West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin ripped President Barack Obama on his budget proposals in a Senate floor speech Tuesday, a rare rebuke from a freshman Democrat who clearly is worried about the politics of deficit spending as he faces a tough reelection in 2012.
Manchin charged the president with failing to lead the way in reducing spending, while also criticizing Republicans for offering “partisan” and “unrealistic” budget proposals.
“Why are we doing all this when the most powerful person in these negotiations — our president — has failed to lead this debate or offer a serious proposal for spending and cuts that he would be willing to fight for?”
The full-throated rejection of the president’s spending proposals by a politically vulnerable Democrat is just the latest worrisome sign for Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who have yet to rally their party around a unified spending plan. Indeed, Democratic leaders are having trouble just keeping moderates on board — Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) also have expressed skepticism that Democrats are willing to cut enough spending to satisfy voters and make a dent in the deficit.