Though Manchin was a popular governor who easily vanquished his Republican challenger in 2010 and 2012 to retain the Senate seat held by the late Robert Byrd, some political analysts think that the gun issue could haunt him.
West Virginia is a traditionally Democratic state thats become increasingly conservative. Democratic presidential contenders havent captured the state since Bill Clinton defeated Bob Dole there in 1996.
Its a balancing act for Manchin because West Virginia is a gun state, a hunting state, said Rex Repass, the director of the West Virginia Poll. He has his constituents and the national Democratic Party. West Virginia is at odds with the national Democratic Party on gun control. Thats the difficulty for him.
The National Association for Gun Rights recently launched a petition drive accusing Manchin of being a Washington gun-grabber, and it released a television ad that shows his visage morphing into Obamas.
Manchin responded with a video message on his YouTube account last week calling the gun groups charges against him a bunch of crap.
Ive not had any pushback, any pushback, when people know that the only thing that Im working on is should a criminal background check be made at the time of purchase, should a mental background check be made at the time of purchase," he said.
Attempts by Manchin foes to link him to Obama arent new. Republican John Raese, who lost to Manchin in 2010 and 2012, argued that Manchin would be another rubber stamp Democratic vote for the president in the Senate. But hes proved to be anything but.
Manchin offered a lukewarm response Monday to Obamas nomination of Gina McCarthy, whos now the EPAs assistant administrator in charge of air and radiation, to head the agency. She helped implement some of the administrations climate change-related policies, including the decision to close some power plants.
I have some very good and very honest straightforward questions of McCarthy, Manchin said. . . . Right now I would be a little skeptical and concerned. But I think it would be wrong to prejudge her.