Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine and wife Anne Holton discussed college affordability and campaign involvement during a stint in Ames on Monday.
The self-described “public service duo” also touched on the difference in messages they feel exist between Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign and GOP opponent Donald Trump's campaign.
Kaine, who ended on college affordability, highlighted three main points from Clinton's policy.
"In this country, we should be able to guarantee debt-free college," Kaine said.
Debt-free college recently came to the forefront of Clinton and Kaine's campaign, an idea adopted from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders following her nomination. Should Clinton get elected, she hopes to enact a policy so that "every student should have the option to graduate from a public college or university in their state without taking on any student debt."
We should be able to guarantee free tuition for in-state residents with family incomes of less than $125,000, Kaine said.
Clinton also hopes to make community college free, according to her website. And on those who have already graduate college, Kaine cited Clinton's plan to help former students lift the weight of debt off of their shoulders.
"What are we going to do to help those with existing student loan debts?" Kaine said, later answering his question saying they're going to create refinancing opportunities to help those with student loans.
According to Clinton's proposed policy, borrowers will be able to refinance loans at current rates, providing debt relief to an estimated 25 million people.
"Hillary Clinton looks at education like my wife does and says, 'this is the path to success,'" Kaine said.
For many public university students in Iowa, they are feeling the weight of student tuition following a recent increase by the Iowa Board of Regents this summer, and another proposed 2 percent tuition increase for the fiscal year 2017-2018.
Drawing contrasts between the message of their campaign compared to Trump's, Kaine criticized Trump for his vision of the country, holding up a copy of Trump's book, "Crippled America," which outlines how Trump will "make America great again."
“I don’t recognize crippled America … what I believe about us is that we are upbeat, can-do optimistic, patriotic, problem-solving people,” Kaine said.
Kaine also called out Trump on his dedication to the Obama birther campaign, a movement of people, including Trump, who were skeptical that President Barack Obama was a legal U.S. citizen. Trump recently admitted for the first time in five years that he believes Obama was born in the United States.
Kaine related the issue to the Dred Scott decision in the 1850s, which said any African-American could not be a legal U.S. citizen, calling it "a painful chapter in American life.”
“[Trump's] basically calling us to the most painful chapter in this nation,” Kaine said.
In addition to calling out Trump on his perceived bigotry and racism, Kaine praised his running mate Clinton, citing the long history she has of helping children and families. He told attendees the greatest presidents are those who look out for people, and that he believes Clinton would be one of those presidents.
Kaine also spoke about his enthusiasm to support a strong woman to be president.
“I’m really excited to be a strong man, now playing a supporting role as vice presidential nominee, to be supporting a strong woman for president of the United States,” Kaine said.
Kaine then called for “strong men” in the crowd to support “strong women” and was met with cheering and applause as affirmation.
ISU College Democrats President Zach Rodgers was one of the speakers at the rally, focusing on his organization efforts to register voters and ensure that Clinton and Kaine are elected in November.
Eric Spies, junior in history, also spoke to why he supports Clinton for president, stressing the importance of keeping Trump "out of the White House," a major message in Clinton's campaign.
“Failing to support Clinton is failing to stand up to Trump,” Spies said.
Spies also made an appeal to Sanders' supporters and his presidential campaign. Spies said he was a Sanders' supporter who decided to direct his support behind Clinton due to the importance of this election.
Spies attempted to appeal to voters who were also Sanders' supporters by attacking Trump.
“Trump doesn’t represent my generation,” Spies said. “Trump doesn’t represent American values.”