Manchin may buck party in presidential vote
April 20th, 2012
11:29 AM ET
6 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. NJ-Bob49

    Why do Republicans hate America?

    April 20, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    Really, Manchin, you expected the result of 30 years of failed Republican economic policies, two unfunded wars, unfunded Medicare Part D, global economic collapse, and outsourcing of American manufacturing jobs to be fixed in just three years?

    Grow a pair and stand up to the West Virginia imbeciles who've got you quaking in your boots! You should know better – and if you aren't willing to stand up for that, then you don't deserve to be a Senator.

    Obama/Biden 2012: The choice for thinking adults.

    April 20, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. RightyTighty

    See, not all of the Democrats drank the Kool-Aid. Thank you GOD!

    April 20, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. VA VERY Ex Republican

    what is wrong with you people???? this is unbelievable. don't you guys think??? if not then make an effort. I am a conservative independent former GOP till 2009 who voted for Obama and will vote for him in 2012. my decision was based on what is best for the country and not for the party and it is the same today as it was back in 2008. can't you guys be honest with yourselves at least. I understand not being honest in public, but at least be honest with yourself in private. your loyalty should be to the country and not to the party. the past 3 yeas sent the USA 50 years back because of Tea Party and the party of NO just because they are angry over the fact the POTUS is a black man (I am white so CNN, please do not through in the trash) this the truth and the honest truth. if the Tea Party did not exist and the Party of NO was more bibartisan than just straight NO then we would have seen wonders and this man would have delivered a 100 times more than what he delivered already despite all the NO in his way. at least we regaind respect by the international community which most of you of course do not recognize.

    April 20, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    Joe will NOT be voted in again in WV He votes against women's rights, votes for subsidies for oil companies. Guess he's buttering his bread real thick with teabagger cash before he gets kicked out in November. But he'll be back - as a well paid lobbyist to destroy to the mountains in his state. What a loser.

    April 20, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  6. NJ-Bob49

    Manchin should be drummed out of the party. The Democrats have enough trouble with traitors. If Manchin wants to act like a Republican, he should just join the Republican Party instead of sullying the reputation of the Democratic Party.

    April 20, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. orion7x

    The Dems that buck Obama will loose their jobs just like the GOP. Just keep track of whos doing what. Vote and eliminate stupidity.

    April 20, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    There is a mafia group in Wheeling, WV that must have threatened him again. Wimp.

    April 20, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  9. John Herzog

    If you are concerned about the country, please consider this before you switch.............
    LAST 100 years (1912-2012
    Recessions began........12.........10 of those during GOP presidencies
    Stock Market Ave Annual return (Dow) During GOP presidencies 1.3% during Demo Presidencies 14.4% (1000% better)
    This long term disparity in results is so large that the question should be "Why would anyone (red or blue) ever again consider voting for a GOP presidency?

    April 20, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. Matt Mattson

    Will you be better off blaming Bush for 4 more years of Obama decline?

    April 20, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  11. Gary Owen 2/7

    Stupid is as stupid does.

    April 20, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. Jim

    This guy needs a real democratic challenger badly. He's like the bully of the school that worked his way up into politics with his gun collection.

    April 20, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. Sue

    Remember when it was exposed--AFTER Obama had already won the Democratic nomination......That Obama said..........

    "I will not close down the coal industry. I will just make it so expensive for them to do business, that they will not have a choice but to close down on their own".

    You can GUARANTEE that the coal producing states/voters remember Obama saying this!!

    Also, FYI.........This is also what Romney needs to remind EVERY voter of in EVERY state..........When Obama took office, gas was $1.79/gallon!!!

    April 20, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  14. fbysea

    Sen. Manchin should show some decency and switch to the Republican Party. You can't have it both ways.

    April 20, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  15. Flipper Rmoney Failure Ahead

    Nice racism there, shut_up. Your GOBP masters will be quite happy their racists groupies are still on board even as their crazy train goes off the rails. And, BTW, comparing what happened to a young child (and probably not all that voluntarily) with the free will choice an supposedly "adult" Rmoney made to abuse a family pet are two quite different things, and what Rmoney did is far worse from that perspective.

