The Washington Times - October 27, 2010, 08:44PM

West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, Democratic senatorial candidate, currently remains in a tight race against his Republican opponent John Raese for the open seat that was left vacant following the death of Robert Byrd.

Mr. Manchin addressed supporters in a Putnam County Fire Station on Tuesday night. Mr. Manchin carefully straddled both sides of the political spectrum, looking to capture votes in his Democratic home state that is wary of President Barack Obama’s White House administration. 

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When describing the economic struggles the country is currently facing, Governor Manchin distanced himself from the Democratic strategy Mr. Obama continually touts when he blames former President George W. Bush on the present day economic circumstances. 

“We’re in horrible shape financially. Meanwhile it isn’t any one party’s fault, and I’m not sitting here blaming any president and going back to whoever’s fault it may be,” Mr. Manchin said. “There’s enough blame to go around. They can take blame if they want to, because everybody’s at fault. Now you want to fix it, let me take what we’ve been able to do in West Virginia.” LISTEN HERE

However, the West Virginia governor wasted no time in attacking un-named persons when referring to outside campaign money coming into the state against him.

“There’s been more money spent from out of the state of West Virginia against us in the history of any election that we know of. More money has come from out of state. And it didn’t come, because they know who we are or thinking that they’re coming to help us. They’re trying to direct, to control, and to scare. We call it fear and smear,” he said.

“If someone can say something and has enough money to do it enough, they can scare you to believe that everyone is painted with the same brush. We’re all different. The state of West Virginia is a different state than the other states. These are all fifty individual states. That makes this terrific union, and this wonderful country called the United States of America and what I see going on is something I’ve never seen in my life. People are rooting for people to fail. They’re rooting for their country to fail. I don’t know where it’s coming from, but you can’t be that divisive. You can’t have that much hatred in your heart.”  LISTEN HERE

Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh was attacked by liberals in the beginning of Mr. Obama’s administration for saying that he hoped President Obama would fail. While liberals, took the remarks further and excoriated Mr. Limbaugh, accusing him of hoping the country would fail, the talk radio host, no fan of liberal policy agenda, made it clear he did not want to see the Obama agenda succeed not the country fail.

 I spoke with Mr. Manchin following his speech and asked if he would specify who he was talking about in terms of those who had “hatred” in their hearts and wanted the country to fail, but the governor went back to his default and tried to play both sides again by specifying he also meant to be critical of those who wanted George Bush to fail too. 

“I was referring to there’s a mean spirit, basically where people hoping that people fail in or that this country fails. When you hope that the leaders fail, whether that be George Bush when he was president, Barack Obama, or whoever our president may be, when you hope for people to fail rather than try to help and fix things, then you’re not really hoping for this country to be strong and I want this country to do so well.” LISTEN HERE

In March, the governor supported the president’s push for health care reform legislation, but as the race for West Virginia’s Senate seat began to tighten up, he modified his views some. I asked about where he currently stood up the repeal of the bill.

“The repeal of the health care bill has to be fixed. It doesn’t have to be totally repealed unless you try to fix it,” he said. “You have to repeal parts of it that we call amendments In West Virginia you fix things by taking things out that aren’t working or are not going to work or shouldn’t be in there, but you have your base that you work off of.” LISTEN HERE

Mr. Manchin gave a similar response to Real Clear Politics last month. However, the piece points out that few Democrats are taking this position on the repeal of the health care bill:

Few Democrats have called for repealing even parts of health care reform, although Arkansas Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln signed onto an amendment in August offered by Nebraska GOP Sen. Mike Johanns that would repeal a small portion of the law that creates additional paperwork for small businesses. Lincoln cast a vote in favor of the bill and now faces an uphill re-election challenge this year from Republican Rep. John Boozman.

The Governor still remains a target for his previous and present positions on the health care bill (h/t Ed Morrisey at Hot Air) as well as cap and trade legislation; however, he still maintains “I’ve been very clear on the things I agree on and the things I disagree on.” LISTEN HERE