Manchin told a crowd of students anxious about a dismal job market upon graduation that they needed to look at themselves as a product and offer good value and good service.
"You're the product -- how good are you?" Manchin asked.
"You've got a person who's got a good product, and they're reasonable about their value and what they want, but they're not a self-starter. You got to kick them in the butt every day and tell them what to do. That ain't going to make it."
Manchin spoke about the need to continue to reduce the deficit, which has fallen by more than 50 percent since 2009. He said that his most sobering moment as a senator came during a hearing of the Committee on Armed Services. Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked about the greatest threat the country faces.
"Without even blinking an eye, he said 'the financial situation this country faces,'" Manchin recalled. "Unmanaged debt will make a coward out of you."
A crew from Fox News had been following Manchin during his schedule Thursday. Jonathan Kott, a Manchin spokesman, said a crew from MSNBC was planning on following Manchin Friday.
"They've got it in their heads he's running for president. I keep telling them he's not," Kott said.
When asked if he was planning on running for president, Manchin answered with an unequivocal, "No."
Reach David Gutman at david.gut...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5119.