The Daily Mail editorial board will be meeting with the two candidates running to represent West Virginia in the U.S. Senate for the next 6 years.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is again facing Republican businessman John Raese in the race for the seat. The campaign is a rematch of the 2010 Special Election, in which then-Gov. Manchin defeated Raese to serve the remainder of late Sen. Robert C. Byrd’s six-year term. Manchin defeated Raese by 53 to 43 percent in the 2010 election.
We’ll be live blogging and live video streaming the meeting between the two candidates beginning at 10 a.m.
Okay, that’s the end of our time. You can always watch the video above online to see this again. Tomorrow, we’ll be meeting with candidates for WV governor.
Manchin: Said the team he supports is WV’s and America’s team. Said you have to send people to Washington who are willing to sit down together and work to make change. Said you can’t send someone who is ideologically opposed to working together for change. “The bottom line is do you want to send someone to basically solidify a position on one or the other?” Said he will always represent WV values.
Editor pointed out House has passed legislation, but Senate hasn’t – Manchin pointed out that he’s supported efforts to pass that policy. “You have to have democrats and republicans working together.” Raese said it’s still “Joe’s team” that sets the agenda, “his team is not with West Virginia.” Problem won’t be alleviated until GOP is in control in the Senate. “Joe’s been there for 2 and a half years, has anything change? No.”
Manchin: “Not one lump of coal has been affected because of that piece of legislation.” The coal price increase that happened was not caused by that legislation. Said Washington shouldn’t be doubling down on coal industry so that when market conditions make the use of coal for power generation more favorable it can’t be used. Said he’s supported legislation to roll back regulatory timelines. But he said federal government is continuing to work against them.
Raese: Anytime the government tries to micromanage business and capitalism, it’s bad, “and that’s what this bill does.” (Referring to the bill passed under Manchin administration. “When you control energy, like Joe has, you control production. and when you control production, you control people. And this is a prime example of socialism.” Said the bill drives the price of energy “out of sight.” Said John Amos, “is the next (power plant) you’re going to see in an amount of trouble,” under administration regulations coming down the pike. “its coming, but you cant sit here and listen to someone who will say they are pro-coal when they have a background of supporting House Bill 103.” (The bill he’s referring to.) Even though WV Coal Association supports the bill, he said they followed like “lemmings.”
Manchin said that bill had bipartisan support, including more support from the coal industry. Said these changes were Bush-era EPA changes. Said it was an approach to reduce emissions, and though it was supposed to go into effect in 2025, plants are compliant today. “We’re trying to show an all-in policy, and we’re the only state to do that. And we were showing that coal can be a part of that.” “We’ve showed you that we can reduce the emissions, and the environment and the economy can work together.” Said what people missed in mountaintop and strip mining fights, they could have built an agricultural economy in southern WV, which would have supported industries. “We’ve got to be visionary and think ahead.”
Raese: said Obama certainly hadn’t earned WV’s votes and won’t get them in November. But pointed out Manchin’s legislation that he called “West Virginia’s version of cap-and-trade.” When I look at a bill like this, and it has credits for alternative, and credits for renewables…you would have to wonder about his committment here in the state…it’s the only producing cap-and-trade bill in the US.”
Rephrased question – do you think President Obama has earned West Virginia’s vote: Manchin said, “I don’t think he’s earned West Virginia’s votes, I can assure you.” Said attitude toward energy policy was clear on that. “The War On Coal is real, I mean that with all my heart.” Said EPA was a directed attempt to stop Appalachian coal industry. And would that change with Romney, “When a person says this kills.” said he can’t say it would.
Asked if anyone will have another ad featuring a gun: Raese said he focuses more on ideology. Manchin pointed out that both him and Raese both want what’s best for the state, and that government be held accountable and be by the people and for the people. “We may have a different approach of how we get there, but we both know where we want to be.” Said Washington doesn’t understand that cooperative spirit.
