Manchin may buck party in presidential vote
April 20th, 2012
11:29 AM ET
3 years ago

Manchin may buck party in presidential vote

(CNN) – As a Democrat in conservative West Virginia, Sen. Joe Manchin has sought to make his independence clear.

And that independence might just extend all the way to the November voting booth, as the senator – who is up for re-election - said in a report published Thursday that he might not cast a ballot for the top name on his party's ticket, President Barack Obama.

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"Right now in West Virginia, these first three and a half years haven't been that good to West Virginia," he said of the Obama presidency this week, according to a report in the National Journal. "So, then you look [at] what the options will be, who will be on the other end."

Manchin expressed reservations about GOP candidate Mitt Romney, and said he would base his eventual decision on what is best for his constituents, who look at "the performance and the result that's been attained."

In a statement to CNN, Manchin said his comments were nothing new.

"I have some real differences with both Governor Romney and the President, as I have said many times," he said in the statement. "I think there are many West Virginians like me who have deep concerns about Governor Romney understanding the challenges ordinary people face. And there are many West Virginians who believe that he's out of touch, especially because of his plan to end Medicare as we know it and privatize Social Security."

His differences with Obama include energy policy and "the need to get our financial house in order."

The former West Virginia governor is known for bucking not only the opposition party, but his own – even literally shooting a rifle through a Democratic-backed cap and trade bill in his 2010 Senate campaign.

That race was a special election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Robert Byrd, and Manchin's support from Republicans and Independents was key to his 11-point defeat of former state GOP chair John Raese.

Manchin was one of about a dozen Democrats to side in a March vote with Republicans on the Keystone XL pipeline. He voted against both parties' bills to raise the federal government's debt ceiling in the heated showdown last summer.

He was also one of about a dozen Democrats to vote against their party in the March Senate vote on the Keystone XL pipeline, which Obama was no fan of.

But national Republicans point out that when Obama first ran for the White House in 2008, Manchin was a supporter of the then-senator from Illinois. They say that Manchin started becoming more vocal in his opposition to the administration only after he decided to run for the Senate in 2010.

"No amount of election-year rhetoric from Senator Manchin will cause voters in West Virginia to forget that three years ago he unabashedly supported President Obama, while predicting great things for West Virginia under his Administration. Instead of trying to put distance between he and the President as they both face re-election, Senator Manchin should be more focused on a simple, three word message to his constituents – 'I am sorry,'" National Republican Senatorial Campaign Communications Director Brian Walsh told CNN.

Manchin said that regardless of ideology, "I strongly believe that every American should always be rooting for our President to do well, no matter which political party that he or she might belong to."

He was formerly the two-term governor of the state, and is again running against Raese. Two of the top non-partisan political handicappers, the Cook Political Report and the Rothenberg Political Report, say that as of now, the seat is likely to stay in Democratic hands.

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Filed under: 2012 • Joe Manchin • John Raese • West Virginia
soundoff (371 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Roese might have been a better pick for WV, and he was a Florida wingnut.

    April 20, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. Laverne

    If he thinks that will get him re-elected as a democrat, then he is looking at this last term so it really does not make any difference one way or the other. I have never seen so many spineless democrats in all my life and Manchin has been like a scared chicken shit ever since he has made it to Washington. I am so tired of these so call democrats who are more concerned at pleasing the republicans. I can tell you this Mr. Manchin, if you think you will be re-elected without the democrats, you are seriously mistaken and are just plain STUPID!

    April 20, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. king

    Well I guest you'll just have to go the way of those blue dog Democrats in the last election Mr manchin. Its crazy how as the repubs are being pulled to the right by the lunatics in their party, this dummy is thinking that the new drawn middle by the repubs, is the middle which is clear to the right, not even him will vote demaceat. Well take your crap to the repubs party then Mr manchin. The dens will still fight for the average man, and fight against corporate take over of our democracy, well do with you or without you!!!

    April 20, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  4. WiredweirdinSF

    An verty rare type, actually an old type reflecting the common sense that the Democratic Party used to have before it devolved in to the corrupt democrat liberal party it is now.

    April 20, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  5. The REAL Truth.. (not the imposter)

    Looks like Manchin is hedging his bets here. Of course "these first three and a half years haven't been that good to West Virginia,"!! They haven't been great for the whole country. You can't pull out of a recession in 3 or 4 yrs. It took EIGHT to get out of the last one, so we need more time. Obama's policies are working – albeit slowly. His only failure was the expectation that the GOP would ACTUALLY WORK with him, and not AGAINST him at every turn. They have obstructed EVERYTHING put forth by Obama – even when it was GOP legislation.
    We might of had a faster economic recovery had the GOP's goal been to actually work for the betterment of the USA, and not the single goal of making Obama a one-term president. That objective has overshadowed every opportunity to make things better for folks in West VA and elsewhere. Now they think they have an opportunity to return to the standard GOP SOP – which is HUGE DEFICIT increases ($1.3T under Dubya's fastest, largest increase – 104% – in 30 yrs, and $1.4T proposed by Ryan plan), MORE Govt (53,000 new employees under Dubya, 238,000 under Reagan). The last Obama budget was $850B Deficit (a REDUCTION of $400B over Bush) and they have REDUCED govt employes by 273,000 over the last 3.5 yrs. So where are the failed policies that the right is lambasting. Seems to be working.

