Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia to back Clinton for president

Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia to back Clinton for president
Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia plans to announce in a speech in South Carolina that he will support Hillary Rodham Clinton for president if she runs in 2016. (Dave Ellis / Associated Press)

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia plans to urge Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for president in 2016 when he addresses a Democratic gathering in the crucial early-voting state of South Carolina on Saturday morning.

"She is a classic American optimist with the background and experiences necessary to lead this country in a very complicated world," Kaine plans to say, according to prepared remarks planned for delivery at the South Carolina Women's Democratic Council breakfast in Columbia.

"Her work as first lady, senator and secretary of State has given her unmatched knowledge of the world, of our allies and opponents, and of global leaders — public and private — who can be partners for progress in the years ahead," according to the remarks, provided to the Los Angeles Times.

Kaine, who some speculated would mount his own White House bid in 2016, will also announce that he is joining Ready for Hillary, one of several independent groups that are laying the groundwork for a potential Clinton run.

Clinton, who has said she will make a decision by the end of the year on whether to make another presidential run, is facing renewed scrutiny in recent days because of new information about the deadly attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, toward the end of her tenure as secretary of State.

Kaine’s nod is notable because he was an early supporter of then-Sen. Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign, at a time when Clinton was thought to be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. And he hails from a state that was a longtime GOP bastion until recently becoming a swing state. Virginians voted Democratic in the last two presidential contests.