Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Joe Manchin floats Mitt Romney as a potential running mate as he weighs a presidential bid

By 37ci3 Feb15,2024

CLEVELAND – Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., danced around his interest in the startup. third-party presidential nomination Thursday here, but if he confirmed his potential running mate.

“Hypothetically, if I were running, who would I really ask Mitt Romney,” Manchin said, recognizing the Republican senator from Utah.

Manchin also said he would consider former Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman as a running mate.

“Rob is a dear friend of mine,” Manchin said. “What a good man.”

Manchin offered some sharp criticism of President Joe Biden during a breakfast at the City Club of Cleveland — part of a nationwide “listening tour” following his decision not to seek another term in the Senate. The tour, which includes a stop in New Hampshire last month ahead of the state’s first-ever presidential election, has fueled speculation that Manchin may mount an independent or third-party campaign for president. He is associated with No label organization’s effort to buy a bipartisan ticket.

City Club CEO Dan Moulthrop, who moderated the forum, repeatedly pressed Manchin about his intentions for 2024 — and Manchin repeatedly dodged, giving offhand answers and outlandish suggestions. During an audience question-and-answer session, one participant tried again, asking who Manchin believed his Democratic challenger would be if he were to run for president.

“Guys, listen, I’m not running for anything,” Manchin responded. “I’m mostly trying to get people involved.”

Afterward, Manchin admitted to reporters that he is not ruling out a White House campaign.

“A third-party run, it’s all on the table,” Manchin said in response to a question from NBC News. “Nothing is off the table. I still appreciate it all. Super Tuesday [March 5] it would almost be the deadline that tells you where you are.

Manchin’s daughter created the group Americans Together, which could be a vehicle for such preparations. The senator’s visit to Cleveland was part of a new series of appearances that will include Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday. Mancini is also scheduled to apply Detroit Economic Club on February 26 — the day before Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary.

More than 150 people attended the event at the City Club, which bills itself as a “fortress of free speech” and is known for requiring its speakers to take unscripted questions from the audience. From Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump, all the presidents of the United States have spoken in front of the club.

Thursday’s event drew a bipartisan audience. Among those on hand were former Cuyahoga County Republican Party Chairman Rob Frost and Cleveland City Councilman Danny Kelly, a Democrat and longtime labor leader. After breakfast, Manchin met privately with Albert Ratner, a longtime Cleveland real estate developer and power broker who has donated to candidates in both parties.

Manchin tapped Biden several times. He complained that Biden had gone “so far to the left,” while praising Biden for moving more to the political center on border security, while criticizing his policies.

“First of all, if you want to blame Joe Biden, he’s absolutely to blame for opening the border and making it where we are today,” Manchin said. “And I told him I disagreed with him from day one.”

Manchin, 76, also joked about Biden’s age, which has become a major focus for voters. Special Prosecutor Robert Hur recently described Biden, 81, as an “old man with failing memory” in a report explaining why he declined to impeach the president over his handling of classified documents.

“He’s a little bit older than me,” Manchin said of Biden during the forum.

Moulthrop interjected, “You were like a freshman when he was a senior?”

“Pretty much,” Manchin replied.

Later, when asked by a reporter about Hur’s report and whether he found Biden to be mentally sharp, Manchin said he had no problem communicating directly with Biden or Trump.

“If you’re going to rely on memory, your vote, and those are your two options, we have a problem,” Manchin said. “When the president makes a mistake and calls the president of Egypt and identifies him as the president of Mexico, and then you have Donald Trump say that Nikki Haley is Nancy Pelosi, you have a problem.”

“But if you’re based on character,” Manchin said, “I think that’s a no-brainer.”

Manchin later clarified that he meant Biden was the better of the two.

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By 37ci3

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