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WALLACE: Democrat Robert Byrd held his West Virginia Senate seat for 51 years, longer than anyone who's served in Congress. Now it's up to Governor Joe Manchin to keep the office against a tough opponent, Republican businessman John Raese.
Joining us from Charleston, West Virginia is Mr. Manchin. We invited Mr. Raese but he declined.
Governor, welcome to "Fox News Sunday."
GOV. JOE MANCHIN, D-W.VA.: Thank you for having me, Chris.
WALLACE: I got to tell you, Governor, this is one of the strangest races, I think, in the country this year. You have...
WALLACE: ... a 68 percent approval rating from West Virginians. As a Democrat, you have been endorsed for the Senate by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Rifle Association.
But let's take a look at the numbers. According to the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls, you are leading your opponent, businessman John Raese, by just 1.5 points, basically a dead heat. And in fact, in some polls you're trailing him. Question: How come?
MANCHIN: It's a very competitive race. It's a different time. I can't explain it no more can you, Chris. But one thing about, I think, now this last week, people are starting to look at who's performed in West Virginia. Who's been here and who's fought the fights that we needed to change West Virginia?
And you know, we brought all sides together. Six years ago I said, when I became governor, I thought we could do better. I didn't want politics as usual, Democrats and Republicans fighting, or business and labor fighting.
I brought them all together and said, "Leave your politics at the door. Let's put West Virginia first and let's fix things." And we did it, and our state's in much better shape than most any state in the nation because of it.
WALLACE: Well, Governor, let me suggest one reason you may be in a tight race, and that is that while West Virginians apparently like you, they really don't like President Obama and his policies. He's got a 33 percent approval rating in West Virginia.
Your opponent says if elected to the Senate you're going to turn into, as he puts it, "Washington Joe" and turn into a rubber stamp for Obama. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN RAESE, REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR WEST VIRGINIA SENATE: You have to wonder -- wonder -- about Obama and Manchin and which direction that they're going. When you have people like Obama and certainly Manchin, you have to be concerned about the future of this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor, you can show your independence right now. Where do you disagree with President Obama's policies these last two years?
MANCHIN: Well, Chris, let me tell you this. I had to inform my opponent that President Obama's name will not be on the ballot for the U.S. Senate in West Virginia. It will be Joe Manchin.
People are looking at what I have been able to do by bringing people together -- Democrats, independents and Republicans. And we've been successful. They don't want to talk about the records whatsoever. They want to talk about guilt through association.
The bottom line is West Virginia -- West Virginia is a different -- when I say different, we are for family values. We are hard- working people. We have the best in the world. And with that being said, we're in much better shape.
President Obama -- cap and trade -- we just differ. We respectfully differ on that. He is -- I believe, in my estimation, he's wrong on that issue. West Virginians basically have always been patriotic, helping this nation, supplying the energy that the nation needs. We can do it better. We've always done it better. We've cleaned up the environment...
WALLACE: Other than cap and trade...
MANCHIN: ... in two decades more...
WALLACE: Excuse me, Governor, but other than cap and trade, any other areas where you disagree with the Obama policies?
MANCHIN: Well, his -- the health care reform is far overreaching in areas that I don't agree with -- the 1099 part of that, the mandates. Also, the firewall's not strong enough for abortions. I'm pro-life. And we're just a different type of Democrat here in West Virginia.
WALLACE: Let me get specific, and let's begin with health care. You now say, as you just did, that President Obama overreached on health care reform, especially the individual health care mandate.
But back just in March, when the bill was up in the House, you said if you were a congressman, quote, "I'd be for it. You have to move this ball forward." You said you would have been in the House as a Congressman, Governor, you would have voted for the health care reform bill.
MANCHIN: Yeah. Chris, health reform -- I am for health reform. I think every American should be for health reform, because you can't sustain it. In West Virginia, the most vulnerable people we have are people who get up every morning and go to work. They have usually nothing to rely to...
WALLACE: But individual...
MANCHIN: ... and they're...
MANCHIN: ... away from bankruptcy.
WALLACE: ... mandate was a big part of that bill, sir.
MANCHIN: Well, the bottom line is that the incentives should be created, the incentives for health care reform, basically so people can afford health care. You're not going to mandate and dictate to them.
And with the bill you're talking about, we were talking about the preexisting conditions. We have six or seven items that both Democrats and Republicans agree on. That's a pretty good start in West Virginia when you have a piece of legislation everyone agrees on.
Reaching as far as they did in the -- in the weeds of the bill that we didn't know about, no one else knew about until it came out -- knowing that, I would not have supported that or voted for that at that time.
The concept of preexisting conditions, children not being denied from being on insurances, or elderly people in West Virginia, if you have cancer or black lung, couldn't buy insurance -- I'm not going to say no to those people until I know we can fix what's wrong with them.
WALLACE: I just want to -- I just want to pin you down on this, though. You're saying now that if you'd known what was really in the bill, although last March you said you'd have voted for it, you now say you would have voted against it?
