Senator Joe Manchin Bucks the Party Line on Obamacare

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To find the mitigated voices on Obamacare, look for the Democratic Senators in states that are trending red in the 2014 races, like Senator Joe Manchin (R-W.Va.). These men and women will not tow the party line — like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) did in an interview with a local Nevada TV station in December–and they won’t have the hardline repeal stance Republicans have taken.

Manchin appeared on CNN‘s State of the Union Sunday. When moderator Candy Crowley asked Manchin about Obamacare, he explained his wish to see the individual mandate implemented in 2015, not 2014. ”I’ve only asked for one thing. I said listen, I’m not worried about the glitches, computer glitches. We’ll fix that sooner or later. I’m worried about having the product that the market will buy,” Manchin said. Manchin’s views are key because of the politics of his state. West Virginia has two democratic Senators, Manchin and Jay Rockefeller. But Rockefeller has decided to retire, throwing an extra chance at scooping up a Senate seat to Republicans.

In 2012, Republican candidate Mitt Romney won West Virginia with 62.3 percent of the vote, President Obama picked up 35.5 percent. Manchin’s seat is not inherently safe, meaning he has to consider the political feeling of his constituents on volatile issues, health care included. Delay is a popular idea around the country. When a Washington Post/ABC News poll asked respondents if the mandate should be delayed, and 60 percent agreed that is should; 33 percent wanted the law to go into effect as scheduled.

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