    We conveniently suffer from a peculiar form of amnesia in this country...

    April 20, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. mario

    wow with friends like that,,, anyway this guy is not a dem,,, he hide who he was really

    April 20, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  7. JoeTheFlipFlopper

    Manchin is a gutless weather vane, blowing in whatever direction is good for his own skin.

    April 20, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. Kenny K

    As for XL Pipeline, what will happen if the pipeline is approved and the next Canadian administration decides to divert the direction of their resources? The pipeline will just be a conduit in USA; the USA will not have control over the ownership of the product that pass through it.

    April 20, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. GI Joe

    He's one vote. How many republicans in WV will for for him? NONE

    April 20, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. SUBS 4 VOTES/Dutch Bad Newz, VA/GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    Manchin is a DINO. He sides with republicans on most issues. ATTENTION: There is no room in the democrat party for moderates/Blue Dog democrats. That's precisely what's wrong with the party. The democrats are always moving their positions towards the right rather than standing firm to their beliefs. That's Grover Norquist's philosophy. Make your positions so far to the right that when it is time to compromise, the democrats will be on the right side of the issue rather than it being a center left position. We need strong willed progressives who will not budge.

    April 20, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. Larry L

    This is just a self-serving weasel trying to get re-elected in a red state. Democrats continue to fight for the working folks and Republicans will support only the fat-cats. Republicans will use hot-button social issues to get votes from the poor and middle class of West Virginia, but those issues won't cost them anything. President Obama inherited the failed economy and has brought it back to the road to recovery – no thanks to the Republicans who've done nothing to help. The people of West Virginia need to step back away from Fox News and think for themselves.

    April 20, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. DRod

    What good is keeping the seat in Democratic hands if the seat keeps voting against you. It may be time to remove the occupant of the seat and vote for someone that's actually a Democrat and not a DINO (Democrat in name only).

    April 20, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  13. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    well why doesn't this DINO just become a Republican? Or do what Libermann did and become independent? I agree we all have the right to choose but he need not be a member of a party where he doesn't support it's leader.

    April 20, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. judy

    i guess this guy needs so publicity. Obama 2012

    April 20, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. thomas

    Wimp , go out there and be a man , WV waits for the return of the G Bush years .

    Vote for Romney WV , five sons all avoided military service , true patriots !

    April 20, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. Sniffit

    Who cares? Everyone knows that when any of these guys from either party starts blabbering about "what's best for my constituents" it can be translated quite neatly to "I'm afraid to do what I think is right and will instead wait for the polling to tell me what is safest for holding onto my seat."

    April 20, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  17. Bean

    He is up for re-election and when thats over with he will go back to voting party line. Give me a break.

    April 20, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  18. sonny chapman

    The Golden Rule of Politics: Take care of No. 1. The Golden Rule of Jesus: Do unto others as you would have done unto you.Matthew 7,12.

    April 20, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. MNTaxpayeros

    My first reaction is to admire him for having the courage to vote for who ever he belives in, regardless of party. And then I remember that he's a politician and they seldom do anything unless it advances them politically. If he isn't doing it for political gain, why make his choice public? He could vote for Romney or against President Obama without making a public pronouncement.

    April 20, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. Fair is Fair

    A democrat with a brain. Take a picture... it will last longer.

    April 20, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  21. Truth001

    When the new route was brought on Tuesday I realized how corrupt the congress and senate really are. Obama was telling the truth about getting the proper route before agreeing but they pushed for it anyway. What a bunch of obstructionist and yet no one's talking about it.

    April 20, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  22. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Besides stopping the Bush republican near depression, adding 4 million jobs with 25 months of consecutive job growth, eliminating bin Ladin and most of a Qaeda. bringing our troops home from the unfunded war in Iraq, saving the American auto industry, giving 15 million uninsured health insurance, (ACA has not even kicked in yet), and presenting a budget with a deficit $600 billion less than Bush's last budget, what has the president done for us lately?

    April 20, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Why would the people of WV would want to vote for a political candidate who would allow more deregulation of the coal industry is puzzling?

    April 20, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. Fair is Fair

    "ATTENTION: There is no room in the democrat party for moderates/Blue Dog democrats."
    -------
    Really? Wow, that's going to piss off a lot of centrist democrats and independents. I hope you're right. Spoken like a true "big tent" democrat.

    April 20, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. Luke Brown

    Robert Byrd is rolling over in his grave. This guy is a pussy. He wouldn't be in the Senate if it weren't for the Democratic Party. He wouldn't hold a position on any major committees or be chairman of any subcommittees.

    Most of the people who voted to elect him governor and senator also voted for the President. Joe, don't kid yourself. The republicans are not going to like you any better because you vote for Mittens. They don't even like him. Trust me, they are going to run a very strong, well-financed candidate against you next time you are up.

    People in West Virginia believe you should dance with the one that brought you to the party... and they rarely reelect weasels.

    April 20, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
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