Manchin Hedges on Backing Reid, Obama in 2012

Monday, 25 Oct 2010 05:27 PM

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After disavowing his support for Obamacare and cap and trade, West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin is taking his repudiation of Democratic mainstays to a new level, suggesting he might not back Harry Reid for Senate majority leader or Barack Obama in 2012. Manchin, though a well-liked governor, has been losing ground to the GOP’s John Raese in their Senate battle, burdened by the Mountain State’s loathing for Obama.

Manchin, Raese, West Virginia, election, 2010"That's such a hypothetical thing, but basically I think there's two more years that have to play out," Manchin told Politics Daily when asked if he would endorse Obama in a re-election bid. "Things have got to change. People will have time to evaluate and make a decision over the next two years and four years. I just think there's a lot of correction, a lot of changes, a lot of things that need to be fixed before I would say anything about anybody running for office."

If he were to take the Senate seat of the late Robert Byrd, Manchin declined to say whether he’d vote for Reid for leader – that is, if Nevada voters return Reid to the Senate instead of challenger Sharron Angle.

"I'm going to support the person who supports West Virginia and I'm not going to support the person who doesn't support West Virginia," he said.

Pushed by Politics Daily to say which description fits Reid, he defined support as an energy policy favorable to his coal-producing state. Reid and Obama’s energy reform bill would have capped carbon emissions, an expensive proposition for coal-fired power plants.

"This state has produced most of the energy for the East Coast," Manchin said. "We have produced the coal that's made the steel that's built the country and defended this country. We've done it all. We're willing to continue to do the heavy lifting, but if you don't understand that, don't look for my vote or support. I don't care who it is."

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