(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.
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
"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.
Romney releases March fundraising figures
Paul campaign touts campaign cash
RNC looks to Facebook for political edge
Biden says Democrats have chance in Arizona
I think Manchin is worried about self preservation. Obama on top of the ticket has the potential to take out a lot of Democrats in this election .
based on some of his previous decisions, why the hell dont he change parties and join the GOP....we will be just fine without the redneck...
Let's not lie. You're no democrate and stop your bs because it's written all over your far right wing face.
Not thinking Mitty is going to "save" his day, unless he makes over $1,000,000. No doubt he makes over $1,000,000. Phoney. Liar.
He can join forces with Nugent. Two clowns who support people who will bring down our economy again like little Bushie.
It was your fellow Conservatives that brought us the Recession, and it started 13 months before Obama took office!
You do not cut taxes for the wealthy and increase spending (two wars – unfunded).
You and your friends in WV are the cause of our great Recession!..
What else would you expect from a blue dog democrat. they are nothing but republicans that could not win their election running as a republican.
The muchnkin has to go. We don't need a card carrying republicon pretending to be a Democrat. Even a self respecting replbicon won't vote for a token house .
Oh yeah, the GOP is really looking out for those in WV as most are socio-economically disadvantaged..... NOT! You may not like everything that Obama has done in office, but think of the alternative – you're still much better off. Get off your political posing high horse and support what's right for your people; which is clearly Obama – that is unless you want to throw away your vote altogether and vote for a possible Independent; which in essence is a vote for the other party.
If there is something that he supports about the Democratic Party, I have yet to see it. I think that it's just a case of the West Virginia hillbillies failure to get the word that, since the Democratic Party championed civil rights, it's acceptable to be in the party of Lincoln.
Oh, what to do? Support Raese and look stupid or support Manchin and confirm it.
This just proves the Democratic party isn't devoid of idiots. I know we pride ourselves on being able to think for ourselves instead of being led around by the nose by the likes of Limbaugh and Turdblossom Rove. but most of us have the good sense to know better than to think the party that got us into the mess we're in now can't get us out of it. he should have been paying attention when the rethugs did everything they could to thwart the economic recovery so they could point to Obama and scream 'failure.' sounds like he should just switch parties if he's that enamored of the enemy.
Manchin CANNOT be blamed by Democrats.
Obama is a total and complete BOOB who HATES coal.
Senator Manchin, please join the campaign to DRAFT HILLARY NOW.
It won't be any worse if Mr. Manchin lost to a Republican in his next election, since Mr. Manchin thinks and acts and votes like a Republican .. and at least the Republican is honest in who he is!
People don't like wimps...
...you either stand for what you believe in, or you'll just be another Romney blowing in the wind...
Sounds like everyone in WV is a right wing nutter. If Manchin is the best representation of a democrat that can be expected in WV then it is pointless for there to be a democratic party in that state. States like WV, Texas, SC, Alabama, etc., is more akin to Afghanistan than a modern society. They enjoy living like serfs grovelling for crumbs from their lords, the very few filthy rich "job creators". They deserve what they get.
This guy is a DINO (democrat in name only). Note to him-if you can't support you party's positions, then leave the party and go to the other side. You won't be missed.
What game is Mr. Manchin playing? He is like a child who says i won't play with you unless.................................I do believe he should be more mature in his outlook now. He is an adult and should act like one.
Once he is in the voting booth he will vote for a candidate. Bet he says he voted for the winner.
Manchin owes nothing to either the democrats or the president. The "people" voted him into office first as governor, then as their senator. He owes his allegiance only to the USA and to the people of WV.
The real difference I see in the parties is this: Democrats believe democracy comes from many voices speaking different things. Republicans believe democracy comes from everyone speaking the exact same thing, with no exceptions.
I think the republican party has seriously lost its way...
And he thinks W Virginia will do better under Romney??? Who is he kiddin?
thats right the smart ones are jumping ship not wanting to be anywhere around obamas ship when it sinks!!!
@ Woman in California.... Yeah, I take my cues from cab drivers here in Washington State that listen to the likes of MSNBC goons. I hang the moon on Ed Shultz and LAWRENCE O'donnell. Quality reporting!
Nice. Obama inherits the worst financial catastrophe since the Great Depression; a catastrophe in the making ever since Ronald Reagan convinced millions in the middle class and below that the way to a better life was to give their money to the rich and throw out rules in the financial sector. Boy, do I have a bridge to sell those people! By any measure, this is a catastrophe that will take years to recover from. But everything Obama has done has worked. Republicans, who love to say how slow this recovery has been, are the ones who did all they could to stand in the way of everything Obama wanted to do to fix it. And now they want to blame Obama for the slow recovery and convince the rest of us that the way out is more of what pushed us over the cliff in the first place! And there is a large portion of the population that is buying that baloney. Fortunately, it is not the majority, but it is scary to have all these nuts so close to power.
@Va very Ex Republican....Wow! You're the MAN !!!