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Why is the Media Obsessed with Joe Manchin?

“Manchin in the Middle” has been the focus on numerous stories and “think pieces” about his role as a West Virginia Democrat in the Senate.

Joe Manchin Media

It was the hug heard ‘round the world. Following President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress, West Virginia Sen. Joe Mancahin hugged the president. He said he “loved” the president’s tone. “It was what we needed to hear,” he said.

The problem? Joe Manchin is a Democrat.

Now Manchin is known literally as “the Democrat who hugged the president,” according to a Roll Call headline on Tuesday:

Most Democrats fled after President Donald Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress last week. But Sen. Joe Manchin III instead approached him — and leaned in for a hug.

The gesture only lasted a few seconds. But it speaks volumes about the symbiotic relationship that has emerged between the West Virginia Democrat and the Republican president in recent months.

The Washington Post labeled Manchin’s approach to politics a “balancing act.”

And in a piece titled, “Manchin in the Middle,” Politico gave Manchin a binary choice:

Joe Manchin is either a moderate role model for a party that’s lost its way, or a doomed species from a less partisan era.

This coverage comes amid stories of progressives demanding Manchin be removed from Democratic Senate leadership, and as potential primary and general election challengers step up for possible challenges to Manchin in 2018.

Manchin, who appears to be playing the media to his advantage, with exclusives to conservatives sites like Breitbart, doesn’t seem phased by any of it.

“If you want to go ahead and beat me up in a primary then go ahead,” Manchin said, according to the Associated Press. “All it does is take the resources from the general.”