Money + Visibility = Washington
May 31, 2010 - Joselyn King
West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin -- a Democrat -- set out to separate himself from the Washington establishment when he told those at a gathering in Wheeling last week he is not always in agreement with the policies of the Obama administration.
His words came on the same day it was revealed that Manchin has established his own "County Roads PAC," which allows him to raise money as he likely seeks to move on to Washington once his gubernatorial term-limit ends in 2012.
Manchin is already thinking outside of the state and on a national scale, and he hinted in Wheeling that he doesn't like current spending patterns in Washington.
"President Obama and I have friendly discussions," Manchin said. "We have agreed to disagree.
"I just hope his people will see the economy can't withstand self-inflicted inflation."
Manchin said he and Obama also widely differ on such issues as 'cap and trade' and the EPA, but at the same time he praised the president for making more money available to education through "Race to the Top" stimulus funds.
Manchin will assume a national stage when he takes over as the next chairman of the National Governors Association, and he said his initiative as chairman will be higher education -- not the increased use of the nation's coal.
Manchin, though, lamented that the nation's governors have little input when it comes to higher education polices at state colleges and universities, despite the face a large portion of a state's budget goes toward these institutions.
"They thought I would pick coal, but I think we're going to be alright on coal," he said of his decision on the initiative.
Manchin said his his PAC will give him the funds to travel the country and speak on coal issues without using state tax dollar money.
It also will help him to get around and increase his visibility thorughout the U.S. -- just in case he ever wants a role in Washington.