Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 6, 2015

A Day at the State Fair With Joe Manchin

(Meredith Shiner/Roll Call)

(Meredith Shiner/Roll Call)

LEWISBURG, W.Va. — “We try not to talk about it too much. We try to have fun here,” a shopkeeper told Joe Manchin III when he asked her what she thinks of Washington.

No one in West Virginia really wants to talk about Washington, D.C., but that didn’t stop the Democratic senator from glad-handing at the state fair and around the idyllic small town of Lewisburg on Wednesday.

Manchin walked around the state fairgrounds here in a light yellow West Virginia polo, and most people still call him “governor.” Those who realize they’ve sent him to D.C. shrug off the nation’s capital like it’s some alien land they’d prefer to ignore. There were very few antagonistic moments with “Joe,” though he is well-equipped with a “common sense” talking point on the rarer-than-you’d-think occasions he is approached about his bill to establish more background checks for guns.

Spending a day with a senator at a state fair — particularly with one such as Manchin, who genuinely seems to enjoy these things — is like continuously chasing after a kid in his favorite candy store. In two and half hours, Manchin has posed with dozens of home state “brothers,” “honeys” and “buddies” and played two carnival games. He won a stuffed animal for a girl by popping a balloon with a dart, but lost to a fellow Mountaineer in a water gun race.

“I was snookered,” he says to the constituent victor and team of cameras filming the game, after the victor shot up her right arm in triumph.

He also scarfed down a barbecue beef sandwich and was bestowed with a walking stick by another West Virginian after the senator vows he is “100 percent sure” he has accepted Jesus into his heart.

The typical Beltway topics of the deficit or horse race politics are mostly lost on the fair crowd. Instead, lots of people want to talk about coal.

“Washington is 100 percent against us. We’re not against Washington,” says M.E. Walker, who said he is retired, uttering the dirty “W” word, after chatting briefly with Manchin on the state fairgrounds. “They’re trying to take our coal jobs.”

There’s no easy road to building a post-coal West Virginia, especially through the Appalachian, Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains. Tourism is one of the few answers, and a walking tour after the fair through downtown Lewisburg — selected by Budget Travel in 2011 as the “coolest small town in America,” they’ll remind you at every corner — shows just how hard West Virginians are trying where they can to prop up their service industries.

It’s in a clothing and crafts store in downtown Lewisburg where the shopkeeper told Manchin they prefer not to talk about Washington and to have fun instead. She also told him that most of her business comes from people who don’t live in West Virginia, but rather tourists who pop into town from other states while they are visiting a nearby mountain resort.

The owner of the store talked about the town being a “destination,” and Manchin noted the town could be a model for others. “Well, we built that,” the shopkeeper says in a line that rang eerily familiar from the 2012 election.

“The state supported the theater,” the former governor reminds her, in the one moment all day where he seemed to correct a constituent, “which is difficult in tough times.”

Manchin and Lewisburg’s mayor then attended a roundtable with residents in the Greenbrier Valley Visitors Center down the street, or more precisely in the “Rahall Conference Room” there, because, of course, everything has a familiar name in West Virginia.

Here Manchin let constituents talk, but he did little to correct them when they asserted things that just weren’t true. When he asked about “Obamacare,” one woman expressed dismay that federal workers will be exempt from the law, and Manchin said nothing to her about that being untrue. Another constituent said the law is too complicated and that he doesn’t understand it, and Manchin agreed that it’s complicated but didn’t further explain it. The senator also mentioned that he believed the IRS targeted groups for “political reasons” and broached foreign policy by briefly asking those around the table what they think of “this whole Syrian thing.”

At one point, he told the roundtable that everyone needs to pay their share because there are not enough rich people to pick up the tab (the richest one percent of Americans control between 35 and 40 percent of the nation’s financial wealth).

And he reiterated a line on guns he used repeatedly at the state fair and likely has been well-honed in his time at home since the spring: “Don’t you want to know if a person is a criminal or a crazy person or a terrorist?” Many in the group nod.

After more than an hour, staffers tried to cut off Manchin, who seemed content to talk all day, and get him into the official white van painted on the back and sides with “The Office of Senator Joe Manchin” and “for official business only.”

But Manchin won’t leave until he’s shaken every hand and hugged most every participant.

Comments (55)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

author email

  1. Liberty: Minimized Coercion

    Aug. 19, 2013
    2:58 a.m.

    Since it can be hard to understand how moral standards, virtues, and learned traditions enable civilization, such standards and practices tend to be deeply despised.

