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. Christopher

    Joe Manchin is about as much of a Republican as Mitch McConnell.

    April 20, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. VA VERY Ex Republican

    @BigGeorge in Big D

    I can guarantee you that I am 1000 times smarter and brighter than you will ever be. I hold 2 degrees and I run 3 successful startups thank God (Thats an honest truth and no BS). I guess that makes me way smarter than you will ever be.

    April 20, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. CBR

    Senator Manchin seems to be playing a game here. It certainly is not necessary to tell anyone how he will vote unless he is hoping for favors and special treatment. He won his election because he received assistance from the party.

    If he has issues he can speak directly to the President. He can vote any way he chooses. It was not necessary to tell us how will vote. That is a personal decision best left to himself.

    April 20, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. Tyrone

    I am jumping ship & I wish Bishop Romney the Whitehouse, & I Like his slogan of EVERYTHING SUCKS & EVERYTHING BLOWS, its real catchy.

    April 20, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    VA VERY Ex Republican - I can guarantee you that I am 1000 times smarter and brighter than you will ever be. I hold 2 degrees and I run 3 successful startups thank God (Thats an honest truth and no BS). I guess that makes me way smarter than you will ever be.
    egads... chill out! two lemonade stands and running dope out of your parents basement hardly qualify as startups!

    April 20, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    @ DDTM:
    As far as that goes, he is half white so hard to figure all the racism talk.
    DDTM I read yiour entire post, and I agree with many of the points you made by the way. I too believe that illegal immigaration is a drain on ANY society,but I don't single out Hispanics as the only illegal immigrants. I also believe like you that welfare recepients need a plan to be able to get off public asistance, and I don't just mean #rd generation welfare recepients. You have to understand, though, that the stereotype surrounding those on welfare is just that: a stereotype. It is demeaning to be on public assistance to most people, unfortunately it is sometimes the only option people have based on how the program has been conceived. We can do better there.
    But to address your quote above let me just say by way of clarification that if Barack walked into ANY place/business/establishment in the South up and until the late '60's he would be treated as a Black man. This is why there is racism from some folks in regards to him because at first sight what you and everyone else that looks at him sees is a BLACK MAN, and a lot of people that CHOOSE not to know better treat him as they would any other Black man. President or not. Fact.

    April 20, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    Spell check on myself: RECIPIENTS. RECIPIENTS. My goodness, pardon me!!

    April 20, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  8. Rosslaw

    Definitely cannot afford to risk the meth-addled hillbilly vote.

    April 20, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. ja

    voting is a private matter

    April 20, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. DDTM

    @ Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)
    Oh I understand about racism, I live it every day, and I am white. When you can have All Indian rodeos, imagine if you called one an All White Rodeo. There were all white colleges in the past but those have changed but I understand your statement about the south and the 60's, remember that quite well. Time has changed many but others still hold on to their ancestory, or their mentality.

    I worked for 23 years dealing with welfare needy people, so I totally understand that way of life. I watched how the grandparents, then their children and then their grandchildren all worked the same, hence my 3rd generation statement. You see though, you want to vote for Obama, me, still not so sure, see what else comes up. But, we have thoughts and ideals that are similiar, and we can get along, why can't our elected officials? How can we change so everyone can at least be happy some of the time.

    April 20, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. bosfaninva

    If the Repubs take the Senate, watch this inbred goober switch parties.

    April 20, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "I wish the Democrats had another candidate besides Obama. Hillary would win in a walk. Manchin is a good man but he's kind of a DINO. We all remember him when he was Governor during the mining collapse.
    Obama seems to be unraveling and I doubt he can sustain electability given all the failures. You wonder if he's just riding the rollercoaster."

    Sigh. When will people learn that concern trolling is obvious?

    April 20, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. Michael

    What a coward! This is pandering to the right in his state. This guy needs to run as an independent or a Republican if he is not going to stand by his party. I imagine he wouldn't like it much if other democrats in the state publicly decided not to support him because they were afraid of losing their job!

    April 20, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  14. Bridget

    Yup – gotta make the racist in his state happy.

    April 20, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)
    @The Real Tom Paine

    RE previous comment: works for me, too!

    April 20, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. Tim

    Given the state of our nation why would anybody vote for Obama. He has divided the nation. Lacks the leadershp skills to get things done in Washington, See Clinton for leadership skills. He has tripled our debt and wants to spend more. He never accepts responsibility just points fingers and lectures. He wasted precious time while historic amounts of Americans were unemployed and bribed his own party to pass OBamacare admittedly before anyone read the bill which now might be thrown out by the Supreme Court. Obama was not the hope and change that I believed in, I do not love Romney but he will not be worse than big government Obama.

    April 20, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. HUNTER

    Manchin needs to go to the dark side and become a Republican.

    April 20, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  18. Jim Klimaski

    Manchin wants to be re-elected. He thinks going the way of a coward is the best way to do it. Sen. Byrd must be turning over in his grave. Manchin should be trying to help out the people of West Virginia and not the money interests. They have enough help already. The Keystone pipeline isn't being designed to reach to the Gulf for nothing. That oil will be shipped out of this Country for the profits of the oil companies and not for our benefit..

    April 20, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  19. CS Madison

    Have to say I'm a pretty much a democrat, although I did vote RR in the 80s. I am also not sure I'm voting for Obama in Nov. He just hasn't done much but capitulate to the conservative wing of the republican party. If the Rep'ns had put up someone more appealing than the Mitt-bot I would have gone R again. Now I'm hoping a decent 3rd party candidate, a la Ross Perot, will get in the race this summer.

    April 20, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  20. Sue

    VA VERY Ex Republican:

    Hahahahahahahaha...........Gas prices under Bush went up to $4/gallon "maybe" for 4 months under Bush (if even that long)----NOT for 4 years like under Obama!!

    Go do the research on this........Because I am quite sure that Romney's Adminstration has already researched this, and will be exposing this information in ALL of the swing states, so that voters are reminded and made aware..........

    When Obama took office, gas was $1.79/gallon...........Gas has gone up OVER 100%, since Obama took office.

    April 20, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  21. yneemee

    Is the democrakic monolith around Obama about to break ? .... doubtful but good to see at least one Senator is not AFRAID to vote intelligently.... for a change

    April 20, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  22. Larry L

    DINOs get no dollars from the Democratic Party! If we wanted hateful bigots we'd vote for a Republican.

    April 20, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  23. hiruu

    I can assure you that Obama is going to be taking SERIOUS stock of who's who, when he is re-elected. It will be very brutal for those invovled who have continue to undermine what he's been trying to get accomplished.

    April 20, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. ron

    This senator has always been an Obama hater. He's from WV. The only blacks they like up there are on college sports teams! We'll see how well things go for those poor folks if willard romney wins the election in the fall. Willard is very, very concerned about the people up there.

    April 20, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. rlr1

    That is his right as an American Citizen to vote for or not to even vote for a certain office. But his duty as a Democratic elected legisulator is NOT to publically denounce the others on your ticket, especially the head of your ticket. As far as voting against the leader of his party he is expected to vote what those who elect him wish or what is BEST for the United States of America, but his duty is also NOT to become a lightening rod for those who would attack the head of his ticket, which is exactly what the republicons will do. If he has a beef, he should know enough to do so in private.

    April 20, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
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