WASHINGTON – Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) defeating Hillary Clinton in his state’s primary was the “craziest thing” he has ever seen, adding that voters must not have been listening to Sanders.
“Craziest thing I’ve ever seen. If they were mad at her about her energy — what she said — they must not have been listening to anything from Bernie — Bernie is leave it in the ground. Leave it in the ground, by God, touch nothing,” Manchin said at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s Fiscal Summit. “Bernie would shut it all down.”
Manchin was alluding to Clinton saying that coal companies are going to be put out of business, which she later walked back.
Manchin also said Sanders can’t pay for his campaign promises. The former West Virginia governor said he spoke with Sanders about his own experience with paying for college. After his son failed out of college his first year, Manchin said he told him he would not pay for college unless he graduated on time when he went back. Manchin said his son ultimately finished on time.
“I said if they take a full load and graduate in four years, we pay for it. They’ve earned it. They got something. I guarantee you, let my son go, he’ll enjoy the nightlife as long as you pay for it, but it doesn’t resonate with Bernie, that doesn’t make sense,” he said.
Manchin told the audience that President Obama wasted his mandate in 2009 by going right to healthcare reform as America began recovering from the financial crisis. He also charged the Obama administration with not having any plan to take care of the loss of coal jobs happening in “such an accelerated matter.”
“I don’t think anybody really cares. I don’t think anybody really cares about it and just says, ‘good riddance.’ It’s just awful,” he said.
Manchin also lamented the White House’s lack of outreach to the former governors in Congress for advice on financial issues.
“I would just say this to any new president coming in. If you have governors who are sitting in the body of Congress, bring them in, say, how did you work though some — we all had problems. How do you work through it? No one ever conversed with us, never asked us. Right now we have 5 D’s and 5 R’s and one independent. I don’t think any of us have gotten called,” he said. “We have a former governors caucus and I think we have a lot of insight and input we can bring to the table.”
During the summit, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) touted “pay-as-you-go” budgeting as a way to prevent the deficit from increasing since it requires new spending to be balanced with spending reductions.
“President Bush came in and threw PAYGO out the window – and I respect and love the Bush family, so it’s nothing personal – but threw PAYGO out the window, tax cuts for the high end, a prescription drug bill that gave away the store to the industry and two unpaid-for wars and the deficit turned around an $11 trillion swing, the biggest of any president to have that big a swing in the debt,” she said.
Pelosi was asked about Donald Trump saying he has a good relationship with her.
“Did he say that? I also read or see or something that he has contributed to me, which is not even true. He hasn’t said it,” she said.
“I’m respectful of the fact that Donald Trump has been — supposedly, we assume, been nominated — the people have spoken,” she added.
Pelosi said Trump was “a gentleman” when she first met him in his office years ago.
“He was a gentleman and lovely and all a sudden, it’s interesting, ” she said. “I have great faith in the American people; I think they’ll say we’ve had our fun, now let’s get serious.”
Pelosi told the audience she does not support superdelegates even though she is one. Sanders is behind in both the delegate and superdelegate count. Superdelegates are free to vote for any candidate at the Democratic convention.
“By the way, I am not a supporter of superdelegates,” Pelosi said. “I am one, but I don’t support them. I haven’t even endorsed yet because there should be no doubt that what the people say should be what the outcome will be.”