Joe Manchin Kicks Off ‘Americans Together’ Tour in New Hampshire

Joe Manchin Kicks Off ‘Americans Together’ Tour in New Hampshire


GOFFSTOWN, N.H.—West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin, considered the most centrist politician since former President Bill Clinton, kicked off his promised “Americans Together” tour in New Hampshire this morning as part of a potential bid as a third-party candidate for the presidency.

The popular 76-year-old Democrat, who is as critical of President Joe Biden as he is of former President Donald Trump, refused to say if the “listening tour” is definitely a precursor to a presidential run.

In the past several weeks following his announcement in November that he would not seek reelection to his U.S. Senate seat, which he has held for 14 years, the 76-year-old has said he is open to a run for the White House as a third-party candidate.

After addressing a crowd at the annual “Politics & Eggs” breakfast at St. Anselm College, Mr. Manchin told The Epoch Times that his Americans Together tour “was a start to getting out there and talking to Americans,” but refused to say if it was a start to a presidential campaign.  

However, earlier when asked by an audience member, who turned out to be a native of Mr. Manchin’s home state of West Virginia, asked how he would feel about being a write-in candidate in New Hampshire’s upcoming primaries, Mr. Manchin said he would be receptive.

“How would you feel if a bunch of Democrats in New Hampshire wrote in Joe—not Biden—but Joe Manchin?” the man, who said he now lives in New Hampshire, asked Mr. Manchin.

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“Whatever you want to do,” said Mr. Manchin, whose response was answered by applause from the mostly Democratic crowd, but with a mix-in of Republicans, such as former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who was among GOPers in attendance.

The man added that said he was not a Democrat, but feels “bad for Democrats in New Hampshire who aren’t getting fair choice.”

In protest of the state not adhering to the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) chosen date for the New Hampshire primaries,  President Biden decided not to be on its primary ballot. Following the decision, New Hampshire Democrats launched a write-in campaign for President Biden in the key battleground state. The DNC has also vowed not to award delegates to candidates based on the outcome of the primary election. 

In an added response to the possibility of being a write-in candidate in New Hampshire, Mr. Manchin said, “Again, I’m not here campaigning. I’m here basically concerned about my country the same as you.” He added, “So whatever, whatever the Lord leads me or whatever life takes me, I’m willing to do, but I’m gonna give everything I have to save the country, because I think we’re on a collision course, and if not, we’re going to have discourse like you’ve never seen before.”  

In more ambiguities about his potential presidential bid, Mr. Manchin talked about the “about 100,000 independent” voters in New Hampshire that don’t, he said, typically vote in the state’s primary.

His daughter Heather Bresch, CEO of Americans Together, in announcing the campaign also also told the New Hampshire breakfast crowd that there was no better place to kick off the newly formed organization than in the first in the battleground election state where she said “your independent thinking has been a bellwether for politics for a very long time.”

Mr. Manchin did seem to end speculation during his breakfast speech about possibly running as an Independent for the group No Labels, a centrist organization that says it is mounting a  “A United Front” in America. Even though the group has not yet  fielded a candidate, it has already registered its unity ticket in at least 13 states.

When event moderator James Brett, president and CEO of The New England Council, which sponsors the annual breakfast event, asked him about the possibility, Mr. Manchin said he “wished them the best,” saying he had only initially got involved in the No Labels group because he was looking for a venue “that we can sit down together and talk as Americans.”

“That’s the only I found,” he said, noting his focus will now be with his own Americans Together group.

In labeling  himself a centrist and the most “Independent Democrat  you’ll ever meet in your life,” Mr. Manchin called the border crisis exacerbated by the Biden administration as the most serious crisis he’s seen in his life and said it must end immediately.

He called President Biden someone who has lapsed to the “far left” and added to his criticism by calling out President Biden’s move to unilaterally convert federal energy legislation into environmental propaganda.

“We did a piece of legislation called the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Mr. Manchin. “That bill was designed to be about energy security, but the administration doesn’t talk about energy security, it talks about the environment.”

Sen. Joe Manchin poses for pictures with audience members following the kick off of his 'Americans Together' Tour in New Hampshire, on Jan. 12, 2023. (Photo by Alice Giordano)
Sen. Joe Manchin poses for pictures with audience members following the kick off of his ‘Americans Together’ Tour in New Hampshire, on Jan. 12, 2023. (Photo by Alice Giordano)

Mr. Manchin, who noted he was right at home at the private Benedictine liberal arts college venue as a longtime Catholic, also criticized the Democrat Party’s  lax on crime approach. 

“You know, if you do the crime, you got to pay the time. But not anymore. You can do grab and smash and steal now. Let me tell you, in West Virginia, you smash and grab someone is going to smash and grab you. I think New Hampshire’s the same way,” said Mr. Manchin in earning his biggest round of applause during his speech.

If Mr. Manchin does enter the race for president, he will join  Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Harvared professor Cornel West on the Independent ticket. 

Mr. Manchin, who has been serving in the U.S. Senate since 2010, currently serves as the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and also serves on the Senate Committee on Appropriations, the Senate Committee on Armed Services, and the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Prior to his election to the Senate, he served a term as  governor of West Virginia and prior to that he was secretary of state.

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