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.

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. Wvazoe

    I am from wv. I just called Sen Mansions office. If he does not support President Obama I will not support him.

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

    Obismal is going to be re-elected by a landslide???!!! He barely won the first time 52%-48% and then he had a chance to do
    great things with control of both houses. What was his priority? a lousy 2700 page healthcare bill jammed full of crap from everything about unions to college loans written by Rahm emanuels brother in some back room...remember Pelosi? we'll have to pass it to see whats in it!!! 2010 was just a taste...hope and change has now become "blame and shame"

    April 20, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. Dave Elliott

    Obama needs to remember this after he is re-elected.

    April 20, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. Get a job Hippies

    Rudy NYC,
    You are ascribing too much logic to the obama backers. if you oppose the guy for any reason you are a racist and a hate filled person. They cannot get past that even if you offer cogent arguments to your point so i would not look for any great answers to your question.

    April 20, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. Dave

    Yeah, 'cuz stabbing your own party in the back is always a popular move. This guy's no prize for either side. Nobody values a traitor.

    April 20, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. vbscript2

    In reality, I think this is more of a "Please don't vote me out in November even though Democratic control in Washington has been a nightmare" than an actual parting of policy with the President.

    April 20, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. JS

    This situation illustrates the dilemma of our system of Government. On one hand, this type of independence and moderation should be applauded, and should attract Republican voters. On the other hand, unless he chooses not to caucus with Democrats and changes party affiliation, the most important vote he will cast will be for continued Democratic control of the Senate, and all the far left ideology that goes with that (and for that matter, if he caucused with Republicans, his most important vote would be for Republican control of the Senate, and the right wing ideology that goes with it).

    There's just no way out, unless someone, somewhere, starts a "Centrist" Party. Unfortunately, our most well known third parties represent even further extremes (Libertarian and Green). Until that changes, or until the LEADERSHIP (not individuals) of one party or the other moves to the Center, were going to keep getting more of the same in government. We're a 50/50 conservative/liberal country, being controlled by the 20% at the farthest end of each spectrum instead of by the "common sense" middle.

    April 20, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. Farmland

    One need only look at the lead articles on today's Political ticker to see where the CNN editors of this page consistently stand in the Fall elections.

    April 20, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    Rudy NYC my question was addressed to "all the far left loons in here calling Manchin a DINO"
    I thought you were an independent?!!! POP! hahahaha... thanks for the laugh at your expense.

    April 20, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. Alois

    "these first three and a half years haven't been that good to West Virginia," he said of the Obama presidency this week" In truth , what he should have said was ,these first three and a half years haven't been that good to our country, he said of the Obama presidency this week. Loser obama and his corrupt administration have been a huge failure and has got to go.

    April 20, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  11. marjee123

    And he just might have a challenger and they won't have to worry about him. He slipped in as one of those blue dogs and now he has to go. You might as well have a republican and be done with it.

    April 20, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  12. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    True-for all the false rhetoric coming from the republicans-Obama leads like a center republican from 20 years ago and most of his ideas and legislation was originally proposed by the republicans-so why do they HATE him so much-because I agree with BlahBlah wheel's off your trailer Obama has been outstanding and Romney etch a sketch is who this guy is voting for??-As a woman I willl never vote for ANY Republican again and hope Romney is beaten in a land slide-The Republicans are big on religion but don't have a Christian bone in their bodies

    April 20, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    Obama 2012...with or without this sellout.

    By the way Dutch I too admire that ONE thing about the Republicans: their ability to stick together and present a united front even while swirling down the toilet as a Party they appear to be doing.

    April 20, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    Well, truth, what EXACTLY did Obama do to threaten to wipe out the coal industry in West Virginia? There was a mention of Keystone, not the coal industry. The coal industry continues to get billions in subsidies while enjoying a healthy profit marginAs I recall, the GOP bitterly opposed Byrd and Manchin over their success at getting federal dollars to help develop the state: the coal industry has done virtually nothing to help these people except lay them off and force the remainder to cut corners. I know this because my wife's parents grew up there, and my wife has family members who still risk their lives so you and I have the juice to post our emails. Manchin is doing nothing more than what Scott Brown is doing in MA by conforming to the political landscape, and the GOP is assuring he gets re-elected by putting Rush Limbaugh's golfing buddy Raese against him. Golf courses and coal mining mix about as well as Romney and principles: the two never come into contact with each other. Next time post about something you actually know about from personal experience: that will ensure you stay off the net.

