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 SchumerChuck SchumerManchin on reported boos at Democratic luncheon: 'I heard a lot of nos' Wisconsin GOP quietly prepares Ron Johnson backup plans Senate infrastructure talks spill over into rare Sunday session 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. 
 
 
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 McConnellSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Manchin 'can't imagine' supporting change to filibuster for voting rights Biden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet 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. 
 
 
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 BidenGOP report on COVID-19 origins homes in on lab leak theory READ: The .2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session MORE and thinks Biden will get into the race. Manchin has publicly defended Biden amid allegations of unwanted touching. 
 
* Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiManchin on reported boos at Democratic luncheon: 'I heard a lot of nos' Kinzinger supports Jan. 6 panel subpoenas for Republicans, including McCarthy Ocasio-Cortez: Democrats can't blame GOP for end of eviction moratorium 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."