President Barack Obama nudged Democratic Party chief Tim Kaine toward a Senate run Tuesday, saying the former Virginia governor would be an outstanding lawmaker.
Obama delivered the plug at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at Harlem's Red Rooster restaurant, with Kaine, who had spoken before the president, standing nearby. Obama repeated nearly the same plug later at a DNC event at Harlem's Studio Museum, urging a roomful of supporters to back Kaine if he does run.
"He's not just a leader for Virginia; he's a leader for America," the president said.
Kaine has been considering a run ever since Virginia Democratic Sen. Jim Webb said he won't stand for re-election next year. Democratic officials think Kaine is the best person to help the party keep the seat.
Republican George Allen, a former senator and a former Virginia governor, has already announced his candidacy.
Kaine recently told a college class that he's likely to become a candidate.
Obama joked about speculation that Kaine was considering "plunging back into the hurly burly of electoral politics" and said he'd be outstanding in the Senate.
Kaine was Virginia governor from 2006 to 2010.