Manchin says the president needs to reach out to members of his own party
March 11th, 2013
07:54 PM ET
10 years ago

Manchin says the president needs to reach out to members of his own party

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama's latest effort to court GOP lawmakers through personal meetings may be grabbing headlines, but members of his own party say it's not just Republicans who deserve some face time with the commander-in-chief.

Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who's one of the most conservative voices in his party, said Obama is just now beginning to forge personal relationships with Senate Democrats, despite having served in the chamber before being elected president.

"Maybe he's just finding his stride now. It maybe hasn't been his style," Manchin speculated, noting that even in the Senate, Obama didn't develop close relationships with fellow lawmakers.

"When he first got here, people all around saw all the talent he had, and he was running from day one," he said. "So building those relationships, he never had a chance to cultivate them."

Manchin was speaking the day before Obama heads to Capitol Hill for a meeting with the entire Senate Democratic caucus, kicking off three days of meetings with the entire Democratic and Republican coalitions in both chambers of Congress. And last week the president invited a dozen GOP senators to dinner, part of a new effort to reach out to rank-and-file lawmakers who could help forge compromise on a host of legislative issues.

But while the attention is focused on Obama's meetings with Republicans, Democrats say they, too, want to develop better personal relationships with the president, and in doing so exchange ideas on how to better lead the country.

"I was very pleased to see him reach out to his collegues on the other side, and I would hope he would reach out to us as well," said Manchin, adding the tactic worked for him during his time as governor of West Virginia.

"He needs to accept that these people can all build relationships," Manchin said. "You don't have to invite us to dinner. We don't have to be out as much as some of them want to be, but we want to be heard."

He added later, "I think the people he's been able to cultivate relationships with have been true friends. I respect that. But there's a lot of us that like to work."

Filed under: Joe Manchin • President Obama
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat is right .

    Morning Joe / Donald Trump 2016
    Party like it's 1999

    March 11, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  2. Concerned citizen

    Just put R in front of your name, and be happy until next election!

    March 11, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  3. cbr

    Wasn't Joe the man who did not want Obama to stump for him during the last election. Now that he is there he would like the President to meet with Democrats. Does anyone tell these men and women that there is a two-way street. The Senate Democrats can send an invitation to the President, too if they wish to meet with him. Unfortunately, you would be able to hear the screams all over the country should President Obama meet with the Democrats. He would be accused of some evil because people in Washington have to be upset about something. They are never happy or content.

    March 11, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  4. Gonzo

    Beginning to forge personal relationships with members of his own party??? This guy is even more unfit to be an effective president than I thought he was.

    March 11, 2013 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  5. Jerry

    Oh, oh! Democrats speaking out against the Divider-in-Chief. You folks are going to be marked as outcasts and ridiculed. Are my fellow Democrats deciding the issues for themselves lately?! Wow, this are the best news I have had from my party in a long, long time. Are we NOT going to continue following like sheep?!

    Lets hear from more and more Democrats; particularly as the 2014 elections near.

    Hear, hear...

    March 11, 2013 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  6. ak_steve

    Give me a break. The Dems left Obama in droves during the election. There were not many Dems who ran for election that tried to align themselves with President. Now they cry he doesn't pay them any attention? Where were they when the President was getting a full onslaught of attacks from the GOP?

    March 11, 2013 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The president needs to talk to everyone. The problem is that the GOP didn't really want to talk to Obama in his first term.

    March 11, 2013 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |