The Democratic nominee for vice president swept through Minneapolis for a short visit Tuesday, making a stop at the University of Minnesota and meeting with former Vice President Walter Mondale before heading off to a fundraiser.
Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine's Tuesday stop came as the presidential campaign enters its final stretch — and as his running mate, Hillary Clinton, recovers from a bout of pneumonia.
In Minneapolis, Kaine did not take questions from reporters. He met briefly with a small group of college students after landing at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport before his motorcade headed to the University of Minnesota.
As he posed for photos with students outside Coffman Memorial Union, Kaine told the students the event felt a bit like a "hometown" event; he was born in St. Paul. The senator was raised in Missouri and has served as an attorney and governor of Virginia. He asked the students how they felt about the upcoming election, promising that he felt good about Minnesota's likelihood of picking the Clinton-Kaine ticket.
After a few minutes, Kaine pointed out the surrounding mob of local and national media.
"You guys are like the Beatles!" he said. "Or … is that too old?"
Some of the students laughed. One tried to help out with a local reference.
"You have to say something about Prince here," she said.
"Or how about the Replacements?" Kaine tried, looking for another Twin Cities tie-in. "Anybody like the Replacements? I'm a huge Replacements fan."
Before Kaine arrived, local representatives from Republican Donald Trump's campaign released a statement calling for the vice presidential nominee to respond to Clinton's recent comments characterizing some Trump supporters as "deplorable."
Kaine did not address that issue in an unannounced appearance that was a surprise even to campus political organizers like Ana Mendoza Packham, with the nonpartisan student group Women for Political Change.
She said she learned about the visit shortly before Kaine's motorcade pulled up to campus, but was impressed in her short meeting with the candidate.
"He's really a genuinely nice guy," she said.
Inside the student union, a crowd of students looking to get in a few words — or at least a photo — surrounded Kaine and his entourage of reporters and Secret Service agents.
Kaine asked many of the students about their hometowns, their majors and their career goals.
After one student, William Dammann, who is running for school board in his hometown of Annandale, Minn., told Kaine about his own candidacy, the Virginia senator turned to nearby reporters.
"Here's my ticket mate!" he said.
As other students filed in and out of the building, some angled for a spot closer to the action, while a few phoned friends to report that they were a few feet away from Hillary Clinton's running mate. A small group of students near the doorway, confused about the hubbub, passed along a rumor they had heard: "That's the vice president of Canada," one said, "that's what someone told me."
Several students, however, said they knew exactly who was at the center of the commotion — and said they're paying close attention to the race.
Freshman Damon Leach said his choice of presidential candidate is still "a work in progress." He said he's looking for a candidate who seems qualified and could jump — prepared — into the job.
He said visits from candidates to campus do make a difference in shaping that decision. "It definitely makes you feel like they care about the younger voters," he said.
Following the campus visit, Kaine had a private visit with Mondale, who was the Democratic nominee for president in 1984, and then attended a Minneapolis fundraiser.