Tags: Joe Manchin

Ad Features GOP Candidate Shooting Obamacare Bill


Every Democrat and media commentator who objects to this ad running in Alabama, featuring GOP House candidate Will Brooke shooting a copy of the text of the Obamacare law, a.k.a. “The Affordable Care Act” . . . 

. . . will have to explain why they didn’t mind when Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) ran his ad of him shooting the cap-and-trade bill:

Note that in that ad, Manchin promised “to repeal the bad parts of Obamacare.” How’s he doing on that promise?

Tags: Will Brooke , Joe Manchin

The NRA Will Be Scoring the Background-Check Vote


As mentioned in today’s Morning Jolt, the NRA will indeed be scoring all of the upcoming votes on background checks and gun owners. But this doesn’t necessarily mean a full-scale divorce between the NRA and the background-check co-sponsors, West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey.

Wednesday evening, Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, issued a letter that indicated that yes, the proposal would be “scored” by the organization.

In addition, the NRA will oppose any amendments offered to S. 649 that restrict fundamental Second Amendment freedoms; including, but not limited to, proposals that would ban commonly and lawfully owned firearms and magazines or criminalize the private transfer of firearms through an expansion of background checks.  This includes the misguided “compromise” proposal drafted by Senators Joe Manchin, Pat Toomey and Chuck Schumer.  As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools.  Given the importance of these issues, votes on all anti-gun amendments or proposals will be considered in NRA’s future candidate evaluations.

Rather than focus its efforts on restricting the rights of America’s 100 million law-abiding gun owners, there are things Congress can do to fix our broken mental health system; increase prosecutions of violent criminals; and make our schools safer.  During consideration of S. 649, should one or more amendments be offered that adequately address these important issues while protecting the fundamental rights of law-abiding gun owners, the NRA will offer our enthusiastic support and consider those votes in our future candidate evaluations as well.

We hope the Senate will replace the current provisions of S. 649 with language that is properly focused on addressing mental health inadequacies; prosecuting violent criminals; and keeping our kids safe in their schools.  Should it fail to do so, the NRA will make an exception to our standard policy of not “scoring” procedural votes and strongly oppose a cloture motion to move to final passage of S. 649.

I still suspect that the NRA knows that Pat Toomey is probably the best ally they’re going to get elected statewide in Pennsylvania – and that they’re pretty happy with Manchin overall, too. Perhaps the pair are destined to go into future elections with a “B” grade from the organization. (Joe Manchin spoke at the NRA convention back in 2011.)

The deal reflects some basic political realities: Toomey was elected in 2010, and so he’ll next appear before the voters in 2016, a presidential-election year with high turnout. You’ve heard Pennsylvania described as Philadelphia on one side, Pittsburgh on the other, and Alabama in the middle, but the real battleground that determines statewide elections is the Philadelphia-suburb counties. As I summarized it last cycle:

[Republicans] are increasingly optimistic about Bucks County, where about 435,000 are registered to vote. Toomey won this county over Joe Sestak in the 2010 Senate race, 53.2 percent to 46.8 percent. But the other major suburban counties, Montgomery County (with 553,104 registered voters) and Delaware County (about 395,000 registered voters) are looking like tougher nuts to crack for Republicans this cycle, compared with Bucks County.

These are classic “soccer mom” suburban counties, and the Philadelphia Inquirer is a big media influence here. It is a tough corner of the state in which to sell an uncompromising stance on gun issues.

Toomey needs to be able to say that after Sandy Hook, he did his best to do something — particularly if or when, God forbid, there is another horrific massacre in 2016. Whether or not the bill passes is almost immaterial; he just needs to be seen by those soccer moms as a guy who tried his best to work out a bipartisan compromise to slightly lessen the odds of another massacre. As a Second Amendment fan, you don’t have to like that, but you do have to recognize it.

So when you see folks like Jacob Sullum write . . .

. . . it is hard to see a logical connection between the Newtown murders and the proposal offered by Manchin and Toomey. But that does not matter, because it makes them feel as if they are doing something to prevent such crimes. And isn’t that what laws are for, to make legislators feel better? President Obama certainly seems to think so. Notice that Manchin implicitly endorses Obama’s view that anyone who fails to support new gun controls does not have “a good conscience.”

The cold, hard truth is that yes, this and almost all legislation relating to guns is meant to make lawmakers and the public feel like they’ve done something. Because as we’ve all noted, the only policy that could have prevented Sandy Hook was confiscation of all privately held firearms. But when lawmakers in suburban districts go back and do their town hall meetings, they need to say either A) see, I passed “X” or B) I tried to pass “X.” They will get these questions the next time some lunatic goes on a spree-killing.

