By Ben Geman - 10/08/10 06:44 PM EDT
West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D), who trails in recent polls in his Senate race, said Friday that President Obama is “dead wrong” for supporting cap-and-trade plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Manchin — running in a state that Obama lost badly in the 2008 presidential election — has broken sharply with administration environmental policies he calls harmful to the coal-rich state.
Two days ago, Manchin announced the state is suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over coal-mining regulations that he says usurp state powers and overreach.
Manchin, in a Fox News interview Friday, sought to distance himself from the White House. Asked if he is running away from Obama, Manchin replied, “I'm running for common sense for West Virginia.”
“The bottom line is cap-and-trade is dead wrong and President Obama is dead wrong on cap-and-trade,” Manchin said, citing the state’s new lawsuit against the EPA.
Manchin was asked repeatedly in the interview if he is running away from Obama. At another point he replied, “No, no,” but then added:
“I've been governor under two presidents: George Bush, and also under Barack Obama. I wanted George Bush to be the best president this country ever had. I'm an American. He was my president.
“I want Barack Obama to be the best president he can ever be, because I'm an American. We put America first. We put West Virginia first. And that's what we've done here in our state,” he said.