Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has some advice for West Virginia Democratic Senate nominee Joe Manchin: Switch parties.

Campaigning Tuesday in Charles Town, W.Va., for Manchin's GOP foe John Raese, McCain said the governor should become a Republican and run against fifth-term Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) in 2014.


"I did notice that Gov. Manchin is running away from President Obama as fast as he can," NBC reported McCain saying. "If I can make a suggestion, I would suggest that the governor become a Republican and run against Rockefeller next time."

The race to succeed the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) has tightened in recent weeks. Manchin and Raese, a businessman, are running in a dead heat.

McCain's comments are meant to highlight Manchin's recent effort to shy away from Democratic leaders such as President Obama, which has brought accusations of hypocrisy from Republicans. 

The governor recently recorded an ad that shows him firing a rifle at what is supposed to be a copy of the cap-and-trade energy bill. On Monday, he would not commit to endorsing Obama for another term in 2012, saying, "I just think there's a lot of correction, a lot of changes, a lot of things that need to be fixed before I would say anything about anybody running for office." 

McCain has taken shots at two sitting Democratic senators on recent campaign stops for GOP Senate candidates. He called Sen. Barbara Boxer (Calif.) the "most bitterly partisan, anti-defense senator" he has served with and accused Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.) of engaging in the "corrupt practice" of earmarking.