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. GI Joe


    Flip-Flop - whatever puts the most money in HIS pocket. He's not worried about WV Hicks.

    April 20, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    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
    BUT coaches call the play, which Obama did, and he called it the way he thought it shoudl be played NOT the way all the chickenhawks in the room thought it should go. Your guys – GOPers reknowned for sending us to war while they're safely at home- wanted us to go in there like untrained cowards and bomb everything and everyone in sight. The head coach, that would be Obama, called a different play. He knew his team. He also knew what YOU very well know but refuse to fess up to, and that is that if his call went wrong HE would be the one to blame. I say if he took the risk of taking ALL the blame, then give him his DUE you would've Bush.
    Mission freakin' accomplished indeed!!
    Obama 2012.

    April 20, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  3. vatoloke

    At Woman from California: FYI, it's cojones and not "cajones". "Cajones" means boxes.

    April 20, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  4. Blue

    The Senator from WV has always been against President Obama. I believe it it more than he disagrees with him. He came to Washington ready to go afater the President. We need a real Democrat to run in WV and give a pretend democrat a run for his life.

    April 20, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. Fair is Fair

    The Real Tom Paine

    -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.
    Funny, we think the same about you and your cohorts every day.
    There you go again, Tom. I just don't understand you. I call a poster out for considering it "fun" to "sit back and watch the destruction of our country", and you have a problem with ME? That's kind of mixed up, don't you think?

    April 20, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    Opportunity knocks once again. "What on earth are you talking about?"
    Yes I read that post twice myself and ended up with the same question Rudy.

    April 20, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  7. John

    As a Democrat in a conservative state, Sen. Manchin looks simply to be a coward. He wants to get re-elected, so he'll say or do anything. Maybe it would easier for him just to switch parties if he can't be honest.

    April 20, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. Dejavu65

    I remember this guy from last term. I don't know why he is even pretending to be a democrat. This guy has acting like a Repug from day one. I think he is like a spy for the Repugs. You can tell he has the West Virginia mind state just by looking at him. He is always angry and aggressive, I doubt he would want to vote for any minority period!!

    April 20, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. Big Al

    Only Sarah Palin can save our country. We are nothing but infidels.

    Long Live Saddam Hussein!

    April 20, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  10. mark

    Dump him from the party then

    April 20, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  11. Joyce

    People put on your running shoes and run from the GOP"s, they ruined this country, given another chance, darkness will cover the land. Romney has no use for the middle class and the poor. This man is a fake, nothing real about him. Is the biggest liar in the history of the America. Tthe man follows anywhere the wind blows, no core vlues, can't be trusted.

    April 20, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. GOP hate america

    who cares what this inbreed does Obama;s still got my vote

    April 20, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  13. shut_up

    Woman In California , your actually the skirt in the whitehouse too embarrssed about that clutz husband you have.

    you should have married a complete white guy michelle not just half of one. you two light some candles and have some dog for supper just like obammy used to have.
    it will remind him of his deer (dear) mothers home cooking.
    " hi obammy suppers ready, we are having your favorite meal, great dane ish, collie flower, and german choclate shepard cake ........................LOL what a man, he can tie his shoes and sing at the same time................

    April 20, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. Lando

    This punk got elected by the Democrats and is so scared to lose the power he is enjoying....a real turncoat....
    Go to helll...we don't care...

    April 20, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  15. Jake

    Let's see....Obama the following to get elected in 2008
    1. All bills will be posted on the White House web site 5 days before signing so that everyone can read them.
    2. I will end all earmarks. We'll go over all expenses line by line.
    3. I will close Guantanamo
    4. I will usher in an era of bipartisian cooperation.
    5. I wil end the practice of hiring former lobbyists to work in the White House.
    And these are just 5 of his lies. Can't wait for his 2012 pledges.....

    April 20, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. Jim

    "progess" towards WHAT??? Obama and the Democrats have the country on the edge of the financial abyss. And you want to "progess" over the edge?!! Any sane person would yell "STOP".

    Yes, the edge of financial ruin. Unemployment is down, the economy is starting to, albeit slowly, recover, and the President has, with few exceptions, governed primarlily from the Right. As long as the deficit is growing in order to feed the military-industrial complex, the Right is always willing to spend. But, if it's on social causes, then it must be stopped. Because we wouldn't want an informed electorate voting for the better-qualified person (Hint: It's not Newt , Ron Paul, or Romney). Conditions that take nearly a decade to create are not solved in 1/2 that time, and they aren't solved by having wars. And that's what Romney and the Right want. Spend all they want on wars, NOTHING on social agendas.

    April 20, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. Independent Voters

    We dont need him in office vote him out

    April 20, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. keeth

    Big deal. There were Repubs who came out against Dubya. It happens all the time, regardless of party or president.

    April 20, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. nolimits3333

    Obama will win West Virginia.

    April 20, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  20. Saboth

    Romney wants to privatize SS? I am beginning to think we have a memory problem in the US. A Republican President and Congress got us into this financial mess and these 2 wars. Obama's having a tough time cleaning it up. We just went from a 6k stock market to a 13k one. How's a privatized social security fit into that?

    April 20, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  21. Joe from Ohio

    I guess this traitor to his country wasn't paying attention when former president Bush started this massive snowball rolling DOWNHILL!

    April 20, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. Sue


    There are now many Democrats beginning to see the "light".

    Barney Frank spoke out against Obamacare.

    Jim Webb spoke out against Obamacare, and said that Obama is NOT a leader.

    April 20, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. Mensaman

    I wish the Democrats had another candidate besides Obama. Hillary would win in a walk. Manchin is a good man but he's kind of a DINO. We all remember him when he was Governor during the mining collapse.
    Obama seems to be unraveling and I doubt he can sustain electability given all the failures. You wonder if he's just riding the rollercoaster.

    April 20, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. J

    Maybe things haven't been so good in Virginia the last 3 years because Virginia has stuck with conservative values.

    April 20, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  25. J

    *West Virginia

    April 20, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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