    April 20, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. beevee

    This guy is a democratic political chameleon.

    April 20, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. Randy, San Francisco

    Unlike the GOP/Tea Party, there is no purity test for Democrats. If Blue Dog Democrates want to oppose the president they have the right to do so. They answer only to the voters in their states.

    April 20, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. DDTM

    So much is made of Romney and where his money came from, how he never had to work for it. Hmmmm, I wonder how Mr. Obama got to where he is? I wonder how he got his finances for schooling?

    If you think old Mitt is hard to fit in with the average American, our dear President uses his "roots", at least half of them, to chide the people into believing it is everyone else's fault that we are in the shape we are now. No, you can get after old Mitt all you want about where his money came from but you always leave the actors and the ball players alone because they "earned" their money and he didn't. Hogwash.

    April 20, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. usualone

    Has this man ever been for the current administration? He is always negative. He is a Democrat in name only. He can disagree but not every time.

    April 20, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  19. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer


    Rome wasn'ty created in a day! President Obama inherited two deadly and costly wars, a severely inflated national deficit and the worst economic crisis in US history with no cooperation but delibarate roadblocks and policy delaying tactics from the right! Let's face it, President Obama is not going to be able to return ten million Americans back to work overnight and on his own! Furthermore, wouldn't his job have been alot easir had he inherited a surplus and no foreign wars like GWB? And by the way, as far as Home Land Security goes, they're indeed doing a great job but Home land Security didn't make the gutsy call and give the go ahead to our NAVY Seals to execute that very risky and dangerous mission to take out OBL! While GWB and Dick Cheyney wavered and appeased to al Qaeda, it ws our courageous and most intelligent Presient Obama who made the gutsy call! Obama/Biden 2012!

    April 20, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. Fair is Fair

    "Then I'll just sit back and enjoy the destruction of this country! It would be fun to watch!"
    What a piece of work you are.

    April 20, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. Jack V

    A conservative by definition is someone who stands in front of history & yells "STOP". To get ahead this country must PROGRESS!

    April 20, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. paul

    Joe, if you want to be a Republican then stand up and be a man and run as a Republican. There is one major difference between the parties and you have to decide which one you are for. Republicans will represent the to top 1% and Democrats are for the rest of the 99%. Republicans will stand behind your coalmine owners, oil company owners, and big business owners. If that is where you are then change parties. If you are for the 99% then say that as well. Your call

    April 20, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  23. DDTM

    Blah blah-
    "Rome wasn'ty created in a day! President Obama inherited two deadly and costly wars, a severely inflated national deficit and the worst economic crisis in US history with no cooperation but delibarate roadblocks and policy delaying tactics from the right!"
    This is just what I am talking about, blaming others for why things haven't gotten better! I hear this all the time, isn't it time, after over 3 years, to take responsibilty for at least some of the reason we are in the shape we are? You have been listening to his brainwashing speeches for too long, telling you "life is good and blame others because it is their fault, not mine" crap.
    As far as being gutsy to make the call on OBL, yes, I was tickled by the fact that he is no more, but as an American instead of taking credit by just a political party. Remember, it was the Seals who actually did the work! Coaches can call the plays but it is the players who have to make it all work.

    April 20, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota

    Woman In California

    "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."

    LOL. That's the general discussion within my own family circle as well.

    April 20, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  25. johnm

    Anyone who thinks that Alfred E. NeuRomney would be an improvement in any shape form or fashion or would be anything besides a complete disaster for what is left of the shell America has become, is certifiably insane. It would mean the end of America and ultra chaos in the streets and countryside with the murder happy psychotic NRA gun nuts running amok. The only freedom or right that might remain is to "bear arms" because that's the only thing their empty minds are capable of thinking about even at the cost of all other freedoms and rights. Ignorance is not always bliss.

    April 20, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
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