This profile of Tim Kaine originally ran Oct. 23, 2005 ahead of his election as governor.

As a child, Tim Kaine was badly pigeon-toed. Concerned neighbors in Overland Park, Kan., urged his parents to take him to an orthopedist.

The doctor instructed Kaine, then 8, to wear, every night for at least a year, a brace fashioned from open-toed, high-top leather shoes connected at the soles with a metal bar.

For the uncomfortable rig to mend his awkward gait, the dark-haired boy had to sleep on his back - easier said than done by an energetic youngster such as Kaine.

But Kaine, whose feet are still scarred from the device, never complained, his mother, Kathy, recalled nearly four decades later. The ritual worked because "he was so conscientious," said his mother, a former foods-and-nutrition teacher.

The image of Kaine, the Democratic nominee for governor, as stoical but cheerful, ambitious yet sensitive, emerges repeatedly over a life that has taken him from a leafy middle-class suburb of Kansas City to the marble-lined corridors of power in Richmond.

Such traits have allowed Kaine - the public Kaine - to skillfully repackage himself.

When he entered politics in 1994 as a candidate for the Richmond City Council, he seemed a standard-brand liberal. He had been a Catholic missionary in Honduras. As a Harvard-trained civil-rights lawyer, Kaine had represented death-row prisoners and victims of housing discrimination.

Eleven years later, with the state's top office in sight, Kaine prefers to be seen as a non-ideological pragmatist. He is running on a 2004 tax increase, supported in the polls, that he describes as "budget reform." He expresses a faith-based opposition to the death penalty but vows to carry out executions.

"Tim wasn't as nuanced then as he is now," said University of Richmond researcher John V. Moeser, a Kaine friend, North Side neighbor and occasional adviser who is an expert on the city's racially charged politics.

But the agility with which the patient, slow-to-anger Kaine approaches politics, prompting opponents to brand him untrustworthy, also frees the private Kaine - the harmonica-blowing sports and outdoors enthusiast - to sharply focus on the needs of others, notably friends and loved ones.

"He always has empathy for your point of view," said Charles Hirschhorn, a Hollywood film and broadcast executive who roomed with Kaine at Harvard.

Hirschhorn recalls debates with Kaine "years ago" over the death penalty and abortion, which Kaine also resists because of his Catholicism.

"Tim's respect for his faith and his moral issues, and his respect for the law that he has to uphold, absolutely peacefully co-exist in him," said Hirschhorn.

Jerry W. Kilgore, the Republican candidate, isn't so sure. He suggests religion for Kaine is a convenient, temporary shield against reminders he is outside the Virginia mainstream on capital punishment.

* * *

Catholicism, however, has been a constant for Kaine, born in St. Paul, Minn., because his father, Al, an electrical engineer from whom Kaine inherited a high-wattage smile, was working there for Remington Rand Corp.

Sunday Mass was a must in the Kaine family and remains so for Kaine. His Harvard pals, weary on Sunday mornings from studies or revelry, remember him always rising early to attend church.

"It is part of his world view," said the Rev. Michael S. Schmied, who officiated at Kaine's wedding in 1984 to a daughter of former Gov. Linwood Holton, a moderate Republican.

The church, for Kaine the Catholic, is an avenue to social justice - just as the courts are for Kaine the litigator and government is for Kaine the politician, though the last two are rarely mentioned as he pitches to a right-leaning statewide audience.

In 1990, Kaine helped draft for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond a 127-page tome, "Where Is Your Treasure?," on ways to reconcile the competing tugs of American affluence and Christian faith.

In it, Kaine wrote of a "people in covenant with God" and that the "moral priorities" of the nation must include "responsibilities for social living."

"We build a community by laying down our lives -- not for abstract principles, but for others," he said.

Perhaps providing a clue to the philosophy that guided his entry into politics, Kaine said Catholics have a "duty to establish minimum levels of participation in society so that poverty, marginalization and powerlessness can be overcome."