Anyway, Toomey summarizes:


The bill will not take away anyone’s guns.

The bill will not ban any type of firearm.

The bill will not ban or restrict the use of any kind of bullet or any size clip or magazine.

The bill will not create a national registry; in fact, it specifically makes it illegal to establish any such registry.

The bill will not, in any way at all, infringe upon the Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.

At Red State, Erick Erickson disputes that, contending that the way the bill is written, doctors can add their patients to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and suggests that they can be added for no real reason. 

The provision could spur a debate on just who should be able to determine if someone is psychologically imbalanced in a way that makes them a threat to others. As I have mentioned in previous Jolts, the only person who can currently place a person on the can’t-buy-a-gun list is a judge. If you see or encounter someone who behaves in a manner that makes you think they’re likely to go on a shooting spree, your employer, school principal, or university administrator can’t do a darn thing about it (other than involve law enforcement and try to get that person before a judge). Sometimes a psychiatrist can explicitly tell the police that her patient had confessed homicidal thoughts and was a danger to the public, as in the case of the Aurora shooter, and the police will do nothing.

Tags: Background Checks , Guns , Joe Manchin , NRA , Pat Toomey

NRA Convention Part Four: The Democrats


Democrat lawmakers do appear at the NRA Convention; local Rep. Jason Altmire offer

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., appeared in person, and as he turned up the folksiness to 11, it was easy to see the difficulty of the task that Republicans face against him. The NRA showed Manchin’s much-discussed campaign ad in which he shot a copy of the cap and trade legislation; moments later he admitted, “It took me a couple of tries to really hit in the sweet spot – but I did hit it!”

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Can see why Manchin does so well – easygoing demeanor, casual, seems authentic. He uses the words, “And I says,” instead of, “and I said,” when telling a hunting story.

Manchin also most directly addressed the perception that Democrats are the party of gun-grabbers. “There is a misperception that Democrats do not support the Second Amendment. But it is not a Democrat issue,and it is not a Republican issue. It is an American issue and it’s one we all should embrace.” Of course, the NRA grades tell a different story. Democrats from parts of the country that own plenty of guns, like West Virginia and Oklahoma, vote pro-gun while their counterparts from more urban states and districts do not.

There was an interesting, subtle contradiction from two of the Democrats.


I will defend the Second Amendment with good friend Sen. Jon Tester of Montana,” referring to one of the top targets of the GOP in the coming cycle.

He was followed by a taped message from Rep. Dan Boren, Democrat of Oklahoma and probably every conservative’s favorite member of that party. I note that Boren mentioned his work with “another strong supporter of the Second Amendment, Congressman Denny Rehberg of Montana.”

Of course, Tester’s expected GOP opponent is… Denny Rehberg.

Tags: Joe Manchin

Measuring GOP Effectiveness by Joe Manchin’s Jitters


In today’s Morning Jolt:

Man Up, Manchin!

I love Red State Democrats. They’re like Geiger counters for effective conservative arguments. The more they twitch, the more you know our stuff is working.

I guess I shouldn’t call West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who won office by depicting himself shooting the cap and trade bill, the, er, canary in the coal mine. “Freshman Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin accused President Obama of sitting on the sidelines Tuesday while Congress debates ‘wildly different’ budget bills that are expected to fail. ‘Our president has failed to lead this debate or offer a serious proposal for spending and cuts that he would be willing to fight for,’ Manchin, D-W.Va., said on the Senate floor.”

The Ace of Spades is tired of faux-fiscal-conservatism: “It’s kabuki theater arranged by the Democrats — their Senators in purple or red states must be allowed to pose, as they do every six years, as moderates, at least in the year and a half before an election. Joe Manchin says Obama has failed to lead on the deficit and cost-cutting. That’s nice. He will further vote against the Democrats’ $10 billion in cuts as unserious. And you know what else he’ll vote against? The Republicans’ plan to cut $61 billion. Which he says is ‘partisan’ or something . . . Expect this kind of deception from a lot of the supposed ‘moderates’ in the Senate.”

But Don Surber gives him a bit more credit: “Manchin is a fiscal conservative — Cato gave hims A’s when he was governor — and he is a good guy going back to when he was a back-bencher in the West Virginia Senate . . . Here in Poca, West Virginia, I’d say he is about as vulnerable as Bobby Byrd was. You know, occasionally politicians are sincere.”

