Dem senator: Obama needs to ‘step forward,’ save supercommittee talks

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) said that "failure cannot be accepted" on a deficit-reduction deal, and was critical of President Obama for not having taken a greater leadership role to assure a deal was struck.

"If it doesn't work, then nobody's done enough on this," Manchin said on CBS's Face the Nation. "He's the leader of this great country, and we want him to step forward."

Although Manchin said he did not want to play the "blame game", he was critical of the president and congressional leaders for playing politics with the debt.

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"We can't worry about the next election, it should be the next generation," Manchin said. “So yes, we want to see the president take leadership, the leaders in Congress do what they were put there to," he added.

But the West Virginia senator seemed to acknowledge that the effect of failed debt negotiations and prolonged budget turmoil could hit President Obama's popularity. When asked if he would invite the president to campaign on his behalf, Manchin was elusive.

"This is not a team sport," Manchin said.



He did reject Republican suggestions that Obama would want negotiations to fail so as to better paint them as obstructionist in the upcoming election.


"I don't believe that anyone who is serving the public today… wants us to fail," Manchin said.

Manchin also offered some tepid encouragement for Obama.

"We want our president, no matter who the president is, to succeed and we hope, there’s a year left, let’s hope that happens."

But Manchin was mostly critical of the likely breakdown of the debt supercommittee process.

"I don't want to be part of our generation that turns over the keys to the next generation with the country in worse shape, that’s never happened before," Manchin said.

Asked how Congress would react to a failure to reach a deal, Manchin acknowledged that "we've got to move quick" to prevent more budget turmoil.

"If they can't get to a deal, then they're going to have to step aside and hopefully there will be enough of us stepping forwards to basically reintroduce the Bowles-Simpson plan, that's really the one that really puts our financial house back in order," Manchin said.