  2. Anonymous

    July 4, 2015
    7:51 p.m.

    Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

  3. Anonymous

    July 6, 2015
    6:49 p.m.

    I’m impressed, I must say. Really not often do I encounter a weblog that’s each educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you could have hit the nail on the head. Your concept is excellent; the difficulty is one thing that not sufficient individuals are talking intelligently about. I’m very completely satisfied that I stumbled across this in my search for something regarding this.

  4. Anonymous

    July 7, 2015
    5:04 p.m.

    Amazing blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog shine. Please let me know where you got your theme. Appreciate it

  5. Anonymous

    July 7, 2015
    10:11 p.m.

    It’s hard to seek out educated people on this subject, however you sound like you understand what you’re talking about! Thanks

  6. Anonymous

    July 11, 2015
    9:03 a.m.

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention.

  7. Anonymous

    July 12, 2015
    3:54 p.m.

    Hello.This article was really remarkable, especially since I was investigating for thoughts on this issue last Friday.

  8. Anonymous

    July 13, 2015
    2:09 p.m.

    This is very attention-grabbing, You are a very professional blogger. I have joined your rss feed and sit up for in the hunt for extra of your fantastic post. Also, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks!

  9. Anonymous

    July 13, 2015
    7:03 p.m.

    Some genuinely interesting points you have written.Helped me a lot, just what I was searching for : D.

  10. Anonymous

    July 13, 2015
    8:26 p.m.

    Hey very cool site!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Wonderful .. I’ll bookmark your web site and take the feeds additionally…I’m satisfied to seek out so many useful info right here in the post, we want work out more techniques on this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  11. Anonymous

    July 14, 2015
    12:02 a.m.

    This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!

  12. Anonymous

    July 17, 2015
    6:40 a.m.

  13. Anonymous

    July 18, 2015
    8:52 a.m.

    Its great as your other articles : D, appreciate it for posting. “Even Albert Einstein reportedly needed help on his 1040 form.” by Ronald Reagan.

  14. Anonymous

    July 20, 2015
    2:35 p.m.

    Terrific paintings! That is the kind of info that should be shared across the internet. Shame on the search engines for no longer positioning this post upper! Come on over and visit my website . Thank you =)

  15. Anonymous

    July 20, 2015
    7:43 p.m.

    A powerful share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing just a little analysis on this. And he in truth bought me breakfast because I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to debate this, I really feel strongly about it and love studying extra on this topic. If possible, as you turn into experience, would you thoughts updating your blog with extra details? It’s highly useful for me. Huge thumb up for this blog put up!

  16. Anonymous

    July 21, 2015
    12:12 a.m.

    Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to assert that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly.

  17. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    5 a.m.

    This site is my inhalation, very good layout and perfect content.

  18. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    8:55 p.m.

    Terrific post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Bless you!

  19. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    9:48 a.m.

    I simply could not depart your site prior to suggesting that I actually enjoyed the usual info a person provide on your guests? Is gonna be again continuously to check up on new posts

  20. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    4:50 p.m.

    Magnificent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just too wonderful. I really like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it wise. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is actually a terrific website.

  21. Anonymous

    July 28, 2015
    6:23 p.m.

    I would like to thnkx for the efforts you’ve put in writing this site. I’m hoping the same high-grade website post from you in the upcoming also. Actually your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own web site now. Actually the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a good example of it.

  22. Anonymous

    Aug. 3, 2015
    8:54 a.m.

    Very well written post. It will be supportive to anyone who employess it, including me. Keep doing what you are doing – looking forward to more posts.

  23. Anonymous

    Aug. 4, 2015
    5:46 p.m.

    Hiya! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My weblog looks weird when browsing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to correct this issue. If you have any recommendations, please share. With thanks!

  24. Anonymous

    Aug. 7, 2015
    8:59 a.m.

    It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this superb blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will share this website with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  25. Anonymous

    Aug. 7, 2015
    12:32 p.m.

    Hi there! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 4! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the superb work!

  26. Anonymous

    Aug. 10, 2015
    1:24 a.m.

    I think other web-site proprietors should take this web site as an model, very clean and wonderful user genial style and design, as well as the content. You’re an expert in this topic!

  27. Anonymous

    Aug. 10, 2015
    11:17 a.m.

    It¦s actually a cool and useful piece of info. I¦m happy that you just shared this useful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Anonymous

    Aug. 11, 2015
    1:45 p.m.

    Great blog here! Also your website loads up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  29. Anonymous

    Aug. 23, 2015
    6:27 p.m.