    April 20, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    What a piece of work you are.
    Funny, we think the same about you and your cohorts every day.
    There you go again, Tom. I just don't understand you. I call a poster out for considering it "fun" to "sit back and watch the destruction of our country", and you have a problem with ME? That's kind of mixed up, don't you think?
    Since Tom correctly used the word "we" in his retort to you I'll respond. We do consider you and your cohorts a piece of work based on spins, lies, half-truths and ALWAYS negative comments that you seem to relish shamelessly, and consitently posting on this site day in and day out.
    We have a problem with people like you that seem to be so willfully partisan that they can't ever understand or accept clear and concise arguments AND facts that disprove your point of view. I don't agree with everything this President has done, but you on the other hand won't give him credit for ANYTHING. There's nothing mixed up about how we feel. What's really "mixed-up" is that you think it is "mixed-up".
    You remind me of Romney in some ways: you have a people disconnect.

    April 20, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  17. Peggy -TX

    Mensaman, You are so obviously just making things up … President Obama is not unraveling at all, rather he is looking presidential. Because he is not a fake like Romney, he will hold up well over the next few month on the campaign trail. I do not believe you that you would like Hillary, if you had any respect for her at all you would refer to her as Secretary Hillary Clinton, rather then just her first name which is demeaning given her position. I know you would like to believe all your hard work to diminish the President these past few years actually worked, but it has not and the President is not a failure, nor is he perceived as a failure by the American people. Rather, the facts are that he has performed heroically in spite of the effort by the GOP to stall the economy and block all new legislation. So what, if we have a on DINO in WV, better a DINO then a Republfascist.

    April 20, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. alleygator

    Breaking News! Hold the presses! A southern white boy might not vote for Obama!

    April 20, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. Frank

    I understand he is really conflicted as being a Democrat along with our weak President. Its scares us too.

    April 20, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    Fair, we ALL take potshots at each other. I've seen you get off any number of broadsides that are blatantly unfair and/or untruthful, letting your ideology get in the way of you seeing whatever vaild points people have to make. Don't play a victim when you've been guilty of the same thing. Yes, I do it frequently as well.

    April 20, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  21. Big George in Big D

    @VA VERY Ex Republican – not very bright person are you?

    April 20, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  22. Guest

    Is there *anything* these clowns won't do to stay in office? Want to really do something that might help? Vote for a 3rd party candidate. Or better yet, work to pass some electoral reforms that might help one while you're still in office.

    April 20, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. DDTM

    "No, I'm just pointing out what the republicans have been doing for three plus years! That is, doing everything within their means to undermine this administration and see to it that President Obama and America fail!"

    You don't think I get upset with how BOTH parties operate? It isn't just the party of "NO" as some call it. Let me explain, the Senate comes up with a bill that they know won't get past the House. The House comes up with a bill that they know won't pass the Senate, and then they both blame each other. There are good ideas on both sides of the aisle, they just need to sit down together and hammer it out, quit acting like little kids. But that too is tough when they can look on message boards and see everyone there acting like kids, calling names, etc. We need to become Americans again, one for all and all for one.
    I for one believe that if millionaires want to pay more taxes, so be it. I know it won't pay down the debt nor will it help balance a budget but it is a start, so I am going against the grain with my beliefs of lower taxes. I do believe however that 3rd generation welfare recipients need a plan to get on their feet. I do believe that illegal immigrants are a drain on our society and something needs to be done besides suing states that try to do a job the Feds should be doing. And no, being Republican, I am not in favor of fighting wars all over the world either so I guess I am more of a moderate.

    As far as voting for Obama, nope. He has done more to divide this country and it isn't because he is black either. As far as that goes, he is half white so hard to figure all the racism talk.

    April 20, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. The Real Tom Paine

    -Big George in Big D

    @VA VERY Ex Republican – not very bright person are you?
    You certainly are not: another example of a conservative projecting. Do we need to explain that to you?

    April 20, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. VA VERY Ex Republican


    You are so full of it. Gas never ever was at $1.79 during Bush days unless you were living in lala land. gas did hit as high as $4.39 during the last 4 years of Bush's days for 2-3 months a year. in fact gas was as high as $4:31 during April and May of 2008 so where did you come up with this $1.79 BS?????????? ENOUGH

    April 20, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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