Okay, Pollyanna!

Tags: Joe Manchin

An Extra Governor’s Race This Year, in West Virginia


Yes, West Virginia, you will have a special gubernatorial election this year:

West Virginia must hold a special election to choose a governor who will take office by Nov. 15, or within one year of when state Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin began acting as chief executive, the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a unanimous decision.

The justices rejected Tomblin’s stance that the West Virginia Constitution and state law did not set the next vote for the governor’s office until 2012 . . . [because] then-Gov. Joe Manchin had more than two years left in his term when he joined the U.S. Senate in November. Manchin had won a special election prompted by the death last year of Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

As noted earlier, for Republicans, former secretary of state Betty Ireland announced her interest in running at the end of the year, and state senator Clark Barnes also is expressing interest. On the other side of the aisle are a slew of West Virginia Democrats: “Tomblin; House Speaker Richard Thompson; state Sens. Jeff Kessler and Brooks McCabe, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant; and state Treasurer John Perdue.”

Tags: Joe Manchin , West Virginia

Candidate Raises Gun, Shoots Opponent Out of Midair in Ad!


Looks like some other folks remember Joe Manchin’s shooting ad.

Sen. Joe Manchin said his infamous “Dead Aim” political ad should not be connected to the tragedy that occurred over the weekend in Tucson, Ariz., but he doubts he would use it again now that the horrific event has occurred . . .

During a Monday afternoon conference call with reporters, he pointed to the fact that he wasn’t targeting a person, but rather a piece of paper in an ad that should be taken symbolically, not literally.

Here’s a web ad run by his campaign in which Manchin literally “shoots” his opponent, depicted as Darth Vader. I like Star Wars, and I like out-of-the-box campaign ads, but if we’re going to make an old map with bull’s-eyes or crosshairs into a national controversy, I don’t see why a web ad depicting a candidate shooting his opponent out of midair is considered completely okay.

If you think it’s silly to give Manchin grief over these old campaign ads, I concur. But it’s also silly to unleash the Metaphor Police on Sarah Palin.

Tags: Joe Manchin , John Raese , Sarah Palin

Speaking of Violent Images in Politics . . .


It’s time for politicians to stop using violent imagery in their political rhetoric, holding guns and proclaiming, “I’ll take on Washington and this administration and get the federal government off of our backs!”

The man firing that gun, of course, is West Virginia senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat. This ad is credited with helping him win last fall’s Senate election.

Tags: Arizona Shooting , Joe Manchin

Manchin Wins


In the first big disappointment for the GOP, if not quite a surprise, NBC is projecting Joe Manchin the winner in West Virginia. There may be a silver lining here for conservatives, as Manchin will either break his word on every campaign promise or become one of the chamber’s most conservative Democrats.

Also disappointing but not surprising: The projected victory of Chris Coons in Delaware.

GOP control of the Senate is not quite impossible to imagine, but just short.

Tags: Joe Manchin

What Is Influencing West Virginia and California Voters?


Sometimes, you can see a campaign shift on an issue that strikes you as wildly obscure, unimportant, and irrelevant.

Are Californians really going to elect a liberal fossil as governor because Meg Whitman’s maid pulled a publicity stunt with Gloria Allred?

Well, this morning Rasmussen puts Jerry Brown ahead by 6.

Are West Virginians really going to send another Democrat to the Senate because a firm hired by the NRSC looked for “hicky” actors?

Well, this morning Marshall University puts Joe Manchin ahead by 10.

One of the reasons Democrats thrive is that when they run a place for a long time — think the East Coast’s big cities, or New Jersey until 2009, or California (at least the state legislature) — they tend to enact policies that drive out those who oppose them. Some will object to counterproductive liberal policies at the ballot box, but many others will vote with their feet. Why do Democrats run Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Detroit? Because their policies have driven most who demand better out to the suburbs.

If these electorates really do make their decisions based on housekeepers and casting calls . . . those states will deserve what they get.

Tags: Jerry Brown , Joe Manchin , John Raese , Meg Whitman

Senate Democrats to Unions: You’re On Your Own, Pal!


One of my regulars observes: “Last night in a debate, Sen. Bennet in Colorado caved in on EFCA, or Card Check. Manchin did a complete 180 on EFCA last week. If these guys are telling the unions where to stuff it to save their hides, the rout is really on.”

The Denver Post: “After more than a year of equivocating on the Employee Free Choice Act, which would greatly ease union organizing, Bennet said: “I would not support the language in that bill.”

