Had he not felt that way, he said, he would have remained quiet on the issue. He mentioned some of the other lobbying he had done for the state earlier on in the football season.
"I thought we could have been in the SEC," Manchin said. "I talked to my dear friend Nick Saban about that, and, like me, he said, 'I would like West Virginia in the SEC,' and we were working toward that."
That effort proved unsuccessful, though no one talked publicly about it last fall.
"They chose Missouri instead, and then you never heard a thing else about it," Manchin said.
Politico reported that McConnell has remained bitter and even confronted Manchin once at the U.S. Capitol to deny his ethics accusations.
A spokesperson for McConnell's office did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Manchin said Thursday that it's time to move on.
"I'm sure that they were probably rubbed wrong on this, but this is a personal thing - we've got more important things to work on," he said.
Manchin said to say he and McConnell have spent more or less time around each other is misleading, given the social dynamic of the Senate.
"It's hard to build a relationship when you never see anybody," he said. "The only time we see each other is when you turn on C-SPAN and see us together."
That's because most senators come to Washington on Sunday evening. They're either huddled in their offices or in meetings through Thursday, and then they're on a flight home again on Friday.
Interactions are limited to committee meetings, floor sessions or cable news show debates.
Manchin said he has been among a group of bipartisan lawmakers seeking more social interaction in Congress.
"I've said before that if we stayed here and worked together on weekends, and wives and husbands worked together, and maybe had dinner together and socialized together, I think it'd be a better bond," he said.
McConnell also reportedly played a role in getting Republican John Raese to again challenge Manchin for his U.S. Senate seat.
"If that's what happened, that's fine," Manchin said. "Mitch might think that's his job; I just think it's wrong for me up here to go out openly and campaign against a colleague, whether it's a Democrat or Republican,
He said he has actively cultivated personal relationships with his 99 fellow senators and campaign talk is not conducive to that.
"That's what deteriorates whatever relationships we have up here," he said. "And it's so hard to build a relationship here that I'm not going to do that.
"Now if it's an open seat, I'll be out there fighting for my fellow Democrat," Manchin said.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at jared.h...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148.