In Richmond, his Highland Park parish, St. Elizabeth's, is majority-black, transformed in the 1960s from a white working-class congregation with ethnic roots similar to Kaine's.

Though his forebears included a smattering of Episcopalians, Kaine is largely descended from Irish Catholics driven off their island during the Potato Famine of the mid-19th century.

Kaine's people migrated west to Kansas, some carving out farms on which they raised crops and livestock.

A window on the world beyond the Overland Park cul-de-sac on which the Kaines' colonial-style house stands was Al Kaine's iron-work shop, purchased when the family moved to Kansas from Minnesota.

There, Kaine and his two younger brothers watched others fashioning decorative gates, brackets for commercial use and ornamental tables of their parents' design that were sold through high-end mail-order catalogues.

But the brothers occasionally participated, packing finished goods for shipment or, as Kaine noted in an introductory television commercial this past spring, operating welding equipment.

Though he started his education in public school, it was at a Catholic preparatory school where Kaine flowered academically and first addressed the larger issues of life.

Rockhurst High School is run by the Jesuits, a male religious order with a commitment to intellectual rigor and social justice. The school's watchword: "Men for Others."

Kaine would become a National Merit Scholar, piling up enough Advanced-Placement courses to trim a year from his undergraduate career at the University of Missouri.

At Rockhurst, Kaine was in the debate club, where he began honing the rhetorical skills that would serve him well in court and in campaign debates.

During Kaine's sophomore year, the priests urged Rockhurst boys, who had a community service requirement, to raise money for a Jesuit mission in El Progreso, Honduras.

Kaine was selected to travel to the benighted village to deliver the contribution. The visit made an impression on the teenager, who would return about six years later -- Kaine was then a law student -- to teach carpentry and welding.

El Progreso, Kaine reminisced in a 1998 interview, "made me realize how blessed I was, and how I had an obligation to help others."

* * *

Kaine had the grades at Rockhurst to attend a marquee school but ended up at the University of Missouri because his parents were not prepared for the demands of college admissions, such as paperwork and deadlines.

Kaine went off to Mizzou, uncertain what to study or what do with a college degree. He considered journalism but opted for economics, swayed by a family friend who taught the subject at Missouri.

Kaine then gravitated toward law school. Armed with academic honors, he could reach for one of the nation's best: Harvard.

But Kaine spent only a year in Cambridge before returning to El Progreso. A yearlong stay there affirmed a core belief: People can make a difference in the lives of others, achieving contentment in the process.

Back at Harvard, where he also met a future high-tech millionaire-Democratic governor named Mark R. Warner, Kaine moved into the three-story house he shared with Charles Hirschhorn and several other guys. They remain close to this day, gathering annually at a farm in Scottsville.

A young Virginian with a Princeton degree - and an impressive political pedigree - had landed at Harvard Law during Kaine's journey back to Honduras.

Anne Holton, whose father had been Virginia's first Republican governor - he served from 1970 to 1974 - and a champion of racial reconciliation, had heard from mutual friends about the cute boy from Kansas with tousled hair.

She maneuvered her way into Kaine's study group.

Holton and Kaine were married on Nov. 24, 1984, at St. Elizabeth's Roman Catholic Church. Schmied, the celebrant, read from the Beatitudes of Jesus: "Blessed are the pure of heart."

The freshly married couple had decided to settle in Richmond to be close to Anne's family; to enjoy legal careers and scratch another itch - public service - without getting lost in the shuffle of a big city.

Holton, now a juvenile-court judge in Richmond, and Kaine first lived in an apartment near Union Theological Seminary and then moved to a house in another North Side neighborhood, Bellevue, before settling into a roomy brick home on Confederate Avenue whose mismatched furniture, displays of children's art and a matted yard signal to visitors it is the home of an active family.

The Kaines have three children: Nat, 15; Woody, 13, and Annella, 10, all of whom attend public school.

