WV Gov. Manchin, Once Positive on Health Care Bill, Now Says He Would Have Been a ‘No’

By Maya

Oct 12, 2010 1:23pm

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reports: These days Governor Joe Manchin seems determined to be the most anti-Obama Democrat in the land — who else has literally fired a bullet through a bill supported by the President? — but he can be at a loss of words when asked to explain his earlier support for President Obama on health care reform. In an interview on ABC News Top Line, Manchin was asked about positive statements he made last year about the President’s push for health care reform.  This is an exact transcription of what he said:  ”That was during, there is, you need health care reform,” Manchin said, suggesting he was being positive on the concept of health care reform generally, not the specifics of the proposal put forth by President Obama.  Asked if he regrets not being more critical of the bill as it came together, Manchin said he would have been a “no” vote on the bill if he had been in the Senate at the time.  ”You had to have health care reform, okay?  I never saw 2000 [pages of the bill].  I would not have voted on it towards the end,” Manchin said.  “They know I would’ve.”  At the time, Manchin did not say anything publicly to oppose the bill.  Both of West Virginia’s Democratic Senators at the time — Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller — voted yes.  But Manchin now says he would have demanded changes in the bill.  ”You know what I could’ve done? ‘You need my vote to get this kind of stuff that doesn’t make any sense to West Virginians, forget me.  You don’t have me on that.’” Looking ahead, Manchin says he won’t be afraid to stand up to President Obama and the White House leadership. “I will stand up against President Obama, the administration and any other president and administration when they’re wrong for West Virginia,” Manchin said.  Asked to explain why his once commanding lead over John Raese has disappeared in recent polls, Manchin placed the blame on anger with with Washington.  ”People are mad and scared,” Manchin said.  “I’m mad and scared with what’s going on in Washington. And it’s both Democrats and Republicans that are wrong.”

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