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. Lynda/Minnesota

    I'd hold my cards closer to my vest if I were Manchin. Worst scenario for Manchin (and no doubt WVA as well) would be a Mitt Romney presidency and Mitt's already got himself a sky high pay-back list of flip-floppers endorsing him.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    April 20, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. LR Bryan

    The 'REAL TRUTH' is that deficits will total over 4 trillion for the first (and hopefully only) Obama term.
    The comments above are perfect examples of liberals ideas on bi-partisanship. You hammer Repubs that stand their ground and hammer one of the few Dems that actually tries to work with those across the aisle and compromise.
    The real truth is that Manchin couldn't get 25% of the vote in WV running strictly on the President's platform.

    April 20, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. Mark

    I feel slimy just listening to these politicians pervert any kind of truth. MNTaxpayeros has a good point and that why does Manchin have to announce to everyone what he is doing if it is the right thing to do. As a lot of mothers often say, character is doing the right thing when no one is looking.

    April 20, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Louise

    Who cares!!

    April 20, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. Eddie The Barber

    If this guy wants to act like and independent then he should run as one. If he wants to act like a republican then he should come out of the closet and run as one. We don't need ow want democrats in republican's clothing.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    April 20, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. eric

    I wonder how many of you are from WV. The real suprise is that Manchin is still a dem. He goverened as a conservative and leans to the right more then some republicans.

    April 20, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. Marie MD

    I am terribly disappointed. I thought Mancini had the cojones to stand on for what believes and I am pretty sure is NOT the millionaire in the WH!!!

    April 20, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    He's a shill for the Koch Brothers. Pollution and destruction of his state. All but the elderly are moving out of the state. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    April 20, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. Vibrato Yodeler

    I used to respect Mancin,.. but looks like he's just another, slimy. flip-floppin, back stabbing, opportunist politician.

    April 20, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  10. JDinTexas

    If you wonder why West Virginia isn't doing so well, why don't you look at who served two terms as Governor of the state.....oh, that would be you.

    April 20, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |

    @ Fair....Really? Wow, that's going to piss off a lot of centrist democrats and independents. I hope you're right. Spoken like a true "big tent" democrat.
    Take it how you want. I'm not a fan of a "big tent" party. I'm a fan of a party that stands by their convictions. That being said, you would think I'm a republican. As much as I despise republicans, I do admire how they don't budge. If only we had politicians in the democrat party that were the same way. I keep hearing the notion from these republican pundits that the country is center right. I beg to differ. The country is more center left.

    April 20, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |

    Arlen Specter reincarnate.

    April 20, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    To all of you who say Romney has laid out his plans. He has.

    The Romney Plan for Economic Growth
    "Let Detroit go bankrupt."
    "The housing market needs to bottom out so that investors ..."
    "I would get rid of Planned Parenthood."

    There's lots more. All you have to do is listen and splice them together.

    April 20, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. brian in dc

    Manchin sees the writing on the wall. Every time he looks at Obama it's like staring at the south end of a horse facing north.

    April 20, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  15. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    I must admit, Joe Manchin is the first Democrat that I could consider voting for. He hasn't drunk the Obama koolaide. But the Democrat Party has veered so far to the left, his type is very rare indeed.

    BTW, didn't the Obama administration basically just outlaw any new coal fired power plants? How do you think THAT and Obama War on Fossil Fuels will affect Manchin's state and their economic outlook? Any coal or oil producing state should NOT be voting for Obama in November. He's been an energy disaster, as usual.

    April 20, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. Voice of Reason

    Ha ha – I take it all back. I guess there are 'DINO' s, too.

    Fact is, in highly red states, republicans will often run as democrats just so they can get on the ballot. It isnt really a choice between a D and an R, but between two Rs running under different parties.

    The same thing happens in the other direction, too. Romney is a D running as a R, because that's the only way he can get on the ballot. Makes sense when there is already a strong democrat and a void where a republican nominee would be...

    April 20, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    Marie MD –I am terribly disappointed. I thought Mancini had the cojones to stand on for what believes
    Unbelieveable statement and shows you how radical left the Democrat/progressive/socialist/communist Party has become. He IS standing up for what HE believes, not for Obama's failed policies. I know sweetie, the truth hurts.

    April 20, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. Niko_in_Richmond

    The man has shown time and time again that he's a Republican, so I don't even know why he bothers to caucus with the Democrats. He's kind of like the retiring Democrats who want to complain about the president's timing in push health care reform. He, like those guys, would have been more vocal with their objections to the president's agenda if they had a backbone. Now, during election season when every thing is exaggerated and taken out of context is not the time to complain. He was elected to represent the people of WV, so if they want a Republican president, he should vote for Mitt Romney. he should also join the Republican party since most of his views seem to run parallel to theirs.

    April 20, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  19. Larry L

    If the people in West Virginia want a government controlled by the ultra-rich they should vote for a Republicqan – not this gut-less politician looking to straddle the fence.

    April 20, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  20. K3Citizen

    Romney needs guys like this so he can try to prove Obama has failed. Romney republicans like to blame the other guy in public then privately apologize for "misquoting" or blatantly telling a lie. He knows that the original shock of hearing bad news stays with voters more than the apologies. He will fall fast and hard if Obama starts playing that game with Mitt the Nit Wit.

    April 20, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC


    An verty rare type, actually an old type reflecting the common sense that the Democratic Party used to have before it devolved in to the corrupt democrat liberal party it is now.
    For those of you who do not understand what is being said above....
    "Mancin is a Dixiecrat from the 1960s."
    "Mancin is a Reagan Democrat from the 1980s."
    "Mancin is a Tea Party Patriot from the 2010s."

    All of the above are one and the same. They just go by different names every generation.

    April 20, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. Fair is Fair


    Good for you. The democrat party really does need to push the moderates and Blue Dogs just a wee bit further to the right. Knock yourself out. We Conservatives do appreciate it.

    April 20, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. Brian

    I think they call this "covering your own butt".

    April 20, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  24. John

    It’s too late for Manchin and the Democratic Party. The country is looking for a replacement to put in the oval office. The American public has already made up its mind that they are not going to vote for Obama. If the Democratic Party continues to support Obama and not run another candidate; you will see the Democrats get massacred in the 2012 election.

    April 20, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. dnick47

    Real ctr. Chang your handle to something more appropiate: Lies And Nothing But Lies: A Fox New Junkie.

    You wouldn't know the truth if it fell on you.

    April 20, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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