PHOENIX — Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine made history Thursday as he delivered what was called the first speech completely in Spanish by a candidate at an organized campaign rally during a presidential election.
"Latinos will have a very important voice in this election and the option is crystal clear," the senator from Virginia said in Spanish to a crowd of roughly 360 people gathered at the Phoenix rally, which was punctuated by a mariachi band and signs like "Bienvenidos a Arizona."
"By 2050, communities of color will constitute the majority of our population. So of course Latinos will help shape the future of America because you folks are the future of the United States," he said.
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Senator Tim Kaine through his career
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Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) react during a campaign rally at Ernst Community Cultural Center in Annandale, Virginia, U.S., July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
DATE:10/06/2001 SLUG:ME/KAINE CREDIT:TRACY A WOODWARD/TWP Candidate for VA Lt Gov. Tim Kaine at Herndon, VA., Homecoming Parade. Along parade route through the town of Herndon; Kaine (center of photo-blue shirt and jacket) shakes hands with Herndon High School student- Nick Palatiello (cq) 18 yrs old. The kids are on one of the Herndon High School floats. Original Filename: MEKAINE2.jpg ORG XMIT: M0110071405302067 (Photo by Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
SLUG: ME/RICHMOND The second day of the Virginia general assembly. Pictured, Lt. Governor Tim Kaine holds a press conference in the statehouse to introduce his legislative staffers and answer questions from the press. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
SLUG: ME/INAUG DATE: 01/14/2006 CREDIT: Bill O'Leary Governor Tim Kaine is inaugurated at the colonial statehouse in Williamsburg, VA. Pictured, the Governor elect gives a thumbs up signal to the crowd during a long ovation upon his arrival. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine laughs at a remark by President George W. Bush about his wife's needle work while visiting the Jamestown Settlement in Jamestown, Virginia, Sunday, May 13, 2007. (Photo by Dave Bowman/Newport News Daily Press/MCT via Getty Images)
CHESTER, VA - AUGUST 21: Presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) (R) discusses economy with people as Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (L) looks on during a campaign stop at John Tyler Community College August 21, 2008 in Chester, Virginia. The media have been reported that Obama will announce who is his running mate in Springfield, Illinois on Saturday. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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UNITED STATES - JANUARY 08: Virginia Governor Tim Kaine and President elect Barack Obama speak at a news conference at the Democratic National Committee headquarters to announce Kaine as the new chair of the DNC on January 8, 2009. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - NOVEMBER 04: Virginia Gov. and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine answers questions during a press conference at the State Capitol complex November 4, 2009 in Richmond, Virginia. Kaine discussed the results of yesterday's election results during the press conference. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 30: DNC Chairman Tim Kaine (L) participates in a conference call with Rev. Regena Thomas, Director of Faith and Constituency Outreach in the Chairman's office on September 30, 2010. This was a 5:00 pm Conference call with the National Baptist Convention Leadership. (Photo by Tracy A Woodward/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA, JULY 13: Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine plays to the crowd during a campaign stop with President Barack Obama at Green Run High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Friday, July 13, 2012. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MCLEAN, VA - SEPTEMBER 20: Tim Kaine in encircled by media in the media room of the Capitol One Conference Center following his U.S. Senatorial debate against George Allen on Thursday, September 20, 2012, in McLean, VA. The former Virginia governor Kaine is in a heated run against Allen, another former Virginia governor, for the US Senate seat being vacated by Senator Jim Webb. In addition to being a former Virginia governor, Kaine, a Democrat , is a former mayor of Richmond and a Virginia Lt. governor. Kaine's wife, Holton, has been active in the campaign, making appearances around the state on her husband's behalf. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
FAIRFAX, VA - SEPTEMBER 25: U.S. Senate Democratic candidate and former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine answers reporters' questions during a news conference at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Station 40 September 25, 2012 in Fairfax, Virginia. The International Association of Fire Fighters union announced its endorsement of Kaine in his race against another former Virginia governor and former U.S. Senator George Allen (R-VA). (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - November 6 : Former Governor of Virginia, Tim Kanie makes his acceptance speech after winning the Virginia Senate seat from Former Governor George Allen at Kaine's election night party at the Richmond Marriott on November 6, 2012. (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: (L-R) Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, Anne Holton, and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) attend the Inaugural Youth Ball hosted by OurTime.org at Donald W. Reynolds Center on January 19, 2013 in Washington, United States. (Photo by Michael Kovac/FilmMagic)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 31: Junior Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) looks up to think for a moment during a staff meeting in his office on Capitol Hill Wednesday, July 31, 2013. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
US Senator Tim Kaine,D-Virginia, listens to witnesses June 5, 2014 during hearings held by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee On Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee is hearing testimony on 'Development in Ukraine.' AFP PHOTO / Karen BEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 9: Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks with a reporter as he arrives for the Senate Democrats' policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, June 9, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) appears in pre taped interview on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Friday June 24, 2016. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
US Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and US Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, wave during a campaign rally at Ernst Community Cultural Center in Annandale, Virginia, on July 14, 2016. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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Kaine delivered a reminder to his audience "that the Hispanic community has been part of our country since the Spanish arrived in St. Augustine in 1565. That was well before the British landed in North America, 42 years before the British arrived in Jamestown, Virginia. Spanish was the first European language spoken in this country."
Three years ago, Kaine was the first senator to deliver a speech on the Senate floor fully in Spanish while he pushed for passage of the Senate's immigration reform bill.
"Since we were debating a bill about immigration, explaining it in Spanish just made sense," Kaine recalled on Thursday, "especially since it's the language of more than 40 million people in this country who are the people whom this matter concerns the most."
The senator also took square aim at Republican nominee Donald Trump, calling him "someone who thinks that reaching out to the Latino community means tweeting a picture of a taco bowl."
The crowd responded strongly with boos when Kaine called out "one of Trump's main supporters, Sheriff Joe Arpaio."
"Do you know of him?" Kaine continued. "Joe Arpaio is facing criminal charges for his discrimination against Latinos and for persecuting undocumented immigrants...he said that Trump will be receiving many Hispanic votes. Do you all think he's right?"
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Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine on the trail since the DNC
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"No!" yelled the crowd.
"Recently former governor Jan Brewer said she wasn't worried that her candidate Donald Trump will win Arizona, because, and I quote, 'Latinos 'don't get out and vote.'" Kaine said. "This is the same former governor who approved the discriminatory bill SB1070 that promoted racial discrimination. Do you think she's right? No."
Kaine went on to mention Trump's remarks at the start of the presidential campaign calling some Mexican immigrants "drug dealers, rapists, and murderers."
The decision to make the speech in Arizona comes as the Clinton campaign works to turn the state blue after decades of voting for Republicans. Hillary Clinton was here Wednesday, and a number of other surrogates have made trips as well.
"We are very encouraged by what we are seeing in Arizona," Kaine's spokeswoman Karen Finney told reporters aboard the senator's plane Thursday afternoon. "We're making a very serious play for Arizona. And as part of that, we thought it was important, given that 40 million families speak Spanish in this country, we thought that it was important, the senator thought it was important that we make our case in Spanish."
"No other person on a presidential ticket in the United States has given a full campaign speech in Spanish," she added. "So it's unprecedented and historic."
"There are a lot of things in this election that have been unprecedented and historic. We're sort of proud that this is a positive," Finney said.