Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., won’t say he’ll vote for President Obama this year. Now his state’s biggest newspaper won’t say it backs Manchin.
The Charleston Gazette, with a reported circulation of about 36,000, endorsed Manchin’s 2010 bid to serve out the term of the late Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va. But the newspaper said in an editorial on Tuesday that it will “leave it up to our readers to choose whether to support him in the current primary.”
Manchin last week told National Journal he is not sure if he will vote for Obama or presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney. “I’ll look at the options,” Manchin said, adding that the three years of Obama’s term “have made it pretty rough” for West Virginians.
The Gazette editorial calls Manchin “in some regards” a “DINO,” or Democrat in name only. It asks if the “former governor is on course to follow Connecticut's Joe Lieberman and register as independent."
On Sunday, Obama adviser David Axelrod, appearing on CNN's State of the Union, said that Manchin distancing himself from Obama is a political decision. “He was very candid there. His concern is about his own political well-being,” Axelrod said. “He's running for the Senate in that state. We didn't win the state the last time. It's going to be a tough state for us again, and he's making a political judgment about himself.”
Axelrod said he hoped “the country's interests will enter into [Manchin's choice] as well, and that ultimately he will be supporting the president.”