(CNN) – The President’s failure to build friendships with lawmakers has damaged his chances of finding bipartisan support for legislation, a senator from his own party said Sunday.
“It's just hard to say no to a friend," Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
"When you build that relationship and that friendship, you're looking for ways to try to work things out and find a compromise and, you know, that friendship means an awful lot. When you don't build those personal relationships, it's pretty easy for a person to say, well, let me talk about it, you know, and not really make, you know, that extra effort."
Manchin also said Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid should engage more with Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
"You know, we all have different styles,” Manchin said. It’s “just not in the president's nature to pal around,” the conservative Democrat said, adding that Obama doesn’t have a gregarious personality like former President Bill Clinton.
With the partisan gridlock and many senators up for re-election, Manchin, who has called for congressional action on tighter gun laws, said it's going to be challenging to get such legislation passed next year, though he remains hopeful.
"It’s going to be difficult to get the extra votes that we need, I'll be honest with you," he said. "I'm not going to force anybody and make anybody uncomfortable. They all know they have to live with themselves and go back home and explain it."
A background check compromise, crafted by Manchin and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, failed earlier this year to reach the 60 votes needed to move forward in the Senate. Along with the background checks legislation, a ban on assault weapons also went down in defeat.
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