Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Sunday he would not rule out a potential third-party presidential run in 2024, touting the value of the "moderate middle" over the far left and right extremes, after the debt ceiling package managed to clear both chambers of Congress and avoid a U.S. default.
"Fox News Sunday" host Shannon Bream grilled Manchin on a recent report in The New York Times claiming that the bipartisan group "No Labels" is eyeing a third-party presidential run in 2024, alarming Democrats, and that Manchin sits at "the top of the list of potential candidates."
The report said Manchin risks bleeding support for President Biden "crucial to his re-election."
"Is a third-party run still in the realm of possibility?" Bream asked Manchin on "Fox News Sunday."
"No Labels has been moving and pushing very hard the centrist middle. Making commonsense decisions," Manchin said, sidestepping the question. "People that basically expect us to do our job. And not put the political party ahead of the policy in our great country. That’s what we’ve seen happening. And there’s more noise and more extremism coming from the far left and the far right."
"It’s always what I’ve believed. I believe that basically that’s where you make the decisions," he said of the political center. "You listen to the left and the right. You make sure that you leave nobody behind. And you listen to the different persuasions that they might have, concerns. But when it comes you’ve got to make common sense."
He went on to argue for a risk management evaluation of the U.S. financial situation, noting the recent collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank.
"But is there a risk management team assessing a third-party run for Sen. Joe Manchin with No Labels or any other option?" Bream interjected.
"I think with a risk management team, you better have Plan B. Because if Plan A shows that we’re going to the far reaches of both sides, the far left and the far right, and the people don’t want to go to the far left and the far right, they want to be governed from the middle, I think there is… you better have that Plan B available and ready to go," Manchin said.
"And you’re saying it possibly could include Joe Manchin?" Bream said.
"I’m not saying who it’s going to include or exclude. I’m saying you better have Plan B ready," Manchin responded. "Because that’s what it’s going to take for this country to remain the superpower of the world, to give confidence to people around the world that the reserve currency should be the U.S. dollar, that support for freedom and democracy should be the U.S. government and the U.S. Defense Department. We can do that. You can’t do it from the extremes."
"OK, ruling it out? Not ruling it out?" Bream pushed once more.
"Not ruling anything in, not ruling anything out," Manchin concluded.
Earlier in his appearance, Manchin – who thanked Senate Republicans and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for securing that the Mountain Valley Gas pipeline was funded in the debt ceiling package – credited centrists in both the GOP and Democrat parties for avoiding a default on U.S. debt.
"Both the extreme left and the extreme right voted to default – they voted against it," Manchin said. "It was the Democrats and Republicans in the middle. So that moderate middle, the centrists, well, we’re going to run this country. We can’t continue to let the extremes try to be the majority voice when it’s going to be the majority voting in the middle and the moderate centrists that will make things happen."