The Cable

WV Senate seat holds Democrat, but with big change on foreign policy

Democrats might be happy that Joe Manchin is now predicted to win his Senate race in West Virginia, but on national security and foreign policy, Manchin couldn't be more different than his predecessor, the late, great Robert Byrd.

In March, 2003, Byrd delivered a famous speech opposing the U.S. invasion of Iraq with the country on the brink of war. As chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, he never stopped speaking out against the war passionately (although he did eventually fund it each year). Byrd believed that Congress had a responsibility to avoid war and in the case where war was unavoidable, to end it as soon as possible.

Now comes Manchin, who campaigned on a promise not to follow in lockstep with the Democratic leadership. On national security, he looks like a senator that could stand in opposition to President Obama's intention to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan next summer.

"Joe Manchin's governing philosophy on defense policy will be to listen to our commanders and generals on the ground," his spokesperson Lara Ramsburg told The Cable.

Of course, she was responding to our request for Manchin's position on the New START nuclear reductions treaty. That brings up another difference between Byrd and Manchin on foreign policy and national-security issues: 60 years of experience and knowledge.

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