Manchin Calls Cap and Trade "Horrible," Raese Decries Flip-Flop

West Virginia Democratic Governor Joe Manchin has been distancing himself from Cap and Trade legislation for months.

President Obama and the Democratic-backed cap and trade legislation are hugely unpopular in this state, where coal is king.

"Cap and trade is horrible, the bill that's up there," Manchin said during a rally at a firehouse in his hometown of Farmington, West Virginia Sunday night. "I respectfully disagree with the president. I don't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican, when you're wrong, you're wrong."

Manchin is a popular governor running for the Senate seat once occupied by Democrat Robert Byrd, a West Virginia legend and the longest serving Senator in the history of the institution.

It's a race many thought would be an afterthought, with Manchin cruising to victory.

However, in an election year where Democrats across the country are fighting for their political lives, Republican businessman John Raese has gained significant traction by linking Manchin to President Obama.

Polls in the Mountain State show Raese running less than five percentage points behind Manchin.

"Obviously, we're a coal producing state. I'm totally against cap and trade," Raese said during an exclusive interview with Fox News at a campaign call center in Morgantown on Monday. "Obviously Governor manchin has flip flopped in all different kinds of directions."

His staffers say Raese is referring to a November 2008 CNBC interview where, when asked about Cap and Trade, Manchin said, "They're going to have to pay for the carbons, whether cap and trade or whether it's in a carbon tax."

Raese also hammers Manchin as a potential rubber stamp in the Senate for President Obama and Washington Democrats.

"You don't get the support I have being a rubber stamp," Manchin tells Fox News, maintaining that he won't be thinking of Democrats or Republicans should he head to Washington, only West Virginians.

Raese scoffs, "There's no question if Joe goes there, he's not fooling anybody in West Virginia, he'll vote the same Democratic line that Obama wants him to."

The race is about as negative as any in the nation with both sides running vicious attack ads on television.

During his Farmington rally Manchin bemoaned the tone of the campaign, "I keep thinking that boy it can't get any worse and it just gets worse, I said what else could they say and [my wife] says just turn the TV on and you'll see."

However, judging from the airwaves Manchin is not above running negative ads either.

In their latest, the Manchin camp asks why Raese doesn't run for a Senate seat representing Flordia, since the wealthy businessman spends so much time at his Sunshine State home.