The attempt to tie Manchin to Obama in every instance "when he's been an independent person,'' Baber said, "is absurd to me.''
Manchin said it makes no sense to throw out positive aspects of health care reform "in a toxic atmosphere where nobody can agree on anything.''
"To the people that say `repeal,' I say, `What are you going to replace it with?''' he asked, adding that it's easier to take a rigid party line than it is to work toward compromise.
"The easiest vote I can make in the Senate is no,'' he said. "It's easy. I don't have to explain it. I can be against everything.''
But, he added, "that's not fixing America.''
Manchin said he agrees with Baber's assessment that the American health care system is the greatest "if you can afford it. If you're wealthy enough or you have insurance to afford it.
"The problem is there are too many millions of Americans that can't,'' he said.
A system that focuses on preventive care will drive costs down by keeping more Americans healthy, he said.
"That's all we're talking about,'' Manchin said. "This is not rocket science.''