By Ry Rivard
Raese, for instance, opposes the minimum wage law, arguing the market is the best decider of wages. Manchin has used this position against Raese in a recent attack ad.
"The minimum wage is not what got the country in trouble. That shows you the biggest difference he and I have on everything," Manchin said Sunday.
At the same time, Manchin said the Obama administration may have "overcorrected" and "overregulated."
The actual causes of the financial meltdown are now considered to be varied, but the major causes seem to be complex financial deals that looked good only on paper and government-led pushes to keep interest rates low and encourage home ownership, two policies that goosed the market for a collapse.
And the jury is still out on the results of Obama's stimulus. A recent report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found at least 1.4 million people have jobs they wouldn't have if not for the stimulus.
But conservative economists say those jobs essentially have been taken from the private sector. That's a point Raese vigorously argues and Manchin theoretically endorses.
"To stimulate one sector of the economy is only suppressing other sectors of the economy," Raese said.
Manchin said he would work in the Senate as he worked in the governor's over the past six years. He said his first urge as governor was not to not raise taxes but to make sure existing taxes were being collected and to try to shrink the size of state government by leaving unnecessary positions unfilled as they became vacant.
"We started paying every additional dollar we had down on debt," Manchin said. "That's exactly what this nation has to do. The private sector has to have capital. You can't have our national debt where it is competing with the private sector dollar."
Raese pointed to successful presidents, including Democrat Bill Clinton, who were able to pay down the national debt without heaping on taxes. He said Clinton's approach gave the private sector the reins to grow, which, in turn, filled the treasury's coffers.
"No matter how much money you tax, that's not the problem," Raese said. "The problem is spending."
Mountain Party candidate Jesse Johnson also said he didn't think the stimulus had been very successful. He said it for the most part failed to address structural problems in the U.S. economy by failing to invest in sustainability and research and development.
"I'm not for just continuously printing money or having the Federal Reserve printing money when it's not going to the things that are going to bring us out of this depression or recession or whatever you want to call it," he said.
Johnson added, "We've got to make something. We've got to build something. We've got to ship something. We've to got to trade something."