axelrod files

Editor’s Note: The Axe Files, featuring David Axelrod, is a podcast distributed by CNN and produced at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. The author works for David Axelrod.

Story highlights

The Democratic VP nominee spoke with David Axelrod while in North Carolina

He discussed what Hillary Clinton will do about ISIS if elected

Cary, North Carolina CNN  — 

If Hillary Clinton is elected president, she will quickly ask Congress to revise and update America’s current Authorization for Use of Military Force in the fight against ISIS, says her nominee for vice president, Sen. Tim Kaine.

As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, the Virginia Democrat has argued that the Obama administration must seek an updated approval from Congress to fight the war against ISIS. The administration maintains that it already has approval through the current force authorization, passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

“Hillary has said that that’s something she wants to do very early in her administration,” Kaine told David Axelrod on “The Axe Files” podcast, produced by the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.

Obama has sought congressional authorization for use of force in Iraq and Syria including in February 2015, though the Congress didn’t do anything with his request.

Kaine said the military currently is operating in Iraq and Syria under an inadequate, “60-word authorization that was passed on Sept. 14, 2001, when about 70% of the current Congress wasn’t there when that vote was cast.”

Our adversaries and the battlefields on which we fight have evolved so much, Kaine said, “It’s time for Congress to get back in the game and refine and revise that authorization, and really look at what it is to be engaged in military action against non-state terrorist groups.”

Kaine touched on a number of issues during the conversation, which took place in the battleground state of North Carolina, where he had been on a two-day campaign swing.

Accusing Donald Trump of embracing an “authoritarian view,” Kaine said the Republican nominee’s repeated suggestions that the electoral process is “rigged” is a dangerous signal to his supporters.

“I lived in Honduras. It was a military dictatorship,” Kaine said. “I came to understand things I took for granted about our system, and I don’t think you should be trying to tear down a central pillar of our system in the way he’s trying to do.”

Kaine also said that he believed that some of the vehement opposition President Barack Obama has encountered in office is rooted in race. “I think there’s been a level of disrespect shown him that I find saddening,” Kaine stated, while maintaining it does not surprise him.

“I see the world through the perspective of a guy who’s been a civil rights lawyer in the South,” he continued. “I haven’t been surprised at it.”

But regardless of what has motivated some of the opposition, Kaine believes Obama’s presidency has been a net-positive for racial progress in America.

“The very night he was elected, he created a class of successors who’d never been able to see themselves as President of the United States who now could,” Kaine said.

To hear the whole conversation with Kaine, which also touched on his experience doing missionary work in Honduras with the Jesuits and the liberation theology he was exposed to there, and why it’s better to choose optimism over pessimism, click on To get “The Axe Files” podcast every week, subscribe at