Manchin says he supports Collins reelection 

 
It is highly unusual for a member of one party to formally support a politician on the other side of the aisle. But Manchin and Collins have worked together on a number of issues over the years. Both are also centrists who have bucked their parties.
 
Collins is "a dear friend," Manchin said. "I would go up and campaign for her ... For America to lose someone like Susan Collins would be an absolute shame. I feel that strongly about this lady."
 
Smiling, Manchin asked, "Do you think my party would be happy?"
 
Manchin added that he has a very strong relationship with Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTop Senate Dem: Officials timed immigration policy around 2020 election Senate fight derails bipartisan drug pricing bills Trump has officially appointed one in four circuit court judges MORE (D-N.Y.), who is expected to play a leading role in recruiting a Democrat to challenge Collins. While acknowledging he and Schumer don't always agree, Manchin said, "We understand each other."
 
Manchin made the remarks in an interview for C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program. The show will air Friday at 10 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. 
 
Collins hasn’t formally announced her reelection campaign but is expected to do so. She will be a Democratic target in 2020, largely because of her support for Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughTrump rips ABC over Epstein coverage Graham: 'Brett Kavanaugh lived a life we should all be proud of' Harris struggling with substance to match the aspiration MORE. Manchin also backed Kavanaugh. 
 
Other topics Manchin addressed include: 
 
*Herman Cain and Stephen Moore. Manchin indicated he doesn't think either Cain or Moore, who are Trump selections to serve on the Federal Reserve Board, are qualified. Both picks are seen to be on shaky ground, since all Democrats are expected to oppose both Cain and Moore. Some Republicans have balked at Trump's nominees, raising qualification issues and allegations of sexual misconduct by Cain. 
 
* Efforts to get him to become a Republican. Manchin said Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' GOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week MORE (Ky.), have tried to get him to become a Republican "many times." He said it could never happen because of where he stands on taxes and health care. 
 
* 2020 presidential race. Manchin has not ruled out voting for President TrumpDonald John TrumpThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Judd Gregg: The big, big and bigger problem MORE, who won West Virginia by 42 points in 2016. He's also not ruling out backing Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJuan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete Democrats on edge as Iowa points to chaotic race Democrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal MORE (I-Vt.), though he said a Sanders nomination would "create challenges" for the Democratic Party. 
 
Pressed on who he will back, Manchin replied, "I wouldn't take anything off the table," adding that it's early in the 2020 cycle. 
 
Manchin did note he has recently talked to former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Trump DACA fight hits Supreme Court Juan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete MORE and thinks Biden will get into the race. Manchin has publicly defended Biden amid allegations of unwanted touching. 
 
* Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Klobuchar: 'I have seen no reason why' Hunter Biden would need to testify Johnson dismisses testimony from White House officials contradicting Trump as 'just their impression' MORE (D-Calif.). Manchin said he thinks Pelosi has "done an admirable job," likening her job to "herding cats." He credited her for downplaying the chances of impeaching Trump and focusing on health care. 
 
* Trump. Manchin said his relationship with the president "is the craziest relationship in the world I've ever been involved in." He pointed out that Trump will call him regularly and also campaigned against him in 2018. 
 
* 2018 race. Manchin, who is mulling a run for West Virginia governor in 2020, said his 2018 reelection race "took a toll" on him and called the contest the nastiest he has ever experienced. The 71-year-old senator narrowly defeated Attorney General Patrick Morrisey last November in the red state. 
 
* The Democratic Party. Manchin blames the press for "the perception" that the Democratic Party has moved left, highlighting the number of moderate Democrats who were elected in 2018. The media focuses on high-profile progressive freshmen in the House and he said that leads to the perception that the party "has gone plenty off the rails."