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. WKT

    I love it! Democrats are abandoning that useless worthless failure that is Obama. Like rats abandoning a sinking ship, they just want to save their own butts!

    April 20, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  2. bosfaninva

    The comments from rigthwingers on this board prove how stupid Repukes are - they call this inbred goober "intelligent."

    April 20, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. S.positive

    Just like Ben Nelson of Nebraska, this dude is done. You cant have it both ways. Thats called being a coward or lukewarm...

    April 20, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. timothy

    Onegood1, just last summer President Obama proposed a budget cutting $4 trillion from the deficit over 10 years. John Boehner, Republican Speaker said it was too ambitious and cutting $2 trillion over that time period was more realistic. You're going to run up to kick the "Republicans are fiscally conservative" football AGAIN? Record deficits every year under previous admin. with 2 ridiculous wars and Bushacare Part D on the credit card, and you're going to believe, what?!?

    April 20, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  5. John

    GOP is promoting class warfare. They are continuing their campaign on the war on women. Obama has a 15% lead among women. More women vote than men. He has a 70% lead among Hispanics. Obama will win in November in a landslide just like he did against McCain. McCain lost the women vote by 12% last time. Look what happened to him. Perhaps you should start looking at the numbers more closely and quit hyping the race up it is not close. Women have already decided the election....

    April 20, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. CAL USA

    I find it fascinating that working class folks in the poorest states, like Miss and W VA are such adamant supporters of the party that wants to keep them there. You would think they would vote their self interest and prefer candidates that are in favor of helping them improve their lot, but they seem to only elect those that keep them in the hole. Go figure!

    April 20, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. mj

    Finally, a Democrat with brains!

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

    Alright Senator, vote Republican. Because that's what you are.

    April 20, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    The Truth wrote:

    Google "Obama Power-Plant Rule Signals Demise of ‘Old King Coal’" to see why Manchin wouldn't vote for Obama....
    Google this, " starve the beast ". to fully understand the long term political and economic strategies that conservatives employ.

    April 20, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. WV Gleeman

    Manchin has always been a proponent of the most important in WV..himself. Don't get me wrong; He has done a lot of good for this state. Now however, he has become a election senator. All he does is make sure he listens to the wind and claim to agree with whatever is said around him. He went from representing the people to making sure he gets re-elected in the senate. This guy is a future president(for good or for worse). You saw it here first.

    April 20, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  11. Taylor

    Smoke Screen...who knows for sure........Some of your comments are so un-real and not to smart. You had 4 years of Rep on display so everyone can see. And what most has seen is that they don't care about you or me. I am sick of some saying that Obama did this and he did that from gas prices to the rain. For those who think that he most be doing something right or you would not be pointing the finger. He was never a Dem anyway and for those who think he was think again. This is a smoke screen to get votes. People Wake Up!

    April 20, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  12. Grady

    he will be one of the first ones up against the wall after the revolution...

    April 20, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  13. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    How can this person be so selfish ? He won't vote for our president, because if he does, he might not get re-elected himself. I can see how he would be trusted. Self severving jerk.

    April 20, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  14. bosfaninva

    And West Va was doing so well before Obama took office, right Cletus?

    April 20, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. Nick

    He probably didn't vote for Obama in the last election either! He is a DINO.

    April 20, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  16. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Manchin has every right to not vote for President Obama, just as Senator Harry Reid has to not appoint Manchin to any Committee chairmanships, or other senior leadership positions. Of course, not being able to bring home the bacon as his predecessor could may hinder his chances to win a reelection, so...

    April 20, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. Fair is Fair

    "The comments from rigthwingers on this board prove how stupid Repukes are – they call this inbred goober "intelligent."
    What an absolutely riveting expose into your obviously profoundly deep thought processing. Let me guess... Yale graduate? No? Hooked on phonics? Yeah... hooked on phonics.

    April 20, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Is it a necessity that this man tell us he is not going to vote for our presidents second term? Do we really care what he does or thinks?As a Senator what has he done FOR his state......what has he done FOR his country....has he really tried and accomplished anything or is he just a complainer who should go along with the other complainers and vote for Romney...{ Now there's a choice} !!!!! Goodbye and good won't be missed!!!!!!!

    April 20, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @fair is fair

    When will this economy and malaise belong to Obama? When the rightwing leadership who created the economic crisis and inflated our national deficit start taking responsibility for their failures and show some bi-partisan leadership so the country can improve and move forward! Why should President Obama be blamed for the garbage he inherited while the rightwing leadership is doing everything within its means to see that he and America fail? For three plus years the right has blamed our President for everything he has inherited and has refused to give him credit for what's been accomplished! That's hypocrisy!

    April 20, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  20. Rich

    It is amazing, all of the short term memories! We deregulated everything, lost our surplus, our economy and our environment. Entered two wars, did not add them to the books, gave tax cuts to the rich, added more to the debt as well by creating a bad Medicare drug policy. Tortured people and made tapping your phone and email legal. Now we want to go back? Why? I guess many cannot take a black man as president? Go to love the right wing!

    April 20, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. Skemo

    One of my favorite quotes...
    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”
    ― Alexis de Tocqueville
    I think in general that many conservative folks in states like WV and the south vote largely on their beliefs and moral/ethical standards. Its the upper income and non-working class that vote for their pocket books and financial self interests with disregard to fiduciary responsibility and moral standards.

    April 20, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. Noocrat

    There are always DINOs in the South and RINOs in the North. Nothing new here. The unfortunate truth is that he's still better than a real southern Republican.

    April 20, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. Investment Advisor

    @Bosfaninva... I say your lack of intelligence is showing!

    April 20, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. Dave

    Would expect nothing less from this guy. Only way he could get voted in down there. He's like all the other Repub's, including Romney. They do and say what they need to do and say to get voted in. They have no real vision or conviction, just what ever is best for them.

    April 20, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. Erik

    Manchin should blame himself then by his analysis since he was governor during this time period and then senator

    April 20, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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