Off-the-wall question about haircuts: Raese joked, “I don’t have to cut my hair.” Manchin now telling us the story behind the ad and Flowbee that Zack Harold wrote about a few days ago. Manchin said he got a Flowbee cut just a few days ago. “Sometimes campaigns, you need a little bit of light and humor…sometimes people want a little break, and that’s what that was.”
Raese: Said WVU does not need lobbyists in DC. “We have to cut down the cost of spending at West Virginia University.” Said WVU now buying property, taking away from the private sector. Said WV children should be educated at affordable rates. “Just look at what the price of a ticket is for someone to go see a West Virginia football game.” Said they should have educators for children, not build monuments and go into private sectors they should be. Said WVU was located in WV not Washington DC.
Manchin: said if Jim Clements or anyone at WVU can call him directly. “I would never spend money needlessly, unless they’re doing other things.” Said he’s not sure why they’re needing them — be it for grants, research dollars. “They don’t need to spend money for my account, that’s for sure.
New topic: Should WVU have paid lobbyists in Washington?
Raese said Reid said coal kills people, to which Manchin replied, “Romney said the same thing.”
Manchin: “I’m a proud WV Democrat, I’m not a Washington Democrat.” Said he gets support from both sides, “Because they know they can work with me – there’s no quid pro quo.” Said there was no strings attached to Reid’s donation. “I haven’t committed to anything except fighting for WV.” Said McConnell recruited Raese, to which Raese said, “Nobody recruited me.”
Raese: said he’s had no funding from Romney or PACs, but said Reid PAC donated $5,000 four times to Manchin’s election. “That’s a member of the team.” Said Boxer on energy committee is another member of the team. Said while Manchin may not agree, he has to play the game. “He’s got a scenario where he’s got to perform in that direction, and he has.” Raese said 5 new Republican senators would turn the balance to the GOP in the Senate.
Manchin: said Clinton had asked delegates to unite and support the party at the DNC. Said there is now an ad out where Romney says a coal plant kills people. “We don’t have anyone out there right now.” Said that’s why he was more optimistic in the change of leadership on energy committee in Senate. “I’m willing to work with whoever is elected.” Said there are a lot of people with problems with choice between Romney and Obama.
Raese: Said he doesn’t understand that philosophy. Said Manchin supported Obama’s Democratic nomination in 2008 as a DNC superdelegate. “I have an old adage, if it looks like a duck, and it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck…and I can tell you, he supports Barack Obama.”
Manchin: said he shouldn’t be supported or opposed because of who he’s going to vote for president. Said he will continue to put WV first. “I’m disappointed with both, truly both candidates we have right now.” Doesn’t like Romney’s idea of trickle-down approach. “And when it comes down to it, I’m very disappointed with President Obama for not taking the mandate that he had when he got elected in 2008″ to fix the problems the country was facing. “There’s two things you never waste in a political arena: a mandate and a crisis, and he had both of them.” Said he missed opportunity to fix that. Said that no matter who the president is, there will be a change in the energy committee in the Senate. Both potential leaders were brought here and saw effects of energy policy in the state. “I am totally in disagreement” with administration’s energy policy. “I don’t feel compelled to say” one way or the other who he will vote for president, and will continue that until election day.
Raese: Romney, because of Obama’s debt policies, quantitative easing is printing money beyond belief at the Fed. Obama demonstrated he doesn’t have the backbone to lead the country. “He is a neighborhood organizer, what is that? Mitt Romney on the other hand is someone who has a business background who has signed the front of a check….he believes in personal responsibilities” Said the country is at a crossing point with debt beginning to exceed GDP. Said Obama has had four years of utter failure and it would be “ludicrous” if he was re-elected. “We’ve got more people who are riding the wagon that pulling it, and we’ve got to stop it.”
Question: Who are you voting for president and why?
Manchin: “My team is team West Virginia – that’s the only team I’ve ever been on.” Said he was correct that Reid and Obama opposed Bowles-Simpson, but so did Boehner and McConnell. “It was politics at the highest level.” Said, “Ronald Reagan was a great president — he had a Democratic Congress. We benefited when Ronald Reagan worked with Tip O’Neil.
