The first Democrat to publicly support CIA director nominee Gina Haspel said Wednesday she is "the real deal."
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., appeared on Fox News a short time after he attended Haspel's open and closed confirmation hearings with the Senate Intelligence Committee and said Haspel is a solid candidate to lead the agency.
"I've met with her twice personally and had a lot of in-depth conversations, and she's been in an open hearing, which you saw on television today, and then we went into a closed, high-profile meeting. She answered every question," Manchin told Neil Cavuto. "This lady is the real deal. We hit her with everything we possibly could, she answered, didn't flinch at all."
Haspel, he said, is "a role model of how you should run your intelligence agency" and is "a person who has respect from everyone out in the field."
"I encourage all my colleagues to sincerely vote for this lady because she is the best."
During an earlier television appearance, Manchin expressed his thanks to Haspel for her contribution to America's war on terror "on behalf of every West Virginian in the country."
Haspel has faced criticism because she ran a secret CIA prison in Thailand that housed high-value terror detainees. Two of them were tortured at the site, which at the time was legal under a Department of Justice decision.
Manchin also weighed in on West Virginia's primary elections this week. He beat challenger Paula Jean Swearengin in Tuesday's Democratic primary and pushed back on Cavuto's assertion that he is one of the most vulnerable Democrats running for reelection in the fall.
"I've been down this road before. In 2012, Barack Obama got beat by Mitt Romney in West Virginia by 35 points. I won reelection by 25 points," Manchin said. "That's a 60-point swing. It's unheard of. The bottom line is, they don't look at me as a Democrat, they look at me as a West Virginian."
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