Manchin may buck party in presidential vote
April 20th, 2012
11:29 AM ET
2 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. Charlie from the North

    Well then if the best we can do is this loser we should abandon that district to the GOP and spend our time and money where there are real Democrats running.

    April 20, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. Onegood1

    Manchin is living proof that not all democrats are communists. People who vote for Obama are members of the FURS (Freeloaders, Union members, Racists and Socialists) and want to destroy small business and America's entrepreneurial spirit and replace it with big goverment and huge corporate dominance.
    Isn't that right lookout4?

    April 20, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. Rob

    Finally an intelligent Democrat. I could vote for this guy.

    April 20, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. CaliforniaBC

    Yeah because the alternative could do ANY better. We've seen from all the GOP polcies they've lobbed up since they lost their butts back in 2008 would have done nothing or made the situation worse. NOTHING they have to offer could have worked. It's been shown by numerous economic analyses. Their social legislation does more to hurt the middle classes and interferes with individual choice than ANYTHING the Democrats ever dreamed to suggest.

    This isn't about "drinking the kool aid" (I doubt the majority of those who use that phrase know the source of it), it's about thinking for yourself and see what the other side does have to offer.... these days that other side, the GOP, doesn't have much at all. It's also about not voting for the other person just to vote against the one you have been misinformed about. Stop blindly believing the pundits and FAKE NEWS and think for yourself people.

    April 20, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. lookout4

    I couldn't have said it better myself Onegood1.

    April 20, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. mfhpr

    Big surprise...the second I saw the headline I knew it was this guy! He and Ben Nelson are REPs in DEM clothing!

    April 20, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. dnick47

    The Repubs can only say "NO!" They do not have a plan or a program except the tried and failed policies re-hashed from the Regean era... Your party caused this deficit and pain. Your party has fought each and every humane and sensible idea that has come forth. All you can say is" "More tax breaks for the rich."

    April 20, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. Hammerer

    I read alot about Romney and his wealth, his PLANS, his past, his past jobs, his family and just about evderything possible and not a word about oboma. Can you not recall anything positive about oboma? He has been in office nearly four years, two with dem controlled house and senate, Convince me that he has been good for America. And don't give me thagt same old "he was left with a mess worse than he thought.
    Any takers?

    April 20, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Let's see, GWB inherited a surplus from Bill Clinton, took us into two deadly and costly wars, inflated our national deficit and got re-elected! Then in his second term, he crashed our economy, leading us into the worst economic crisis in US history! President Obama inherits two deadly and costly wars from GWB along with a very bad economic crisis and he receives no cooperation from the republicans and their teabags, only deliberate roadblocks and countless opposition, yet people like Manchinni expects our President so solve all the world problems in under four years? Well Mr. Manchinni, go vote for Mitt Romney!

    April 20, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  10. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    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.
    ==============================================================================================
    Obama and his EPA are trying to destroy the coal industry in West Virginia. Manchin IS representing his state and its people SPECTACULARLY when he opposes Obama and what they would do this this vital industry in WV.

    Any wonder why gas prices are so high given Obama's War on Fossil Fuel? Just wait until electricity prices do the same thing, as Obama said they must. Then it will become a war on ALL OF US. What does Obama think this will do to the average American family? Answer: CRUSH THEM.

    April 20, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  11. Onegood1

    The question still remains is why do the democrats want to enslave the American middle class to a future of poverty and debt.

    April 20, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  12. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    Google "Obama Power-Plant Rule Signals Demise of ‘Old King Coal’" to see why Manchin wouldn't vote for Obama....

    April 20, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. Data Driven

    OK, so now the DNC and DSCC shouldn't give a dime to this DINO.

    Another thing: if WV isn't doing so hot, then maybe this idiot should take a look at the man in the mirror. He was governor there, now Senator. Uh, nice job Manchin.

    April 20, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    The Truth wrote on page 3:

    Obama and his EPA are trying to destroy the coal industry in West Virginia. Manchin IS representing his state and its people SPECTACULARLY when he opposes Obama and what they would do this this vital industry in WV. .....
    ---------
    I think the coal industry itself is doing a good job destroying the coal industry by ruining the lives of those who work in the indusry. What is most amazing though, is the loyalty those poor WV souls show towards their employers Oops, I meant destroyers.

    April 20, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    Onegood1 - The question still remains is why do the democrats want to enslave the American middle class to a future of poverty and debt.
    ==============================================================================================
    Because then the playing field will be totally level and everything will be "fair". Nobody will have more or less than anybody else and we'll all live happily ever after in abject poverty and misery, but so will everybody else so that makes it right.

    April 20, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. Chumlee

    This guy is a traitor to his party – join the obstructionists, because that is exactly what you are
    Manchin!

    April 20, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. gfm1060

    I will not be voting for obama. Anyone other than obama 2012!

    April 20, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. jeff

    Manchin is just another rich a hole who has never had a job, from a politically corrupt family. i live in wv . Why in the hell would anyone want to continue building coal fired power plants that pollute when there are better alternatives, these coal companies have manchin in their pocket. The really messed up thing is we have a bunch of coal fired plants here in wv that ship the power elsewhere and the pollution and the by products of these plants get to stay right here in wv and make our people sick. I think the epa is doing the right thing, all of the republicans talk about our children's future and how obamma policys are crippling them , how about the pollution from coal plants are actually killing people right now. Coal production is down for a reason .

    April 20, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  19. timothy

    I am not happy with President Obama either but I sure as heck don't want to go back to the Bush-Cheney policies that got us in this position. And that's all I see Romney offering.

    April 20, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  20. SUBS 4 VOTES/Dutch Bad Newz, VA/GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    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.
    ----------------------------------------------–
    That doesn't necessarily mean they'll vote for a flip flopping, tax evading, animal abusing, pro-choicer turned pro-lifer, out of touch vulture capitalist.

    April 20, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. Norma Vessels

    I am so tired of Republicans jamming themselves into the Democratic party by claiming they're the same! The Republicans are always talking about our president trying to take over everything .. what the heck do they think they're trying to do?!

    April 20, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. Fair is Fair

    Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Let's see, GWB inherited a surplus from Bill Clinton, took us into two deadly and costly wars, inflated our national deficit and got re-elected! Then in his second term, he crashed our economy, leading us into the worst economic crisis in US history! President Obama inherits two deadly and costly wars from GWB along with a very bad economic crisis and he receives no cooperation from the republicans and their teabags, only deliberate roadblocks and countless opposition, yet people like Manchinni expects our President so solve all the world problems in under four years? Well Mr. Manchinni, go vote for Mitt Romney!
    -------–
    When the 3rd word in your rant is GWB, you make people lose interest. WHEN will this economy and outright malaise belong to Obama? WHEN? EVER???

    The reason Obama can't crack the 40's in the polls is because rational people look at him and see a whiner that refuses to step up and take ownership. His minions (and him as well) just go on playing the blame game. He looks very weak and unpresidential and it turns off many many voters.

    April 20, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  23. Ntrain2k

    A dem with a brain.

    I like it.

    April 20, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. mdesan

    If he's voting against Obama due to his beliefs, than good! I salute him. If, on the other hand, if simply to pander to his elecorate to remain in his seat, well, you know the rest...

    April 20, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  25. Norma Vessels

    And Mr. Manchin doesn't want to vote for President Obama, because he probably didn't in the last election either! He's a wolf in sheep's clothing, and we have way too many of them posing as Democrats. Independent, my foot!

    April 20, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
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