Manchin may buck party in presidential vote
April 20th, 2012
11:29 AM ET
3 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:

Romney releases March fundraising figures

Paul campaign touts campaign cash

RNC looks to Facebook for political edge

Biden says Democrats have chance in Arizona


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

    "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."
    ====

    Just a reminder kids: you're supposed to smoke weed on 4/20, not crack. Crack is whack. Just look what it did to this poor dude.

    April 20, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    -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.
    ********************************************************
    ...even more proof of how far right the GOP has lurched in the last decade. Reagan and Buckley must be spinning in their graves to the left in protest, now that so-called "intellects" and armchair patriots like Ted Nugent are claiming to be the inheritors of the Conservative legacy.

    April 20, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. AmericanSam

    Manchin will have all this tough talk for the President, but when he retains his seat, that makes the Senate more likely to remain in Democratic hands.

    April 20, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. Dan

    Manchin is and has always been a backstabbing " lightweight" Democrat much like that clown Joe Lieberman. I hope he gets defeated –he has done nothing for the Democratic Party !!!

    April 20, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  5. HERE

    Yup, voting Ron Paul!

    April 20, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. Investment Advisor

    Greatest President in U.S. history!?!? Envy, Jealously???? Whos smoking what and where did you get it? I would like to take a break from reality!

    April 20, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  7. brian in denver

    This guy's from "West By God Virginny"...Hmm. The stupid water must be flowing north from S. Carolina.

    April 20, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  8. razmataz

    Sounds like he's a DINO, Democrat In Name Only!!!

    April 20, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  9. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    At least under President Obama we have been able to get rid of OBL and Alawaki, thereby making America and the world safer! We have seen millions of unemployed and struggling Americans return to work! The re-emergence of the Big Three that helped to build our country and helped us win WWII! We have been able to end the recession and see the re-emergency of thousands of small and large businesses resurface! An additional 33 million Americans now have affordable healthcare and our kids can remain on their parents premiun till 30! America's trust and credibility around the world have been restored under President Obama bold and courageous leadership! The illegitimate Iraq war has been brought to and end, with the winding down of the Afghan war in the process! Since President Obama has been in office, no Americans have died as a result of his foreign or domestic policies and no terrorists attacks have occured on American soul! Hey, that's leadership worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize! Obama/Biden 2012!

    April 20, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. farquar

    Anyone want to know why this election will be so hard for a lot of us? These guys (Romney and Obama) are different sides of the same coin. The only ones they are thinking about is themselves.

    Mitch daniels 2 hours ago – "Go ahead and have the confidence in the voters to explain the fix we're in and then tell them with some specificity what we can do to get out of it in a way that's good for everybody," he said. "Explain those things from the standpoint of the young and poor - those who haven't achieved the dream yet."

    You'll not hear something like that from the two we're left to choose from.

    April 20, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. BLKMANinAmerica

    To each his own, hopefully this will bit him in _______, but not likely.

    April 20, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. Al

    How he votes is a private matter. No one can rightfully ask who he cast his ballot for. But, to publicly, and this early in the game, announce what his intentions are, shows that he is, in truth, a Republican, and campaigning against the current administration.

    April 20, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  13. dooteetime

    We really need a 3rd party in this country.

    April 20, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Onegood1 wrote:

    The question still remains is why do the democrats want to enslave the American middle class to a future of poverty and debt.
    -------------
    A better question is what on earth are you talking about? Those are the words of the delusional visions associated with the bunker mentality.

    April 20, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  15. dakster

    I'll give him his independence.....but also now see his stupidness if he votes for Romney. Who said our US Senators, Democrat and Republican were intelligent!

    April 20, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. WhereIsPalin

    "Right now in West Virginia, these first three and a half years haven't been that good to West Virginia,"........then blame the president.

    If he had said the first three and a half years HAVE been good to West Virginia.......then, of course you take the credit yourself. What a weasel.

    April 20, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. gpop

    Anyone believing this is as naive as thought! Re-election year means that this guy will say what he needs to say, so that he can gain the republican vote. To say anything else would be political suicide. So, for those of you who thinks he will not support the President...think again!

    April 20, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  18. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    To all the far left loons in here calling Manchin a DINO, I ask you one question.

    If Obama was threatening to wipe out THE MAJOR industry in YOUR state because he deemed it good, would you expect YOUR SENATOR to help him destroy your state industry or would you expect him to OPPOSE Obama?

    Really looking forward to the answers...

    April 20, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  19. Lolo

    Who cares!!!!!!!!!! They can back Mittens all day long and he is still going to lose. What a hoot him conversing with the voters in Pa. I laughed until I cried. No one bakes fresh cookies like the old days anymore. Oops I forgot his cook at home does it for him. This man is pathetic. He has no idea how normal people live, but the right wing will vote for him anyway just to get rid of our Black President. Shame Shame!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They know this is the truth but do not have the cajones to admit it.

    April 20, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  20. DDTM

    Blah blah-
    I just saw on the news this morning that the economy has stalled, home sales are stalling, job hiring has slowed, so I would not brag just yet on how our President is saving our country from going under. Look at how the budget increases, the debt goes right with it. No, I wouldn't say we are in good shape, not with the price of gas causing alot of heartache amongst Americans.
    And thank the good Lord that we haven't had a terrorist attack on our soil for some time, but I wonder when Homeland Security was started. Boy, they are doing a fantastic job without pinning the credit on our President.

    April 20, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Let me be frank with you people here! I'm not really worried or concerned about this election for two simple reasons!!! The first reason is if President Obama is re-elected, then great for America as we will continue to move forward and beyond the failures of GWB and the rightwing leadership! On the other hand, If Mitt Romney wins, then all I can say is America got exactly what it deserved! Then I'll just sit back and enjoy the destruction of this country! It would be fun to watch!

    April 20, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. Woman In California

    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.

    Really? You should hear what they say about Willard here in No. California. For instance, the other day, I had to take a taxi and the subject of Willard came across the radio – I thought the cab driver would lose control. He said how dare that SOB try and dictate what's best for this country when he's never been a part of it (money in Swiss accounts, draft dodger, etc.) Need I go on? The driver was right. I couldn't agree more so don't take too much away from the polls.

    April 20, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. Don

    Phoney. Time to switch Joe. If you don't have any political courage you belong with the GOP anyway. Don't ask me for any money.

    April 20, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    The Truth asked:

    If Obama was threatening to wipe out THE MAJOR industry in YOUR state because he deemed it good, would you expect YOUR SENATOR to help him destroy your state industry or would you expect him to OPPOSE Obama?

    Really looking forward to the answers...
    ---------------------
    Keep looking.

    April 20, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  25. Taran

    @Fair, Truth, Onegood1,,,,,spot on as usual.

    April 20, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
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