    I think this internet site contains some really superb information for everyone :D. “I like work it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.” by Jerome K. Jerome.

  30. Anonymous

    Aug. 24, 2015
    12:31 a.m.

    I would like to thnkx for the efforts you have put in writing this website. I am hoping the same high-grade blog post from you in the upcoming also. In fact your creative writing skills has encouraged me to get my own blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a good example of it.

  31. Anonymous

    Aug. 26, 2015
    11:26 a.m.

    Yay google is my world beater aided me to find this great website ! .

  32. Anonymous

    Aug. 30, 2015
    12:16 a.m.

    Hey very cool website!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your web site and take the feeds also…I’m happy to find a lot of useful information here in the post, we need work out more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  33. Anonymous

    Sept. 1, 2015
    2:59 p.m.

    Fantastic beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for a blog web site? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept

  34. Anonymous

    Sept. 1, 2015
    6:51 p.m.

    hi!,I like your writing so so much! percentage we keep in touch more approximately your post on AOL? I require an expert in this space to solve my problem. May be that is you! Looking ahead to peer you.

  35. Anonymous

    Sept. 2, 2015
    9:18 a.m.

    Some genuinely wonderful articles on this site, appreciate it for contribution. “Once, power was considered a masculine attribute. In fact, power has no sex.” by Katharine Graham.

  36. Anonymous

    Sept. 7, 2015
    4:05 p.m.

    Hey, you used to write fantastic, but the last few posts have been kinda boring?K I miss your super writings. Past several posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!

  37. tom si jerry romana

    Sept. 10, 2015
    8:20 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic post.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.

  38. Anonymous

    Sept. 12, 2015
    8:20 p.m.

    Perfectly composed subject material, appreciate it for entropy. “You can do very little with faith, but you can do nothing without it.” by Samuel Butler.

  39. Anonymous

    Sept. 13, 2015
    10:58 a.m.

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I mean, I know it was my option to read, however I truly thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you might repair when you werent too busy searching for attention.

  40. Anonymous

    Sept. 15, 2015
    9:08 p.m.


  41. Anonymous

    Sept. 15, 2015
    10:03 p.m.


  42. Anonymous

    Sept. 17, 2015
    6:43 a.m.

    I would like to thnkx for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I am hoping the same high-grade blog post from you in the upcoming as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings quickly. Your write up is a good example of it.

  43. hanover auto insurance

    Sept. 19, 2015
    7:58 p.m.

    Whats amazing post here. I will turn attention on your description.

  44. Anonymous

    Sept. 21, 2015
    7:59 a.m.

    Keep functioning ,remarkable job!

  45. county mutual insurance company

    Sept. 22, 2015
    2:04 p.m.

    Get quotes by zip code from top insurance companies.

  46. amax insurance san antonio

    Sept. 22, 2015
    6:48 p.m.

    Get quotes by zip code and save up to 505 annually.

  47. Anonymous

    Sept. 22, 2015
    9:28 p.m.

    I in addition to my guys have been checking out the best information and facts on your web page then the sudden I got an awful suspicion I never thanked the site owner for them. These boys are already consequently thrilled to read through all of them and have now actually been tapping into them. Many thanks for indeed being considerably considerate as well as for selecting such incredibly good useful guides millions of individuals are really eager to be aware of. My personal honest apologies for not expressing appreciation to you earlier.

  48. federated national rating

    Sept. 23, 2015
    5:52 a.m.

    Try discounts up to 40% on auto or home insurance.

  49. Hollis Burrus

    Sept. 25, 2015
    7:56 a.m.

    This weblog is very superhuman, just what i am looking for to read on my short break. Thank You

  50. Anonymous

    Sept. 26, 2015
    9:51 a.m.

    You are my inhalation, I possess few blogs and rarely run out from post :). “Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.” by E. B. White.

  51. Anonymous

    Sept. 26, 2015
    10:02 p.m.

    Woh I enjoy your articles, saved to favorites! .

  52. Anonymous

    Sept. 28, 2015
    10:45 a.m.

    fTyDMm the time to read or take a look at the content material or websites we ave linked to below the

  53. Anonymous

    Oct. 2, 2015
    7:26 p.m.

    Aquel Fuerteventura Cual envida dejante Este estreno solicitador. El Fuerteventura Cual se finca circa Ese yoduro mitológico

  54. Anonymous

    Oct. 4, 2015
    2:55 a.m.

    I besides think hence, perfectly indited post! .

  55. Anonymous

    8:35 a.m.

    Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you However I am experiencing issue with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting identical rss problem? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...