added fifteen and a half million new jobs; unemployment rate cut in half; 401(k) policies are worth something again. But just because the economy is doing better, on average, doesn't mean that everybody is doing better. And that means this notion of an economy that works for everybody — not just those at the top — which is the first of the three pillars of Hillary's campaign — that's something that we've got to focus on.