September 16, 2008

Kaine Reiterates He’s Staying Until 2010 / Says He Will Not Consider a Post-Gubernatorial Job Until Term is Almost Over

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, passed over for vice president but still a prospect for a college presidency, says there's no way he won't complete the remaining 16 months of his term. "I want to make a Shermanesque statement," Kaine said in a telephone interview, alluding to the Union general who declared in 1884 that he would not be considered as a Republican candidate for president.

Kaine, a Democrat, said yesterday that he will finish his four- year term, and will not consider post-gubernatorial employment until the closing months of his administration.

"I've been very adamant that I'm going to go all the way through January 2010, and that I am not even going to talk to anyone about what [comes] next until late '09," said Kaine.

"I've had people ask me if I'm interested in X or Y, and I've said, 'Talk to me in late '09.' "

Kaine has emerged as a possible successor to the embattled president of Virginia Commonwealth University, Eugene P. Trani. Trani is stepping down as of July 1, a year earlier than planned.

But Kaine said it would be a potential ethical conflict to consider the post at this time. Public universities in Virginia are overseen by trustees selected by the governor.

"There's really no circumstance that I could, as a sitting governor, have a discussion about a position at any state agency," Kaine said. "That would be seen to be a conflict."

Kaine was on Sen. Barack Obama's short list for the vice- presidential nomination, but after Obama selected Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, Kaine was still seen by some as signaling an interest in a Cabinet appointment.

Speculation about Kaine's intentions - and their political consequences - has become something of a parlor game.

Leaving the governorship early would mean surrendering the office to a Republican, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, potentially giving the GOP an edge in next year's gubernatorial and House elections.

Uncertainty about Kaine's plans could further undercut his leverage with the General Assembly - leverage already diminished by his status as a lame duck. Kaine is barred by law from seeking a second, consecutive term.

Kaine said the vice presidency "might have been the only circumstance" under which he would have become the first Virginia governor not to complete his single four-year term since the rule was adopted in 1852.

"It would have been hard to say 'no' to that," said Kaine, a national co-chairman of the Obama-Biden campaign.

A trial lawyer before entering politics as a Richmond city council candidate in 1994, Kaine said he expects there will be a "whole lot of possibilities" after leaving the governor's office.

"I'm not worried about it," he said.

- Contact Jeff E. Schapiro at (804) 649-6814 or [email protected]


Originally published by E. SCHAPIRO; Times-Dispatch Staff Writer.

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