Raese: In reference to Bush tax cuts, said Manchin voted not to extend them, “which is a direct tax hike, not only on the wealthy, but a direct tax increase to 22 million small businesses across the country.” Said as a small business owner, “I am taxed to oblivion.” Said Harry Reid and Obama will not look to correct this. Said if you look at Bowles-Simpson, according to Grover Norquist, there are $5 trillion in tax increases embedded in that. Said Manchin talks a lot about “fair share…I think I’ve paid my fair share.” Said the top 10 percent take care of 70 percent of the country. Said they need a Reagan-like solution, not an Obama-like solution to get an economic recovery. Said Manchin has to work with that team, and said Obama is an anti-capitalist.
Manchin: “I just believe there should be a fairness to the system.” Said capital gains are being used for passive income and should be taxed fairly. Said it wasn’t fair that Romney or Warren Buffet can be taxed at 12-14%.
Re tax cuts – Manchin said he voted in a way that 99% of West Virginians wouldn’t have a tax increase. Said Republicans don’t want to talk about raising revenue, Democrats won’t talk spending reforms. Said US has done a great job of spending and wasting, but not investing in infrastructure. Said US needs tax reform, tax code, “was antiquated for the 21st Century,” said it hinders growth and is inherently unfair in that it overly benefits the wealthy. Said they should strip deductions and offsets in the code, loopholes that offshore corporate operations. “I’ve never voted and will not vote to increase the taxes, what I want to make sure is that we can collect the taxes.” Said Congress can reduce the rate for everyone if they just eliminate the loopholes that are commonly exploited. “Those things need to go away.”
Manchin: On Bush and 2006 Congress, “George Bush in 8 years never vetoed one spending bill” Only veto was stem cell funding. Re: Rand Paul, said he supported it at first when it was to penalize Pakistan for incarcerating doctor who helped US catch Osama bin Laden. But said the bill got expanded beyond that. Was expanded to the point where if Palistinians held demonstration in front of US Embassy in Isreal it would cut off funding to Isreal — which no one wanted. “It was a flawed bill.” Said they didn’t have chance to fix it, so they voted against it.
Raese: Pointed out on balanced budget, while Clinton was president, Congress was in Republican control. Democrats in Congress controlled from 2006 to 2008 under Bush. “Out of $16 trillion in debt and deficits…Democrats ran up $8 trillion.” Said that Obama put together Bowles-Simpson, but didn’t listen to it. Said that if Obama has no interest in it and he’s the team leader and therefore not interested in solving that problem. Said Obama was leader of Manchin’s team. Also said that Defense is the number one responsibility of anyone in government. Said North Korea and Iran are immediate threats, and also the fact that Libyan ambassador was killed in terrorist attack — “The fact that we send these countries $4 billion in foreign aid, that’s where I’d start cutting.” Said Sen. Rand Paul put up effort to cut that aid off, failed 81-10, with Manchin voting to kill it. Also went back to strategic missile defense, even though he got flack in 2010 for “1000 lasers in the sky” comment, it is needed because it works.
Manchin: Said Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan came together and thought they fixed it. But now we see they have to go back in and fix it. Said 55% of West Virginians depend on Social Security and Medicare. “I’m open to sitting down with all the Republicans and looking at reforms…I’m ruling out right now going to privatizing or going to a voucher system.” Said state’s PERS system was solvent because they “didn’t give away the farm….You’ve got to make sure you control the benefits with the amount of money coming in. Government hasn’t been good at controlling the benefits.”
Manchin said he would cut some defense spending, and reform entitlements. “I disagree with Paul Ryan on the voucher system and privatizing Social Security.” Said the financial collapse in 2008 proved why that couldn’t happen. Same thing happened with WV teachers’ retirement fund in 1990s. “I will fight to protect the core values of Social Security and Medicare.” Said CBO said waste costs were high, and that’s a place to cut long-term costs.