The Wheeling News Register:

Manchin said he does not support removing the secret ballot provision for workers, and that government has no place in dictating labor contracts.

Manchin called the secret ballot vote “the most precious thing you own.”

“I’ve said publicly that … we must retain the secrecy of the ballot. It’s your vote, and only you should have knowledge of how you do that,” he said.

Another provision of the proposed card check law calls for a government arbitrator to resolve contractual disputes between a company and a union.

“My response to that is that the government has no right to be involved in contractual disputes between an organizing body and the company they are working with,” Manchin commented. “That’s why you have collective bargaining. You sit down and bargain.

Tags: Joe Manchin , Michael Bennet

Joe Manchin Suddenly Decides to Sue the Obama Administration


Wow. How much does West Virginia Senate candidate Joe Manchin have to distance himself from the Obama administration? This much:

Gov. Joe Manchin has scheduled a press conference Wednesday morning where he is expected to announce that the state is filing suit against the federal government over the Obama administration’s crackdown on mountaintop removal coal mining.

Any more distancing and Manchin will switch parties.

October surprise!

Suggested new slogan for John Raese: Keep Joe Manchin where he is to continue his legal fight against Obama!

Tags: Joe Manchin , John Raese

Stephen Colbert Makes His Campaign Ad Debut


I love, love, love this ad from the mysterious Committee for Truth in Politics — a bit of background here, in a mostly critical article by NPR. It is, I believe, the first to feature Stephen Colbert’s testimony before Congress, just a quick photo.

Other than the specifics about the FBI investigation about Manchin, you could run a version of this against every incumbent Democrat in the country.

Tags: Dan Raese , Joe Manchin , Stephen Colbert

Raese-ing Ahead


Joe Manchin, the governor of West Virginia and the Democrats’ nominee for Senate, is sounding a full retreat calling for a partial repeal of Obamacare.

Why’s he running on such a Republican stance? What, is he trailing or something?

This morning, we learn… yes.


Republican John Raese has edged ahead of West Virginia’s popular Democratic Governor Joe Manchin for the first time in the state’s special U.S. Senate race.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely West Virginia Voters finds Raese earning 48% support to Manchin’s 46% when leaners are included. Two percent (5%) prefer some other candidate, and four percent (4%) are undecided.

Obviously, this is only one poll, but it confirms the close race portrayed by other recent surveys and suggests that like Connecticut, the momentum is with the upstart challenger, not the Democrat well-known from years of work in the state capital.

Tags: Joe Manchin , John Raese

In West Virginia, John Raese . . . Leads?


Even if Christine O’Donnell never comes close to beating Chris Coons, control of the Senate is still in play this year. Public Policy Polling gives Democrats perhaps one of their most depressing results yet this cycle:

PPP’s first look at the West Virginia Senate contest finds a very tight race with John Raese up 46-43 on Joe Manchin, a result within the poll’s margin of error.

The contest provides a fascinating choice for voters in the state who love their Democratic Governor but hate the party’s ranks in Washington DC that he would be joining.

Manchin is the second most popular Governor PPP has polled on all year, behind only Bobby Jindal, with a 59/32 approval spread. He breaks almost even with Republicans as 42% of them approve of the job he’s doing with just 44% disapproving. In a highly polarized political climate the list of politicians with that kind of crossover popularity is very short.

At the same time West Virginians couldn’t be much more down on national Democrats. Barack Obama’s approval rating in the state is just 30% with 64% of voters disapproving of him. Even within his own party barely half of voters, at 51%, like the job he’s doing. Support from Republicans (91% disapproval) and independents (73% disapproval) is pretty much nonexistent.

Yesterday Rasmussen found Raese down seven. Either way, this is a good chance for a GOP win in a state where Democrats thought they had it in the bag.

With this poll, John Raese leaps to the top, or near the top, of GOP Senate candidates who need help from the grassroots right now.

Tags: Joe Manchin , John Raese

Raese Still Has a Race, but Needs to Climb


It’s competitive, but not a toss-up. Rasmussen finds Republican John Raese trailing Democrat Joe Manchin in West Virginia’s Senate race, 50 percent to 43 percent.

It’s rather fascinating that 71 percent have a favorable impression of Manchin but only 50 percent want him to be their next senator.

Tags: Joe Manchin , John Raese

The Upset Special Continues to Look Close


Scott Rasmussen, in an interview Monday:

There are two races right now where I am very curious about what our next polls will show, one in West Virginia and one in Alaska. In both cases, I can come up with a logical argument as to why the numbers are the way they are; I can also come up with a logical argument as to why they show the race as closer than it really is . . . We have one poll out showing it a very competitive race. It’s clear that President Obama is not a welcome figure in West Virginia politics. But [Democratic nominee] Joe Manchin is so popular as governor that it was thought to be a safe seat. So that’s a potential upset special.

