Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton's running mate, delivered an impassioned defense of her economic policies to a hall of South Philadelphia union workers on Wednesday. 

Credit: Idil Demirdag / The Daily Pennsylvanian

Less than 24 hours after appearing in the vice presidential debate, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) took to a Philadelphia stage. 

On Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton's running mate spoke about the economy, immigration, reproductive rights and criminal justice reform at the Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 19 Hall in South Philadelphia.

Supporters waited around the stage and on platforms behind it, surrounded by “Stronger Together” signs and Pennsylvanian and American flags.

He reflected on his own performance at the vice presidential debate, which pundits largely said he lost, by saying even his wife, Anne, “dinged” him for interrupting Donald Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

“The debate was a little feisty,” he said. “I mean I’ve got to admit — I am Irish.”

But he criticized Pence for failing to defend Trump’s statements about immigrants and women.

“If you can’t defend your own running mate, how can you ask one person to vote for your running mate?” Kaine said.

Arielle Brousse, the assistant director for development at the Kelly Writers House and a 2007 College graduate, introduced Kaine to the crowd. Brousse grew up in Atlantic City, N.J., where her parents worked in the Trump Taj Mahal casino there.

“I was raised and educated to be a woman who is unafraid to speak up for what’s right. Which, I think, makes me one of Donald Trump’s worst nightmares,” she said.

Brousse said Trump was “unfit” to be president because of his “callous, parasitic” business practices and failure to pay taxes. She praised Hillary Clinton’s plans to prioritize the middle class, labor rights and small businesses.

Penn was mentioned again later in the event, as Kaine told the crowd that the Democratic Party is unified by a commitment to underdogs.

“Maybe there will be some research at Penn or Temple and they’ll find that that’s actually part of the human DNA, right? There may be an underdog gene — sympathy for the underdog gene that they’ll find one day — but Democrats, we’re that kind of people.”

Kaine also spoke about his experience implementing community policing in Richmond, Va. and the need to address institutional bias in the profession. He said the story of the shooting of Philando Castile “really grabbed” him.

“This Mr. Rogers with dreadlocks had been stopped by the police 50 times over the course of the previous years,” Kaine said, using the nickname given to Castile at the school where he worked. “He was a great citizen, but he’d been stopped 50 times.”

Kaine explained Clinton and his plans to invest in manufacturing, new energy and infrastructure, and argued for the minimum wage to be raised to a level where full-time workers who make minimum wage are above the poverty line. He also emphasized equal pay for women and the importance of small businesses.

Kaine spoke to the crowd about Clinton’s father’s small business and his family’s ironworking shop in Kansas City, Mo., pointing to his parents in the audience as he described their work.

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale spoke to the crowd before Kaine’s arrival.

“[Trump] says bring steel back. But when he had a chance to bring steel back, he used Chinese steel instead of American steel,” he said. “If he really cared about American workers, he would have sourced everything in America.”

Members of of the Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 19 packed their hall alongside other Clinton supporters. One union member, Bill Yeager, was impressed by Kaine’s remarks.

“I think he gave a tremendous speech tonight and spoke to the regular folks in this country — the working men and women of all stripes,” he said. “Not just the rich, not just the moneyed, not just the powerful. People like us.”

Union member Darrell Richardson was similarly pleased with the Clinton-Kaine ticket’s economic platform.

“Way better than Trump,” he said of the Democratic ticket.

Kaine closed the event by imploring attendees to turn out to vote and stressing the historical significance of his ticket’s success.

“If it’d been easy to elect a woman president, there would’ve been a woman president,” he said.

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