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Post-Clinton visit: Manchin says ‘doing what’s right’ for WV outweighs political risk

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin says he spent valuable time with Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton Monday and Tuesday during her visit to West Virginia.

During an appearance Wednesday on MetroNews “Talkline”, Manchin said a lot of their side conversations focused on the coal industry and the unrealistic requirements of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

“I’ve had her ear for a couple of days really working on her,” Manchin said. “I told her, ‘I’m happy to sit down with anybody you have so that they’ll understand that there can be a pathway forward but you have to create the technology.”

Clinton did not denounce the Clean Power Plan, which is currently the subject of a legal battle, during her visits to Williamson and Charleston. She did promise to work hard for coalfield communities but she also cautioned that she wouldn’t “over-promise.”

Manchin said he would be the first to speak out against Clinton if she continues the Obama administration’s anti-coal policies.

“If that happens, I’ll guarantee you, I’ll be as hard on Hillary as I’ve been on Obama for having an absolutely horrible energy policy or a lack of an energy policy that’s realistic,” Manchin said on “Talkline”. “Right now, she listens and she understands. She’s always been reasonable and practical with me.”

Some of those in the crowd at Williamson protesting Clinton’s visit Monday chanted “Traitor Joe!” when Manchin arrived and again when he left the meeting place. Some see Manchin’s appearance with Clinton as a political risk. It’s a step he had to take, Manchin said.

“I truly believe Hillary, for West Virginia, will be the best opportunity we have to diversify, to continue to use coal. She absolutely acknowledged coal is going to continue to be needed,” Manchin said. “If I don’t put myself in a position to help my state because I think it’s going to hurt me politically——vote me out and get rid of me because I’m not worth a nickel to you.”