Tim Kaine on Wednesday responded to 14-year-old comments he made that President Bill Clinton should have resigned in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
“Twenty years ago, I was disappointed like a lot of folks were, but I tell ya, there is no reason to re-litigate problems of 20 years ago when Americans want to talk about is what do we do today and tomorrow,” he said, adding that voters on the campaign trail care more about the economy and foreign affairs than “past controversies.”
“They want to know what we are going to do tomorrow,” Kaine said.
During an unrelated 2002 sex scandal in the Virginia House of Delegates, Kaine had told the Richmond Times Dispatch: “If the allegations are true, he should definitely resign.”
The Dispatch reported at the time that Kaine added “he held the same view about President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal.”
“That is an intolerable way to treat women and it’s not something that the state should be dragged through,” Kaine had said.
“As the Associated Press reported at the time, Kaine characterized President Clinton’s actions as ‘not appropriate’ conduct, but he had previously been on record criticizing the impeachment effort,” a campaign spokeswoman said. “He believes this election is about Hillary Clinton’s vision to make historic investments to create good paying jobs, make college debt free and build an economy that works for everyone, not re-litigating personal issues from the distant past.”
Speaking to affiliate KWWL following a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Wednesday, Clinton’s running mate said the 2002 Dispatch report was “not inaccurate,” but controversies from 20 years ago “aren’t really important” to voters today.
The Associated Press also reported in 2002 that Kaine called the Virginia scandal “beneath the dignity of the office,” comparing his reaction to the Clinton-Lewinsky affair.
“When I read it this morning, my reaction was the same I had when I read about the Clinton-Lewinsky affair: This is not appropriate conduct. It’s beneath the dignity of the office,” Kaine is quoted as saying.
Kaine’s comments to both the Richmond Times Dispatch and the AP were first re-reported by The Daily Beast.
This is the first time Kaine has been asked about the Lewinsky scandal since becoming a vice presidential candidate last month.
Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon tweeted that The Daily Beast report was a “lousy piece of oppo.”