After vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine delivered his big speech at last month’s Democratic National Convention, Stephen Colbert and John Oliver had some fun at his expense on The Late Show. “If he’s going to be America’s stepdad, that was an exemplary performance,” Oliver joked at the time.
That performance continued Thursday night when he made his late-night debut as Hillary Clinton’s running mate. “Are you familiar with your role as America’s stepdad?” Colbert asked as Kaine chuckled a bit self-consciously. “Are you OK with not being cool?”
“I’ve been prepared for that for 26 years,” Kaine answered, earnestly as always, “because I have three children who have been ripping on me and saying those things about me since they were born.”
Just as Clinton got a chance to poke fun at the conspiracy theories about her health on Jimmy Kimmel Live earlier this week, Colbert asked Kaine if she is able to “sit up under her own power.” Kaine joked that Clinton could probably beat him in the New York Marathon if either of them had time to run it.
Since VP picks are supposed to serve as “attack dogs” for their respective campaigns, Colbert began by giving Kaine a chance to fire back at Trump for calling Clinton a “bigot” during his speech in Mississippi the night before. “I’ll take you off the chain right now, go after him,” the host joked.
Kaine fired back with verifiable facts about Clinton’s record. He noted that when she got out of law school, she worked to “help advance racial justice” in places like South Carolina and Alabama. Meanwhile, during the early part of his career, Kaine said, Trump got sued by the Justice Department for “discriminating against people in housing.”
Echoing some of the points laid out by Clinton in her Reno, Nevada, speech earlier that day, Kaine shared the fact that Trump’s company used to write the letter “c” for “colored” on applications. While Clinton has a track record of “trying to advance priorities for others,” he said, “Donald Trump’s for himself.”
After a break, Kaine broke out his fluent Spanish to take on Trump’s apparent softening on immigration, prompting Colbert to ask, “What’s the Spanish word for pander?”
But the highlight of Kaine’s late-night debut may have happened off camera during a commercial break when he joined Late Show bandleader Jon Batiste and Stay Human on harmonica. It wasn’t quite Bill Clinton playing saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show, but it was something.