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July 13, 2014

What We Learned From Manchin’s AMA

Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., opened up last week, answering 10 questions submitted by Redditors in a video posted by The Atlantic.

In a visual version of Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” posts, Manchin spoke widely on his political beliefs. In fewer than 20 minutes, Manchin said he believes in traditional marriage, that redistricting can and should be done by objective computer models and that identification should be required when voting in federal elections.

“I just don’t have a problem showing an ID,” he said. “I show an ID everywhere I go.”

And for any residents of the Mountain State, Manchin told his constituents that coal will continue to be a part of the state’s energy future for a few decades to come, but that doesn’t mean he’s against new energy sources or technologies.

“You use all the natural resources the good Lord’s given us in our beautiful country,” he said, whether that’s coal, gas, wind or even hydrogen.

And while Manchin said he supports using alternative energy, he noted that “there has to be a balance between the economy and the environment.”

The questions Manchin responded to where the 10 most upvoted comments from a Reddit thread earlier in the week that drew more than 100 comments.

The most memorable parts of the interview, perhaps, were when Manchin attempted to pronounce the often quirky usernames from the questions, one of which included user “bigfatlush.”

In an email interview, Reddit’s General Manager Erik Martin explained the inspiration behind the series, saying that author Peter Straub once held a video AMA and tweeted afterward that it was an ”unbuttoned and forthright” experience.

“We’re hoping to unbutton and forthrightify the stale pseudo-debate that the political talk show format has become,” Martin wrote.

According to a joint press release from The Atlantic and Reddit, Ask Washington Anything will be a video series hosted by The Atlantic and powered by Reddit’s AMAs. Other videos in the series include Grover Norquist, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform and Sam Kass, senior White House adviser on nutritional policy.

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