New from Rasmussen this morning:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in West Virginia shows Manchin with 50% support and Raese with 45%, when leaners are included. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate in the race, and three percent (3%) are undecided. The West Virginia race now moves from Leans Democratic to a Toss-Up in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Senate Balance of Power rankings. Less than two weeks ago, the first post-primary survey of the race moved it from Solid Democratic to Leans Democratic.

Tags: Joe Manchin , John Raese

Raese Within 6 of Manchin in West Virginia?


You have to consider Joe Manchin, the current Democratic governor of West Virginia and his party’s nominee, the favorite in that state’s Senate race. But Rasmussen finds the GOP’s John Raese not far behind, 42 percent to 48 percent.

In this environment, he could make up that gap. But I’m sure the NRSC is pleased to finally have competitive race in West Virginia.

Tags: Joe Manchin , John Raese

Wrapping Up Saturday’s Primaries


Saturday was Primary Day in two states.

West Virginia held its primaries for its special senatorial election; there were no surprises. Gov. Joe Manchin is the Democratic nominee, and John Raese is the GOP senatorial nominee.

Louisiana was a bit more interesting. There had been some rumblings that the scandals in Sen. David Vitter’s past would leave room for a serious primary challenge, and retired State Supreme Court Judge Chet Traylor took a shot. On Saturday, it wasn’t even close; Vitter won 88 percent.

Turnout was low on both sides, but there were actually more votes on the Democratic side, where Rep. Charlie Melancon won.

In Melancon’s seat, a big GOP pickup opportunity, most of the buzz had surrounded Ret. Gen. Hunt Downer. But on primary day, Jeff Landry came oh-so-close to avoiding a runoff, winning just under 50 percent. Their tooth-and-nail fight will continue; the runoff is set for October 2, leaving one month until the general election. The winner takes on Democrat Ravi Sangisetti.

Tags: Charlie Melancon , Chet Taylor , David Vitter , Hunt Downer , Jeff Landry , Joe Manchin , John Raese

Is Joe Manchin About to Take One on the Chin?


Joe Manchin, the governor of West Virginia who’s running for U.S. Senate, seemed to have a pretty easy road ahead of him. His GOP opponent — most likely John Raese — will try to tie him to President Obama, but Manchin is pretty popular in his state.

Well, it turns out there’s a bump in that road:

Gov. Joe Manchin‘s office confirmed today that state government officials have been contacted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office this week regarding an ongoing investigation. The target may be Manchin himself, according to a source who asked to remain anonymous.

According to Manchin Spokesman Melvin Smith, federal authorities contacted state officials for information regarding an ongoing investigation. Due to the sensitive nature of the investigation, Smith was unable to say more at the request of attorneys.

“The State is cooperating fully,” said Smith in a phone conversation.

According to the government source, Manchin was subpoenaed as part of a federal grand jury investigation. The subpoenas asked for contracts and records for businesses that have done work at the governor’s mansion as well as provided services for parties there. The investigation is into whether Manchin has complied with bidding and state contract requirements.

Perhaps this turns out to be nothing. Or perhaps this turns into a supremely inconveniently timed indictment.

Would this be a big issue in the Senate race? On the one hand, this is the state that kept reelecting Rep. Allan Mollohan to the U.S. House, no matter how dark the clouds of suspicion above him grew. On the other hand, Mollohan lost his primary earlier this year.

UPDATE: Ethical problems weren’t the sole reason Mollohan lost his primary, but I think it’s safe to say that support of Obamacare and ethics problems turned into a formula for defeat in his primary: 

Oliverio, who has spent two decades in the state Legislature, targeted Mollohan on ethics in his TV advertising. That appearance of corruption, in the context of the current national environment, tilted the race his way, sources said. 

Mollohan was investigated by the Justice Department last year for the rapid expansion of his personal wealth. No charges were filed.

Tags: Joe Manchin

Raese to the Top


John Raese is up with his first ad in the special Senate election in West Virginia this year:

He’s trailing the likely Democratic nominee, Gov. Joe Manchin, but as you can tell from the ad, President Obama is quite unpopular in West Virginia. If Raese can frame the race as an Obama ally vs. an Obama opponent, he’ll have a shot.

Tags: Joe Manchin , John Raese


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