U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio said he endured an “arduous” 32-day vetting process as the Hillary Clinton campaign considered him as her running mate and wound up wanting the job more than he thought he would.
“I started off having no interest. I said honestly to a lot of you that I really didn’t see myself as vice president, I don’t really have this great ambition to be president of the United States,” Brown said.
But, he added, “You can’t help getting a little more interested.”
The vetting of Brown as VP shows how high he has ascended within the Democratic Party ranks. It also doesn’t hurt that he is the senior senator from Ohio, which is identified as a must-have state by both Clinton and Donald Trump, the Republican nominee.
Speaking to Ohio delegates Wednesday morning, Brown described the vetting process after he landed on Clinton’s short list. Six attorneys peppered him with questions and then he had a 90-minute meeting with Clinton.
“I went to her house. No reporters really knew I was being vetted like that. I never leaked it to anybody. The reporters had a lot of names of people who met with her, (but) they never had my name because I didn’t talk,” said Brown, D-Ohio.
Brown, 63, said he was thrilled when his good friend, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, was picked for the job. Progressives have been concerned about Kaine’s previously expressed support for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, but Brown said Kaine will be “solid” on that issue, which Clinton has said she opposes.
He said the only chance TPP has of passing this year is if Republican leaders in the GOP-controlled House and Senate try to “jam it through” after November’s General Election.
“Hillary will oppose it. Tim Kaine will oppose it. I will oppose it,” said Brown.
Trump too says he opposes the TPP, though Brown says, “He built a whole career making money from trade agreements.”
Brown called Trump “a pretty good demagogue” who has played to white supremacists by initially not denouncing former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke, who is running for U.S. Senate.
“This is a Republican Party that’s dog-whistled about race for 25 years and when Donald Trump barks, the Republican establishment was shocked,” Brown said.
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