PARKERSBURG - U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin met Tuesday with local Democratic Party leaders during a campaign stop in Parkersburg.
"We're reaffirming what we're trying to do and what we're going to continue to work hard to do in Congress and the Senate, and the things that we did in West Virginia working together," he said of his visit with local party members at Colombo's Restaurant.
"The bottom line is we have to start putting our country first," said Manchin. "I don't care whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, whether you agree or disagree on certain issues, you have to agree that we've got to come together as a country."
Photo by Wayne Towner
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, left, D-W.Va., talks with Harold Brown, president of the Wood County Democratic Executive Committee, center, and Wood County Clerk Jamie Six, right, during a campaign stop Tuesday in Parkersburg.
Manchin believes the country needs to develop a plan to get its financial house in order, create a workable energy plan with less dependence on foreign oil and other common sense issues.
In his run for re-election to the Senate, Manchin is being challenged by Republican John Raese.
Looking at his own race, Manchin said there are some big differences between him and his opponent.
"I don't back the Ryan budget from the standpoint of cutting Social Security and Medicare to where you put it in the private market with vouchers and privatization," he said.
Manchin believes both programs need to be run more efficiently and work can be done to get rid of fraud abuse and waste, keeping the core values of both programs.
"I don't think we need to protect the super wealthy at the top end who don't need protected. I don't begrudge anybody and I'm not going to raise taxes, I'm going to collect what taxes are owed to this country," he said.
Manchin said the government can do two things with the taxes it collects, spend it or invest it. He believes too little investing is being done in education, infrastructure and other basic areas that could build the country back up to what it once was.
Manchin said he is not making an endorsement in this year's presidential race between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
"I am disappointed with both of these candidates and I've said that, respectfully," he said, citing Obama's lack of an energy policy and attacks on coal and Romney's endorsement of the budget plan created by his running mate, Paul Ryan, as among the reasons for his decision.