(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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This guy will end up voting for Obama in the general election. Lets be honest, Manchin can't afford to make enemies of his own party by voting against the democrats keeping the white house. If this guy votes against the democratic party in Nov. I'm sure he knows they'll sink every dollar they can raise to run another democrat against him or, they would go out of their way to make sure he lost to a republican.
There are so many poor people in West Virginia yet so many vote Republican who then vote to cut back mine safety regulations and pursue other economic policies that hurt people in that state. Go figure.
@The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth:
I always knew that you are stupid, but did not expect you to be that stupid. and since you are stupid then there is no point responding to you. I now know by your response that you are a white male between the age of 18-24 unemployed and living at home with his parents. therefore, as of today I will never pay any attention to any comment you post since again there is no point in responding to a chronic stupidity syndrom and you are the syndrom itself.
Is he gonna sign Robmey's pledge? You'll be ordered to sign a pledge to buy food if you vote or Robmey. That's the way they did it in Germany in the late 1930's. Beware – they march in wearing the cross and carrying a flag, and carrying a MORMON bible – they baptised Hitler to make him one of their own. Look it up.
Hope you're not hoping for alot of DNC money next go round, Joey.
West Virginia cannot afford another four years of blight from this President. We will be seeing a lot of Democrats running from Obama's weak record.
@ The Real Tom Paine
your response is confusing. I am not sure whether you are responding to me or to the idiot BigD because I am not sure where do you see projections in my comments. anyhow, if you were responding to me then you are right. Do you know why I say you are right?? because stupid people always think of smarter people like myself and the rest of us that use their brains as unbright dumb no cool people. do you know why they think this way???? because they are STUPID like your good self.
He already lost half of WV when he sided with the republicans against women's rights. Buh bye traitor. Run as a republican and see what it gets you.
good for you Manchin – it's about time a democrat breaks ranks and acknowledges that this president is back for our country and our economy.
Wait til the miners finish with him. ha ha ah ha ha ha ha
Republicans always complain about RINO's but we liberals have been heavily burdened by these southern "democrats" who like Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln are useless and can't be counted on to cast a vote to benefit the middle class. He can vote for anyone he wants to but to publicly come out with this type of message is really disgusting.
Maybe he just doesn't want to be on Obama's sinking ship. Face it, Obama has done nothing but turn Americans against Americans. There is more racial tension than ever and more people not only unemployed, but more people than I can ever remember in my life time including the Carter years where there is pure hopelessness. Government waste is worse than ever and more and more adults have been turned into dependent children than I have ever seen. This change we voted for is a complete farce. We made an awful mistake voting for this man and have the entire media especially CNN to blame for our demise. But, not again. I will either not vote for president or hold my nose and vote for Romney but I can assure you I will never vote for Obama again. He has to go away. Face it folks, he is a horrible president.
Manchin has almost always voted with the Republicans. He is a traitor to his Party and should be voted out.
As an elected American politician, your DUTY (RLR1) is to do what is best for America, based on all you can learn and understand. Obama has no experience as a leader, and he has not pulled out bacon out of the fire. ALL Dems should have been considering a change, and had their own primaries with a viable alternative. We're in one of America's darkest hours, and anyone casting a ballot based solely on party affiliation should be ashamed of themselves.
Does this West Virginia hillbilly long for the time that he wants to become a recognized tea party republican? Go ahead and get it done–most of us don't care who you vote for in the presidential elections. You too are now positioned to accept your taxpayer provided government check and whine along with Christie about those sitting on the couch waiting for their hand-outs.
I truly enjoyed our "exchange". We don't have to agree on everything or much of anything but I truly appreciated the way we were both able to find at least some commonality> And you're right, why can't those in government do the same. I remember that it was less than 4 years ago that they were able to do so (wink!).
@ Lynda/Minnesota: I try to ignore Air is Air most times but Lawd have mercy she's a piece of work! LOL!
Well, then let's get this guy out of office. If he doesn't support the party then he's against it.
The fact is that one's vote is private. He walks into the voting booth and no one knows who he votes for. That's how it should be. That said, he comes from WV, and has been said, it is not a friend to Pres. Obama. So I don't blame him for not being a cheerleader for the Admin. But I don't like the way he votes. That's because I'm a progressive. Bernie Sanders often votes agains the President too, but I like his votes.
That is of course his choice. Mine, as an Independent since 1976 and now registered in West Virginia, is now to vote not only for Obama, but against Manchin. When you don't have a brain, you should not be entrusted with leadership. I will risk that his opponent is as silly as he is, at least I don't know that yet.
Who cares he is an idiot and he has voted against most democratic issues anyway! So what is the loss. He has always hated the President. When he comes up for re-election the democrats need to join forces to get him out. He is nothing more than a wolf in sheeps skin...
I've never been impressed with Manchin – not as Governor of WV or as a senator. He has always struck me as having no guts – meaning no moral courage – blows with the wind
Mitt Romney is clearly paying this guy off...that's what $190M (reported, not actual due to hidden accounts) will buy you.
I'm a democrat from WV and guess What, my husband and myself will probably not vote for Manchin who is a democrat in name only.
frankly he should have kept his mouth shut ,i think the wv dems should not waste one dime on his reelection.
I blame Obama, Steve Jobs and Merton Hanks for all this countries problems.