* * *

In Richmond, Kaine's law practice initially may have done more to feed his soul than fatten his bank account.

He handled two death-row cases as court-appointed counsel: Richard Lee Whitley, executed in 1987, and Lem Tuggle, put to death nine years later. Both were convicted in gruesome killings; Tuggle was among six condemned men who broke out of a supposedly escape-proof prison in 1984.

Kaine in 1988 took on for the American Civil Liberties Union - and won - a bias case filed by a black couple blocked from buying a house in Emporia after white neighbors complained.

A decade later, Kaine represented Housing Opportunities Made Equal, an advocacy group, in a lawsuit against Nationwide Insurance Co. alleging discrimination against black homeowners.

HOME won a $100 million judgment, but it was thrown out by the Virginia Supreme Court. Rather than risk another round of litigation, Nationwide and HOME later settled for $17.5 million, a third of which went to Kaine's growing law firm, whose members eventually included his father-in-law, the former governor.

Kaine vaulted from activist to officeholder in 1994, narrowly defeating for re-election Councilman Benjamin P.A. Warthen in a redrawn district with a strengthened black vote.

Four years later, Kaine became mayor, the first white to win the office with the support of the City Council's black majority.

Kaine recast the office. In addition to cheerleader, the mayor became a liaison to the corporate community.

He plucked from business a new city manager, Calvin Jamison, who was supposed to bring to the bureaucracy the ways of the boardroom. Years later, Jamison was depicted by critics as a symbol of municipal inefficiency.

With a strong economy, it was easy for Kaine rack up successes. On his watch, new schools were built and city and federal prosecutors forged a partnership to curb gun crime and cut a stubbornly high homicide rate.

Kaine's was a local government record on which he might vault to the statewide stage.

On his return from a West Coast visit with Harvard buddy Hirschhorn, Kaine plunged into the 2001 Democratic contest for lieutenant governor.

Defeating two veteran lawmakers for the nomination, Kaine went on to squeak by Del. Jay Katzen, R-Fauquier, in the general election.

The battle with Katzen was a harbinger of the campaign against Kilgore: Katzen, as Kilgore would this year, emphasized hot-button issues.

Katzen, however, overdid it. He suggested that Kaine was friendlier to gays than the Boy Scouts because the organization, with the sanction of the U.S. Supreme Court, is closed to homosexuals.

The incident infuriated Kaine, baring the quiet steeliness he displays when nettled.

"He is very controlled as far as temperament," said Lisa McMurray, Kaine's campaign manager in 2001 and his first chief of staff in the lieutenant governor's office. "But when he's angry, you can sense it on his person. It's an indignance. He wants to right an injustice."

Elected lieutenant governor on Mark Warner's coattails, Kaine used the part-time post to work full time toward his biggest political challenge: running for governor.

The Kaine effort hinges on representing himself as Warner's natural heir, a partner in a legacy that rests on a hard-fought but widely supported $1.4 billion tax increase for education, police and human services.

Kaine, characteristically stoical but cheerful, ambitious yet sensitive, began the race mindful of the state's Republican reflex, but confident of the power of his message.

"If Tim feels like it's a cause worth taking on," his father mused, "He won't look at the odds."

Timothy M. Kaine

Democratic candidate for governor

RESIDENCE: Richmond

BORN: Feb. 26, 1958, in St. Paul, Minn.

ELECTED OFFICE: Richmond City Council, 1994-98; Richmond mayor, 1998-2001; lieutenant governor, 2002-present.

PROFESSION: Lawyer

EDUCATION: University of Missouri, bachelor's degree, 1979; Harvard University, law degree, 1983

FAMILY: wife Anne Holton, children Nat, Woody and Annella

MONEY RAISED THROUGH SEPT. 30: $15,372,973

TOP CONTRIBUTORS: Democratic National Committee, $1.5 million; Sheila C. Johnson, The Plains, $404,490; B. Mark Fried, Crozet, $200,000

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