Rep. Clyburn said he consulted on Hillary Clinton VP talk

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., on Thursday kicks off the state Democratic Party’s push to get Democrats elected to local and statewide offices this fall. Clyburn later told reporters he has consulted with presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton regarding the selection of her running mate.

COLUMBIA — U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn said he consulted with Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign to discuss three potential vice presidential candidates.

He identified U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez. He didn’t mention who he was pulling for, only that it should be someone who can “really become president” as the most important factor.

“I’ve had more experience with Tim Kaine than all the three,” Clyburn, D-S.C., said. “The three finalists who I understand are the three finalists ... I admire a whole lot.”

Clinton is expected to announce her choice as soon as Friday or Saturday.

Clyburn’s comments came as Democrats held a Columbia press conference Thursday in advance of next week’s national party convention. Several South Carolina Democrats will have speaking roles at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, Clyburn, state Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison and former state Rep. Bakari Sellers are the announced speakers so far.

Clyburn said his speech will center on the theme of stronger together — something he said Republicans attempted to do this week at their convention in Cleveland.

“They talked about stronger, but they haven’t talked about together too much,” Clyburn said. “The fact that the Republicans cannot seem to reconcile the differences in their own party, how in the world can we entrust a country for them to do so?”

Harrison plans to lay out his vision of the New South to overcome lingering economic and social challenges. The theme is also a dig at Gov. Nikki Haley, who has been deemed a face of the changing South.

“Secretary Clinton has promised me that her goal is that she’s going to focus on a Southern strategy, a Democratic Southern strategy so that she starts to build this bench of talent all across the South,” Harrison said. “I think the role South Carolina played in the presidential primary in terms of really vetting the candidates and pushing the candidates, I think that’s been acknowledged.”

Clyburn and Harrison joined S.C. House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, several state lawmakers and candidates outside the Statehouse to kick off the state party’s coordinated push in more than 20 local and statewide races. The theme “enough is enough” centers around the party’s belief that for 14 years the Republican-controlled Statehouse has failed to deliver.

“Donald Trump is going to have a visceral impact here in South Carolina,” Rutherford said. “Down ballot, up ballot, you can go anywhere you want to, people are tired of hate. People are tired of people that say one thing and do another.”