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.

Also see:

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Filed under: 2012 • Joe Manchin • John Raese • West Virginia
soundoff (371 Responses)
  1. PAv

    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.

    April 20, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  2. leo

    well mr. manchin you were real sure about obama in 2008! now he is sorry? and its because he is runing for re election. it took him all this 3 years to realized he had made a mistake. well sir! your a little bit to late with you trying to ask for forgiveness from the people you represent. im sure that the great people of west virginia also made the mistake of beleiving in you. they will do the wise decision of not re electin you because they too have sufferd alot during this awful 3yrs of your president administration. VIVA BUSH!

    April 20, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  3. Lone wolf

    He sounds like a Republican disqguised as a Democrat.

    April 20, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  4. batjones

    Democratic candidates would be wise to get behind, at the sides and in front of the President, and give him their support. President Obama and the EPA are cleaning up the mess that Governor Manchin left at the Aracoma Alma, Sago and Upper Big Branch mines. It was not Governor Manchin that secured a conviction of industrial homicide against a Massey security official. It is fine to be an independent voice, but Manchin has been mute and moot. Democrats need a Democratic candidate to run with President Obama. Let the primary begin.

    April 20, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  5. Tally

    Who needs enemies when you've got "friends" like this who stab you in the back? If only the Democratic party could get rid of every Congressperson who doesn't support the President. They've been the problem since day one. President Obama has miraculously accomplished amazing legislation in spite of record obstruction by Congress, whose main goal wasn't fixing the mess the GOP caused over the last 30 years, and serving America, but making Obama a "one-term President." Just think how much better off our economy would be if he'd actually had a congress that wanted to help the American people instead of gaining their own political power back.

    April 20, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  6. Republicans are Neanderthals

    A true DINO.

    April 20, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  7. sqeptiq

    Manchin is one of the reasons I no longer donate to the Democratic Senatorial campaign committee. I will save my money and send it to real Democrats.

    April 20, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  8. Gina

    I am from WV and this jack*** is out the next time he comes up for reelection. Do you think for one minute the republicans give a crap about WV ?- one of the poorest in the nation. If they vote for a repubican (i.e. etch a sketch Romney) they can kiss their *** good bye.

    April 20, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  9. Mary Contrary

    Manchin just put his foot in his mouth! Now he can put his tail between his legs and kiss his a$$ goodbye because he has openly decried he will not be voting for Obama. Manchin people are BIG MONEY PEOPLE, i.e., Romney followers and I would have expected no less from Manchin but he should have kept his opinion on this one to himself. NOW WE MUST FIND A GOOD DEMOCRAT TO GO UP AGAINST HIM and God forbid, not Rease, another BIG MONEY GUY.

    April 20, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  10. Mitch

    This piece of work from WV exemplifies the key problem with Dems... the weak ones will stab their own in the back. Well, the Repubs are not much better since the radicals in that group will eat their own and walk over the corpses of those that they once supported. 21st Century US Politics is not about unity and cooperation (or the bad word... compromise), it all about self and selfishness.

    April 20, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  11. tonede

    West Virginians hate anyone they perceive to be anti-coal, i.e., the EPA. Manchin has a thin line to walk with the coal miners. However,West Virginians may not love people that use government assistance, but they are not against using them themselves to a great degree!

    April 20, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  12. Balls McGhee

    he doesnt realize how much the dems gave him to win his election.

    April 20, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  13. vs101

    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

    April 20, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  14. A Southern Lady - North Carolina

    Senator Manchin has a right to his own opinion but the Democratic party needs to replace him with a person who undertands that a good and decent man sits in the White House and he should have support of those of his own party. Perhaps Manchin should run on the Republican ticket where he will have to defend the disgusting behavior of the Republicans who, instead to assisting the President in his attempt to restore the county after eight disasterous years of Bush/Cheney, publically stated they would not work with the president and would do everything to make him fail, fully knowing if the president fails, the country fails. And that is exactly what they did voting "no" on everything offered to help the country. Yes sir, The Republicans sure love America. The W.Va. Democrats should give Manchin to the Republicans wrapped in paper with a big red bow. My guess is - they don't want him!

    April 20, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  15. Jeetu

    Senator Manchin is not really a democrat. He is really a opportunacrat. He sees an opportunity to say things to get elected without thinking about what is good for WV and USA. He does not realize that becoming rich should come with responsibility of caring fort others more than just get elected to senate. Voting against a democract in the WH is going to show that like the republicans, he does not care for Americans but for himself and his rich friends.

    We do not want people like him as politicians in DC. Let us nominate some other person to be democractic senator candidate from WV.

    April 20, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  16. Frank Cardenas

    This is why I never give money to the Democratic Party only to candidates that I support because there are too many people like Manchin that I don't support.

    April 20, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  17. John

    Too much coal fumes

    April 20, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  18. i don't get it

    So when this senator runs for re election... I bet his commercials will tout how much he has done for his state... But now, when it comes to how his state is doing??? Well... "For the last 3 and a half years, it ain't been to good." So tell me senator.. is it not doing good because of what you failed to do? I guess you only take credit for the good. Two faced.

    April 20, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  19. Tony


    President Obama hasn't done anything that would warrant losing the support of Senator Manchin. Are his poll numbers so terrible that he is willing to make a deal with the devil (the GOP) to keep his job?

    I thought Senator Manchin was a man of honor, aparently I was wrong.

    April 20, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  20. BK

    Even if I like Obama and will (probably) vote for him, I wish that more people would be open to voting for either party rather than just voting a straight ticket for their own party with no regard to who they are voting for.

    April 20, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  21. Hangar13

    Calm down, boys and girls, this is just the usual election year fake right-run left ploy that most Democrats do. They're too smart to let the voters know where they really stand on the issues, and unfortunately, enough people are gullible enough to fall for it and we keep getting these fake centrists in office.

    April 20, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  22. M.K.

    If he is that stupid he does not need to be in the Senate. But, The senate is full of stupid people.

    April 20, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    The minute he said this, the DNC should have pulled all his funding for re-election. And they should pull funding for any Dem who doesn't get on board and support the party. The GOP is a joke, doing whatever it takes to protect the wealthy and make them even richer (they gladly throw the so-called "moral majority," which is neither the majority nor truly moral, under the bus as soon as that agenda interferes with making money for the wealthy) but they know how to close ranks and support even the dumb-*ss members of their party. The Dems need to follow the GOP in this. And if that means playing rough with their own members, then so be it. Still better to have a dem in power than a republican who thinks he has a right to thrust his own morality on the rest of us, especially an etch-a-sketch mimicking, magical underwear-wearing millionaire who's buying himself the presidency and has no idea what the average American faces.

    April 20, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  24. mlynn

    Hey Joe. Take a hike across the aisle. Won't be missed!

    April 20, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  25. bluestater

    There are fundamental beliefs that make us democrat's: Taking guns off the streets, freedom of choice, separation of church and state, healthcare for EVERYONE and that the rich need to pay more than the rest of us. -It's really that simple. I don't agree with everything about the democratic party but I believe in that. If you don't believe in those principles than you are NOT a democrat and we don't want you and we need to replace you. I feel sorry for my fellow democrats in WVA. The president should seize this and use it against him and as a rallying cry for the base.

    Obama 2012!!!

    April 20, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
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