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July 11, 2013

“Say It Ain’t So, Joe!”

Bloomberg to Honor Manchin with Cash at Glitzy Manhattan Fundraiser;
Meanwhile, West Virginians Lose Out on Jobs Due to Manchin’s Gun Control Push

Mike Bloomberg is rushing to the rescue of the single Senator who seems as obsessed as Bloomberg with revisiting the votes cast in the U.S. Senate on April 17 – Joe Manchin.  Bloomberg is throwing a fete for Manchin at his opulent Manhattan mansion to shower him with the only resource at Bloomberg’s disposal – cold hard cash.

The curious news comes in the wake of Manchin and others deriding Bloomberg’s massive investment in attack ads against other Democrats who voted down the Bloomberg/Obama gun control agenda.  Manchin’s dismay with Bloomberg’s tactics apparently dissipates when the subject is raising money directly for his own re-election.

Manchin, of course, has spent more than $100,000 from his campaign kitty to try and repair the damage to his reputation in West Virginia from aggressively embracing the Obama/Bloomberg agenda, so perhaps it’s only fitting for Bloomberg to assist in replenishment.  In the ad, Manchin defensively claims that “I haven’t changed!” while parading to and fro with a bolt-action rifle.

West Virginia gun owners might disagree, since some of them no doubt recall his campaign vows to fight against new gun control.  And in case they don’t, the NRA is reminding them of Manchin’s vow with a statewide mailing that includes a copy of Manchin’s answers and signature on the NRA’s detailed candidate questionnaire.

Manchin’s verbatim response on the questionnaire was “I support current laws and oppose further regulation.  Gun sales by private citizens who are not engaged in an ongoing firearms business should not be subject to federal background check requirements, whether the sales take place at a gun show or elsewhere.”   Yet the Manchin-Toomey amendment would have mandated such checks not only at gun shows, but for all private firearm transactions that have been publicized in any fashion, even a simple “for sale” notice at the local gun club.

But Manchin continues to claim that “I haven’t changed,” despite the clear evidence to the contrary in black and white.   But the real victims in his world of make-believe are the economically depressed citizens of West Virginia.  Last week, Beretta announced that it was ruling out West Virginia as a potential relocation site,  due to company executives’ concerns over Manchin’s positions. The “pffft” sound you’re hearing is the potential for several hundred good-paying manufacturing jobs disappearing from West Virginia.

But no matter — Joe’s still going to get his piece of the action, courtesy of Bloomberg and his big city pals in Manhattan.  It’s no wonder that Manchin has fallen into Bloomberg’s arms to raise campaign cash.  When West Virginia voters make their own decision about whether he’s changed, he’s going to need it.

Larry Keane is senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @lkeane.

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