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Opinion: Tim Kaine is no attack dog. But he did well enough to tear a strip off of Trump.

Vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine arrives to speak at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 27.
(Los Angeles Times)

When Hillary Clinton named Tim Kaine as her running mate, the questions came immediately: Was he too mild, too bland, too moderate — in short, too nice to wage a ferocious campaign against the likes of Donald Trump?

The answer, based on Kaine’s acceptance speech Wednesday night, turns out to be: almost.

Kaine sounded like a folksy, jokey Midwestern uncle. The adjective Trump would use — will use — is “low energy.” He stepped on some of his own biggest lines.

But he was just partisan enough — and just riled enough — to tear a strip off the Republican nominee.

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Trump “never tells you how he’s going to do any of the things he says he’s going to do. He just says, ‘Believe me.’” Only Kaine delivered the last two words in a bad-but-still-funny Trump impression: “Buh-leeeve me.”

“Retirees and families in Florida believed Donald Trump when he said he’d build them condos,” Kaine said. “They paid their deposits, but the condos were never built…. They lost tens of thousands of dollars, all because they believed Donald Trump.”

“He says, ‘Believe me.’ Well, his creditors, his contractors, his laid-off employees, his ripped-off students did just that. Folks, you cannot believe one word that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth,” Kaine said. “Our nation is too great to put it in the hands of a slick-talking, empty-promising, self-promoting, one-man wrecking crew.”

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The delegates in the convention hall, roaring, leaped to their feet.

You could almost hear Hillary Clinton’s staff exhale. Tim Kaine is no red-meat attack dog. But with a target as big as Donald Trump, maybe a low-key, affable but stubborn pushback will do just fine.

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