Democratic chairman 'not wild' about Joe Manchin for Senate ad

Senate candidate Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a Democrat, denigrated 'Obamacare' and shot a hole in the cap-and-trade bill. Democratic National Committee Chair Tim Kaine was not impressed.

Michael Bonfigli/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine appeared at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast with reporters on Thursday.

In an usual move for an election year, the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee criticized a video ad by his party’s candidate for the US Senate from West Virginia.

At a Monitor-sponsored breakfast with reporters Thursday, DNC Chair Tim Kaine was asked about an ad West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin released this week in his bid for the Senate seat formerly held by the late Robert C. Byrd. In the video, Governor Manchin fires a rifle at a mock copy of the “cap and trade” energy bill which died in Congress earlier this year.

Manchin, now in a tight race with wealthy Republican businessman John Raese, also says he would vote to repeal the “bad parts of Obamacare” using a critical term for health-care reform usually favored by Republicans. Mr. Raese has paid out of his own pocket for ads charging that Manchin would be little more than a “rubber stamp” for President Obama’s policies if he were elected.

When a reporter asked about the Manchin ad, Kaine replied, “I am not wild about it. I am not wild about it. I am not wild about it. The part that I most don’t like is, you know, fixing what is bad about Obamacare.”

Kaine then went on to point out that Manchin was taking a position opposed to the votes by Democratic West Virginia Senators Byrd and Jay Rockefeller. “He had two Democratic senators, very good senators, who voted for that bill and they voted for it because it probably has as much to offer the residents of West Virginia as virtually any state. If you look at health stats and things like that.”

In an apparent effort to take the edge off his critical comments, Kaine said, “But I know Joe very well. He and I did a lot together” when Kaine was governor of Virginia. “Joe and I have worked very well together. He has been a great governor and I think he is going to be a fine US senator, but I am not wild about the ad," Kaine said.

The DNC Chairman said he had not talked to Manchin about the ad. “I have not, no, I have been on the road,” he said.

When a reporter noted that Manchin’s ad featured “a big gun,” Kaine replied, “He is a hell of a shot.

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