Manchin: Said debt is unsustainable. Didn’t want to blame people, because that won’t fix things. “I would like to think we’re all on the same team, which is America.” Said there was balanced budget in 2001. “We took that balanced budget and turned it into one of the greatest deficits in 10 years.” Said he can’t just blame Bush or Obama, who didn’t make change that was promised. “I think change would have been to get your finances in order.” “The bottom line is we’ve got to have this country coming together, you can’t do that with people pushing us apart.” Said they have a responsibility do what’s good for the country. Re debt: “If we continue down this road, just to service our debt will consume us.” Said Bowles-Simpson was the only bipartisan approach to fix the problem. Said war in Afghanistan, “we should have been out of there a long time ago…We’ve lost 2,000 Americans in Afghanistan.” Said in war on terror shouldn’t let eye get off the ball. Said Dept of Defense could reduce contractor use. Pointed out US spends more on defense than the next largest 15 countries combined.
Raese: Just a “moment of clarity” said not one Republican supported the ACA. Back to $16 trillion debt, “The number one, the very first thing is I would end Obamacare.” Said that would eliminate $2 trillion. “Then we have to look even further, we have to look at departmental cuts” Said Dept. of Ed. was “$80 billion boondoggle.” Said Dept of Energy needs to go. “These are large departmental takes, and we need to take them down and eliminate waste.” Said we need to start growing economy and start lowering regulations, lowering taxation, less printing of money and see stronger dollar which will make US more competitive. “Energy and private property — the cornerstones of our economy — are under attack in spades by this President.” Said he knows energy business, “I’m keenly tied to these businesses…we can’t face the amount of regulations coming out of Washington.” Said he hated to remind Manchin that he was a part of government. “I’m doing this for my children, my grandchildren and a better country,” said government needs to be run like a business.
New question on the deficit: How you think that should be addressed without harming the economy?
Manchin: What he really said was wrong in the bill: “It does not have personal responsibility.” Said people should be accountable for their health decisions. “Make them be accountable for their actions.” Said they tried reforms as a state, but couldn’t get federal government to mandate it.
Manchin: “By saying we have the best healthcare — absolutely accurate, if you can afford it, that’s the problem.” Said there are no incentives to live a healthy lifestyle, healthy people can’t negotiate good rates with insurance companies. “We just have a difference of opinion. If you have Republicans and Democrats who agree on a foundation of repair, then repair it.” Said can’t go down option Raese mentioned of just repealing it, given the rate of health care cost inflation. “Very seldom do we have people on both sides who agree on everything,” said even Romney and Obama agree on foundation. “If you can strip the rest, that’s okay, just give me a foundation to work off of.”
Raese: Said when Harry Reid said coal is a problem and makes people sick, “well, that’s Joe’s captain.”
Said US has best healthcare system in the world. And said Ted Kennedy wants treatment, he doesn’t go overseas. (Note: Ted Kennedy is dead.)
Said when people on medical teams want to quit when they implement “socialism” in the system, it won’t work. Said need to preserve the relationship between doctors and patients, not get government involved. “This is the greatest health care system in the world, bar none, to turn it over to the federal government and Barack Obama…it’s as wrong as it can be.” Said to get rid of “Obamacare,” they can use tool of reconciliation in the Senate, that only requires a majority. “If we can have reconciliation, we can eliminate Obamacare.” Said health care act would make horrible situation of $16 trillion in debt and make it worse.
Manchin: said there’s 53 Dems in the Senate, and they would need 60 to get anything done. “When you have the leader of the Republican party say my main goal in 2010 was to get rid of Barack Obama” said it was ridiculous the politics at work.
Re the Affordable Care Act, Manchin said “we know that money doesn’t fix the problem.” Said US ranks poorly in many rankings. Said Medicare, Social Security are facing future insolvency – “We know that health care needs to have something done….when you have Republicans and Democrats agree — and Romney and President Obama agree” on pre-existing conditions, eliminating donut hole and other provisions. “Democrats and Republicans agree on that, but everybody’s saying to repeal it” said no one’s put a plan on the table to replace it. Said he agreed with Justice Roberts’ decision “wholeheartedly” on Medicaid expansion facing states. “I just think basically we have a template for moving the ball forward…to go backward and have a toxic atmosphere, I don’t think we can get anything done.”
