Sen. Manchin: 'Just Not in the President's Nature to Pal Around'

By Susan Jones | December 23, 2013 | 7:13 AM EST

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) with President Barack Obama (AP File Photo)

( - Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) says he relates to President Barack Obama the same way most Democratic senators do:

"Everybody has a different style, again, as we've said, and that's just not in the president's nature to pal around and, you know, the gregarious type of personality that a Bill Clinton -- two different people."

Manchin told CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley that Obama's distance from his fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill makes it "more difficult" to get things done.

"You know, it's just hard to say no to a friend. When you build that relationship and that friendship, you're looking for ways to try to work things out and find a compromise and, you know, that friendship means an awful lot. When you don't build those personal relationships, it's pretty easy for a person to say, well, let me think about it, you know, and not really make -- go that extra effort.

"But everybody has a different style. I just -- I love to be around people, I love to talk to people, I want to find out, if we disagree, what do we agree on. I know what we disagree on. And if we agree on something, is that strong enough to build something off of, how do we move further?"

Asked what will dominate Congress's agenda next year, Manchin said he would like Congress, over the next three years, "to get our financial house in order."

Manchin said no matter what president's agenda may be, "none of it will happen unless you can afford to pay for it. And that bothers me right now, because we have not, as a nation, taken the debt of this nation and the financial condition of this country as serious as we should, and there's going to be a crash sooner or later. And I don't want to hit the wall if I can avoid it, and that's what I keep saying."

"[D]o you think Obamacare will be a major factor in determining the success of Democrats in 2014?" Crowley asked Manchin.

Manchin stopped short of saying that Democrats will lose the Senate, but he did say "it's going to be extremely challenging."

"The Democrats right now are feeling the weight of it," he said. "And it needs to turn around, we need to show that we're moving in a healthy, a well, more -- a well situation within our society.

"If it doesn't happen, if it becomes such a burden, if the small businesses have a burden, if now we have the large employers kicking in and their plans are changing and, you know, all of our working unions are having some challenges, if all that doesn't come together -- and that's why I keep saying that's why we need that transitional year. Sit down and work through it, don't force it."

Manchin would like to make 2014 a "transitional year" for Obamacare, to "find out where our glitches are." He would delay the tax penalties until Jan. 1, 2015.

"So this transitional year gives you a chance to adjust the products to the market and to see if the market will absorb and buy the product."

Manchin said the Democrats' health care law will collapse "if basically the cost becomes more than we can absorb."