West Virginia Dem Declines to Endorse Reid, Obama

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"I'll take on Washington and this administration to get the federal government off of our backs," declares West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin as he loads his rifle in a new campaign ad (video below). The Democrat, who now faces tightening poll numbers, has publicly backtracked from his prior support of Obama's health care reform plan. And he has declined to endorse Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader or the president for a second term. Although Manchin is undeniably popular in his home state (his 68 percent approval rating was declared the highest "for any politician in the country in 2010"), the fact that he is a Democrat and has supported some of the president's policies has him perilously close to losing his bid.

  • Here's How Manchin Explains His Non-Endorsement of Obama  In an interview with Politics Daily's Patricia Murphy, Manchin hedges when asked if he will endorse the president for a second term: "That's such a hypothetical thing, but basically I think there's two more years that have to play out. 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."
  • West Virginia Loves Him, But He's A Democrat  CNN's congressional correspondent Dana Bash visits West Virginia and finds that "Democratic and Republican voters said they think Manchin has done a great job for this state. They note that he's lowered the state's deficit, showed compassion for the state's coal miners, and fought for the coal industry." But they also "are furious at Washington, and aren't sure they want to send a Democrat there, even the governor they really like." Even Manchin acknowledged this "stunning dynamic" in an interview with the correspondent.
  • Manchin's Now Painting Himself as Bipartisan  An Associated Press report observed that Manchin has been insistent in his approach to bipartisan "problem solving" and has touted "successes his administration has had to keep the state operating while others have been forced to curtail transportation projects, cut services and lay off employees." He is endorsed by the National Rifle Association, the United Mine Workers union and the West Virginia Coal Association.
  • 'What a Difference Seven Months Makes'  Hot Air's Ed Morrissey notes that "before he ran for the Senate, Manchin campaigned for ObamaCare’s package — and now he claims not to have read the bill or known about its taxes and mandates. That’s not the actions of an independent thinker, but of a mindless partisan....All Manchin had to do was pick up a newspaper and find out, for instance, that a significant group of Democrats had held up the bill over the federal funding of abortion coverage. Either Manchin is lying, or he’s nothing but a tool for Democrats."
  • 'He Is Changing Right Before Our Very Eyes' quips Don Surber at The Daily Mail. "Joe Manchin finds himself in the wrong party this year" and to be transforming into John Kerry circa 2004. He now appears to be "for Obamacare before he was against it." Still, Surber hedges, "don’t count him out" of the election just yet.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.