Manchin: “That’s why you should send me back, so there can be a good Democrat in Washington, DC.”
Raese: Said Congressional Quarterly said Manchin voted with Obama 87 percent of the time. Said Manchin had a chance to repeal and defund “Obamacare” which he said CQ said was going to be a $2 trillion spending increase, hands over 20% of private sector to the government. Said Manchin campaigned that he would vote against the health care act, “But what did he do when he became Washington Joe, he voted as a member of the team.” Said Manchin has been a “member of the team” against WV coal industry. Said Manchin took $20,000 from Harry Reid’s PAC. “When I look at the scenario, I don’t see a conservative, I see a team member…there’s a lot of good Democrats in WV…there’s not a good Democrat in Washington, DC”
Manchin: said he’s been rated a moderate and thinks down the middle. “I look at the issues, I don’t vote party lines…” Said he won’t vote against anything that hurts WV. Said he voted against a continuing resolution, said there should be a budget. Hated the idea of kicking the can down the road. “I think if you look at my voting, I’m the most centrist one there.”
Asked the difference between the two to answer Raese criticisms.
Manchin: My roots are deep. Believed in taking care of those in need, but didn’t support redistribution. “I’m not going to take from you and give to them.” “I’m not changing, I’m a proud WV Democrat — I am not a Washington Democrat.”
Question: some people think you’re more a Republican or Democrat, what makes you one?
Manchin, when asked about his Democratic philosophy: “I’ve never been called a liberal – I’m a fiscal conservative and a social moderate.” Said people like Raese try to define him by who they think he is, “But that’s not right.” “I always remember my grandfather telling me, you want to help people, you need to keep yourself financially strong.” Said that drove him when he was swore in as Governor in 2005. “We’ve done everything to get our state back,and it fared well for us.” Said on social issues, he believed in Social Security, like FDR, he believed everyone should be able to retire if they work for it. But it expanded beyond intentions. Said Medicaid was “not intended to be generational welfare.” But said origin of the program was good to help people as they get back to work. Said Bush was bad for increasing debt, and Democrats expanded it. “There’s room to blame everybody.”
Follow-up to Raese, why are you a Republican: “I think it’s my civic duty…I always tell everyone I’m a conservative first.” Said there were good Republicans and good Democrats. On getting elected: “You have to be able to get your point across to the public and sell it.” Said he differs from other Republicans, specifically Capito on issues, but party is a big tent. “We believe in less taxes, less regulation, less printing of money and high personal freedoms. We think smaller government is better, we believe in capitalism…we believe that government is not solution, but government is the problem.”
Raese: “My life started a lot like Joe’s life, and I think we got into this for the same reason – to help.” Said he served in the realm of “free enterprise.” Described Manchin as a “good Democrat,” but said there were a lot of bad Democrats in DC. “Joe has a situation, Joe’s on the wrong team.” Cited the Affordable Care Act and tax regulations – “He has to be a Democrat, he has to play the game and play with the guys on his team….once you are a Democrat in Washington, you are a Democrat plain and simple.” Said people like Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer need taken out of the Senate. Called WV Coal Association a “shallow organization” for endorsing Manchin recently – said Manchin re-election will translate into support four more years of Barack Obama if he’s re-elected.
Manchin: Talked about his introduction to politics: “I basically wanted to fix things. I thought we could do better as a state, and I thought being involved in the House and Senate was the way to do it.”
Talked also on his term as governor, fixing problems like workers’ compensation: “We proved that we can work together.”
Said brought philosophy to the U.S. Senate, and said they must put politics aside to fix the country’s problems, specifically the financial crisis facing the federal government with regard to the budget.
Good morning! We’re under way – asking candidates to give a brief introduction.
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