You don’t see this happen every day: on Fox News’s Special Report Tuesday, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer asked West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin to become a Republican.
Not surprisingly, the Senator declined Krauthammer’s request but did so with grace and charm.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Senator, the answer you gave on entitlements was quite at odds with what your party leadership would say. You're ready to make reforms and they really aren't. You've been appalled by the overreach of the EPA, particularly their war on coal in your state. You have real issues with ObamaCare and with a president who's run up the largest deficits in American history. You are a man who takes the deficit seriously.
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN (D-WEST VIRGINIA): Yes.
KRAUTHAMMER: So, my question is why don't you fess up and become a Republican?
MANCHIN: Well, there's still responsible Democrats around the country. [Laughs]
KRAUTHAMMER: Are there? [Laughs] Well, you're one of them.
MANCHIN: Sometimes, and you know
KRAUTHAMMER: Can you name three?
MANCHIN: [Laughs] I can name a lot of West Virginians. You know, it's just common sense. And you know, we've never put our colleagues in a difficult position. I've never tried to say something derogatory about my Republican friends. I've always tried to give them the benefit of the doubt and I've always tried to work with them.
I think it’s, I believe deeply in my Democratic roots as far as a West Virginian, might be a little different than the Washington Democrats, but it's a true, hardcore West Virginia Democrat values, and I respect my Republican friends who have their strong West Virginia Republican values. We've always put our state first, Charles. We can't understand, if you've got such a problem as the debt, and we know debt, crippling debt will destroy you, and the decisions we're making on the, Bret as you mentioned, on the retirement, on the COLA adjustment for retired service people…
BRET BAIER, HOST: Military, yeah.
MANCHIN:…yeah, you hope that never have to be made. You make that because you make cowardly decisions when you have unmanaged debt. So, you've got to come together and say this is greater than our party, this is greater than me politically or my senate future. It's for the country.
KRAUTHAMMER: But let me ask that in a less confrontational way. I understand your roots, they're Democratic, of course, but wouldn't you say given the view that you have of the world, of governance, your values, and how government ought to be run, wouldn't you see them as closer to what the Republicans are advocating than what your own party does?
MANCHIN: I think mine's pretty much, I'm right in the middle. I'm centrist, as about as centrist as you can get. I’m you know, I don't begrudge anybody for the stance they take. I'm very fiscally responsible and conservative. I'm socially compassionate. And I don't always go to the bottom line. I always root for the underdog. So, whatever that makes me, that's what I am. The bottom line is, I've never gotten anything done by calling my colleague a name or a derogatory or putting them in a box they couldn't get out of or sending them home unprotected. Leadership can't let that happen.