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. Dean

    Only those with below-average intelligence will vote for Obama a second time.

    April 20, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  2. bloocanary

    Sorry, Joe. This kind of pandering isn't going to win you the hearts of the big coal execs. Stick to the party that got you elected, or you run the risk of losing their support too. God forbid we end up with that witless buffoon Raese in your place.

    April 20, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  3. Woman In California

    @ Onegood1

    People who vote for Willard are (LASP), lazy, azz, stupid, people who "think" he can magically turn them into millionaires. Keep following the yellow brick road.

    April 20, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. David Poymer

    Remember all the Repubs that were voted in in the mid-term? They all promised JOBS JOBS JOBS! Remember that?

    Is there anyone here who can point to ONE things any of them have done to promote Jobs? Just one will be fine. Seriously. Just one. And don't talk about the Keystone Pipeline as if that's some sort of jobs plan.

    April 20, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    Grady - he will be one of the first ones up against the wall after the revolution...
    Yet MORE proof just how far left the Democrat/progressive/socialist/communist party has gone. JFK is rolling over in his grave.

    April 20, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. simp

    West Virginia? Really? This inbred loser Manchin didnt vote for Pres Obama in 2008 who does he think he's fooling? I get so tired of idiots like this claiming his state has not done well under Pres Obama, well you need to look at the repubs, they are the ones that has said NO!!! to everything Pres Obama has tried to do.

    April 20, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. Pete

    Maybe this republican want a be would be better suited republican come the next election cycle.This way people can actually get a man that's a true Dem ,thats for the people,not for his own personal gains.Voting for Keystone was just the tip of the iceberg for this blue dog Dem,who's manipulating the system best to suit his next move politically ,wheather it'd be as a Dem or flopping to the hypocrite side ,the republican obstructionists,its just a matter of time or when.Just better now,so you can vote his butt out...

    April 20, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. Rachel

    Well this is more like it. Change you can really believe in.

    April 20, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. Scott in Atlanta

    President Obama: "Psssst. Hey Joe. I need you to act like you don't like me to keep WVA in the "D" column. Say and do whatever, to make folks think you hate me. After November, you can come back home again."

    President Obama after the election: "You have to answer for Sunny, Carlo... Now who approached you? Was it Tatalia or Bardzini? Only don't tell me that you're innocent. It insults my intelligence."

    Then you'll see Machin heading out the door with four "goon-look'n" dudes in suites. They'll make him sit in the front passenger seat.

    April 20, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. Canuck

    @CAL USA
    Totally agree. I can see how folk can fault Obama, he has disappointed many progressives too, however the alternative is unthinkable. It's both baffling and tragic.

    April 20, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Attention to all you Democrats in congress!!! Those of you who are willing to jump ship and vote Republican, go ahead and make my day! When President Obama supported UN mandate to protect civilians in Libya with a no fly zone, Dennis Kucinich criticized the President and called his support of a legitimate UN mandate to protect civilians "an impeachable offense." But never once did Dennis Kucinich ever used the word impeach when GWB lied and mislead the American people about WMD's and invaded Iraq and murdered thousands of our troops in cold blood! That is hypocrisy! But kudos to the people of Ohio because they voted Dennis Kunich out of a job by a landslide! So go on Democrats, make my day! O' and by the way, you Democrats can betray President Obama all you want because the American people who elected him to office will do so again in 2012!

    April 20, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. Onegood1

    If any other of our presidents joined the country of Mexico and sued a state in the United States to force that state to continue to allow illegal immigration, would you question his patriotism and wonder who's side he was on?

    April 20, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  13. Canuck

    @The real truth blah blah
    "JFK is rolling over in his grave."

    He's been rolling in his grave since the war machine murdered him....

    April 20, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. WVU ALUM

    Mr. Manchin i applaud this decision. I am a fellow democrat from WV and i am ashamed and how this administration has handled this country. The democrats of the last couple years are a bunch of radical loons and myself along with several others have been discussing changing parties. Your decision pleases all of us here in your home state. Thank you for not bowing down the the political correctness of the drones in DC. Its time more people join you and break the trend of always voting of what your leader says regardless of how ignorant it is. GOOD JOB!!!!!