MANCHIN: Correct. Now, knowing the existence as far as how reaching it had been, as far as an onerous, I would have. And I think many people didn't know about the bill. It ends up, what, 2,000 pages or more.
Now, the concept was great as far as preexisting conditions. How do we make sure more people have affordable insurance? How do we take care of children, people with preexisting conditions, keeping children on insurances longer because of the market conditions?
There's a lot of good parts to it. Why won't we fix what's wrong with it and make it better?
WALLACE: OK. Let's talk about, as you did -- your first answer about differing with the president was about cap and trade, which, of course, is controversial in West Virginia, which is a big coal producer. You now say that you're flat-out against cap and trade.
MANCHIN: I've always...
WALLACE: Well, let's take a look at that. This is what you now say...
WALLACE: ... about President Obama, "He is dead wrong on cap and trade. It would be the ruin not only of our state of West Virginia but this entire economy for this country."
But, Governor, here's what you said just two years ago during the presidential campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANCHIN: Barack brings that leadership to us. He brings the partnership, coming from a coal state himself. Now, they're going to have to pay for the carbons, whether cap and trade or whether it's in the carbon tax.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor, it sure sounds like you favored cap and trade.
MANCHIN: Sure. No, never did favor cap and trade from the standpoint -- what we were talking about -- that's during the campaign. I had a lot of high hopes for President Obama, basically understood the balance of the environment and the economy and energy that was needed to be competitive in the global economy, Chris.
Twenty years ago we had what we called acid rain, if you recall. We were able to fix acid rain. We didn't tax coal. We didn't legislate or regulate coal out of existence. Coal basically transformed using scrubbers and technology, low Knox (ph) blowers. We can do the same thing with CO2.
They have to make sure that they're committed to getting the technology that fixes the problem. Cap and trade as they're proposing it right now -- why in the world would you allow nuclear or hydro or wind or solar to trade in credits when they don't produce any CO2? It doesn't...
WALLACE: But, Governor...
MANCHIN: ... make any sense.
WALLACE: ... why did you in that interview in 2008 say now they're going to have to pay for the carbons, whether a cap and trade or whether it's in a carbon tax?
MANCHIN: Basically, the users of the -- the users of the energy -- and that was the emitters -- let's say that the utilities for the CO2 -- whoever is emitting CO2, you have basically a parameter to fix it through technology.
We had -- and SO2 as far as acid rain. We had technology. We don't have proven technology. We have carbon sequestration, which we're doing in West Virginia. We can do with technology. We have the ability to use our coal and use it in a fashion that's more attractive from the standpoint -- we can help the rest of the world.
MANCHIN: China's using more coal than ever...
WALLACE: Governor, I want...
MANCHIN: ... than America, Chris.
WALLACE: I don't want to interrupt, but I do want to give you an opportunity to talk about your opponent, John Raese. You question whether he's even a legal resident of West Virginia, but his campaign says that he pays income and property taxes in your state.
MANCHIN: Chris, what we're talking about is setting your priorities. Where do you want to be? Where have you set your -- where have you, you know, really laid your claim? And where do you spend your time? And where do you try to fix the problems that we have?
My opponent and his family have a home and enjoy the homestead exemption in Palm Beach, Florida. I mean, that's pretty much known by everybody. And we're saying is all the income that's produced and all the income that's by the family being paid taxes in West Virginia supporting our state? Those are legitimate questions to be asked.
I can assure you that my wife and I -- every penny of income we've ever had, our taxes were paid in West Virginia. So people are going to look at the priorities. Who has the ability to bring people together, Democrats and Republicans, independents, sit down, working out the problems of West Virginia?
WALLACE: Governor, let me ask you...
MANCHIN: Who's been able to be successful at that?
WALLACE: Let me just ask you about one other issue, because you say that John Raese wants to do away with the minimum wage. His campaign says that he believes that government controls have made it harder for employers to hire young workers who have a high unemployment rate.
MANCHIN: Well, the minimum wage -- if he's talking about minimum wage, there's no cap on it, John. You can pay whatever you want to. But when you say you want to do away with it because it's not enough, no one's going to be fooled into believing that.
If you want to do away with it, that's because you want it to go lower. We have basically a basement or a floor, if we can, to protect people who depend on it, and a lot of them for their second jobs.
When you talk about the lasers in space, and in the Education Department, doing away with the Department of Education, but we're talking about 1,000 lasers, and 20 billion or more dollars, where are the priorities? And that's what we're talking.
There's a big difference between he and I -- me being involved in the front line of West Virginia, solving problems by bringing people together. We have a proven record. We've only seen John during the campaign and every time he's run. That's the difference.
WALLACE: Governor Manchin, we're going to have to leave it there. We want to thank you so much for coming in today. And safe travels on the campaign trail, sir.
MANCHIN: Thank you, Chris. Appreciate it very much.
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