Meeting with President Barack Obama to discuss saving Obamacare would have been "counterproductive," as much of it needs repairs that have to be done in a "bipartisan manner," Sen. Joe Manchin, who opted to meet with Vice President-elect Mike Pence instead, said on Thursday.
"To come up the last hour of the last administration and start pitching with why we should hold the line, that didn't make any sense," the West Virginia Democrat told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" about the president's meeting with Democratic leaders, held at the same time Pence was meeting with Republicans. "That's counterproductive to me. And on the other hand, I have to say to my Republican colleagues it was counterproductive just to talk to the Republican caucus."
On Wednesday, Manchin told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program he was skipping the Obama meeting, and after the show, he called Pence to request a meeting.
Manchin said he and Pence exchanged phone numbers after they spoke, and agreed to discuss Obamacare further, because if Republicans can get 51 votes, the healthcare law will be repealed.
"We have to start fixing it immediately," said Manchin. "I wish they wouldn't repeal. I wish we could all sit down and work piece by piece. People shouldn't have to buy product they don't want to is too expensive. On the other hand, President-elect [Donald] Trump said I don't want people thrown off. I don't want people with preexisting conditions not to be able to buy it or children thrown off. So with that being said, I think there's a framework for us to work with."
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told Manchin he had no problem with his choosing to meet with Pence, as "we have to find out if we can find the pathway forward."
"Chuck knows me well enough," said Manchin. "We've been very good friends, and he knows I work across the aisle and, yes, he has absolutely said I want you to build that rapport from the President-elect Trump and his administration, all through with [House Speaker] Paul Ryan and his leadership and with [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell.
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