    April 20, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |

    Fair wrote: 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.
    Facts are facts and history doesn't change. The President has owned up to the economy. This notion Willard is putting forward that the President is playing the blame game is just nonsense. YES, the President did inherit a mess unlike that we've ever seen before in OUR generation. Willard's lame line saying "the President didn't create the recession, but he made it worse" just isn't factually true. If we had it Willard's way, there will no longer be an American auto industry. Think about that. Think about where we would be without the stimulus. I know you republicans are in a state of denial when it comes to the stimulus, but it worked. As far as deficit reduction goes, look at your own party. 8 years of wreckless spending which was not paid for. But now you expect this President to have his hands tied behind his back and not spend to get us out of the mess that YOUR party created. I was against the Iraq war from the very beginning just as then Sen. Obama was. I'm not partisan when it comes to this issue. I will go after anyone who supported that war of deception. Hillary probably would be President if she didn't vote for the war. So as much as you guys want to brush the Bush years under the rug, you just can't.

    April 20, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. DDTM

    Boy are we in trouble. A Democrat decides enough is enough and jumps ship. Right away liberals are calling for his head. Maybe he sees how our President is further dividng our country with racism, class warfare, Democrats against Republicans. welfare cases against workers. Don't believe me? News reports calling Zimmerman a "white hispanic". Never heard that one before. If that is the case, isn't Obama half white and half black? And which ethnic group does he claim to be? 1% ers against the 99%, Wall Street, along with actors and ball players, against the average Joe.
    Reading the comment sections of many news stories, it is unbelievable how nasty some of the remarks are. Is this really a united country? I tell many I am lucky to be as old as I am because I sure wouldn't want to see which direction this country is headed in another 20 years, providing we still have the shirt on our back.

    April 20, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  17. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    Barney Frank: Obamacare Was a 'Mistake'
    Obama, says Frank, overinterpreted his mandate from the 2008 election.

    Geez, even Barney Frank is now telling the truth, just like Manchin!!! Yeah, things are really looking up for Obama in November! hahahahhaha!!!!!

    April 20, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. gandoman

    Just another useless conservative NAZI republican disguised as a Democrat.
    Hasn't anyone noticed that the conservatives in this country are incapable of thinking for themselves.
    They have an IQ which allows them to listen to TV & the radio to get the information they need to make a decision.
    The GREAT SHEEP MOVEMENT of our time is continuing to take place in conservative politics.
    The truth does NOT matter!
    The increasing difference between the poor & the rich does NOT matter!
    The George '3 below plant life' Bush 8 years does NOT matter.
    Let the SHEEP be led to slaughter because that is where America is headed with a GOP NAZI PARTY.

    April 20, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  19. mommytwice

    so...he's not actually a Democrat. He's a Republican.

    April 20, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. Here we go...

    be a dem or don't. Just have some integrity.

    April 20, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. Ivan Bial

    why not just switch parties and become a republican

    April 20, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote on page 3:

    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???
    When? Just as soon as we get those Tea Party varmints out of Congress.

    April 20, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    We all know Republicans don't really have a problem with President Obama's policies or leadership! The problem is that when he was elected, the right expected the black man to stumble and fail! But despite all the garbage he inherited and the deliberate roadblocks by the right, President Obama has accomplished more in two years than that accomplished by any eight year administration in US history! So here is a black President defying the odds and re-writing the American history books and proving that he's the greatest President in US history and suddenly the right and their tea bags start crying that our President is destroying the country! Envy and jealousy! Hahahaahaha! Obama/Biden 2012!

    April 20, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. truthhound

    I have no problem with his vote for or long as he votes based off of what he really thinks instead of whether the conservatives in his district will reelect him again. I go back to lieberman...I had no problem that he voted with the republicans if thats what he really believed...the problem I had was when the dems wanted to take away his chairmanship...he should have seen that a consequence...if you are able enough to vote a plan up or down...then you should be able enough to accept the consequences of that vote. The problems with politicians today is that they aren't willing to accept the consequences of their respective they vote party line or sign pledges and rediculous things like a politician that votes based on how you really feel.

    April 20, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  25. Jerry

    OMG!!! Finally, one of my fellow Democrats sees the LIGHT. Finally there's one Democrat that has the necessary "bolas".

    I truly believe America should be indebted to you Senator Manchin!!!


    April 20, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
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