Kaine Email Project @ LVA – Phone Call Edition

Governor Tim Kaine, WRVA's Ask the Governor, Richmond, 29 June 2006, Office of the Governor. This is the fifth in a series of blog posts spotlighting recently released email from Governor Tim Kaine’s administration.  These posts are not meant to be comprehensive but to encourage further exploration in the Kaine records (electronic and paper).

During his administration, Governor Kaine did two call-in radio shows (Ask the Governor) each month hosted by WRVA Richmond and Washington Post radio (WTOP).  The governor would take questions from constituents and the shows’ hosts.  For Kaine’s final Ask the Governor show on WTOP on 22 December 2009, Lynda Tran, communications director, arranged for a surprise caller:  President Barack Obama.  Her email shows how much work went into making the 90-second call happen.

Anne Holton, Governor Tim Kaine, U.S. Senator Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, outside Executive Mansion, 17 February 2007, Office of the Governor. On 17 December 2009, Tran emailed Patrick Gaspard, director of the White House Office of Political Affairs, with a personal request for Kaine’s final Ask the Governor program:  “What are the chances we could have the President call in for 90 seconds that day?”  Tran included a detailed event briefing form including message points for the president.  Two hours before the start of the show, Gaspard agreed that President Obama would call in.  Gaspard had one condition:  “I just need an ironclad assurance that we aren’t going to get crazy qs (sic) from mark plotkin (one of the show’s hosts).  It has to be a quick dial in and out.”  Tran agreed.  “You have my guarantee – I will hurtle myself at him.  Kidding.  He won’t even be in the room until 1050am.”  Kaine was moved by the gesture and according to Tran “teared (sic) up.”  Click here to listen to the “Barry from D.C.” call.

The Library of Virginia’s Kaine Email Project makes the email records from the administration of Governor Timothy M. Kaine, Virginia’s 70th governor (2006–2010) accessible online. Users can search and view email records from the Governor’s Office and his cabinet secretaries; learn about other public records from the Kaine administration; go behind the scenes to see how the Library of Virginia made the email records available; and read what others are saying about the collection.  Previous posts spotlighted FOIA requests, personal stories, transportation, the state budget and the Kaine records officers.

-Roger Christman, LVA Senior State Records Archivist

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