JOE Manchin's strong suit has never been the specifics.
Manchin wins on charm, passion, work ethic and the ability to carve out reasonably safe centrist positions.
He was well suited as the state's governor. He ran the state as though he were the mayor of a medium-sized city, with a hands-on approach to solving problems that was more about the exercise of power than adherence to any particular political philosophy.
Manchin was his own political party.
Washington, however, is a different beast, and adjusting appears to be difficult for the senator.
On Monday, three days after the Newtown massacre, Manchin appeared first on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" where he implied he was open to more gun control.
"I don't know anyone in the hunting or sporting arena that goes out with an assault rifle," Manchin said. "I don't know anybody that needs 30 rounds in the clip to go hunting. These are things that need to be talked about."
Manchin made similar comments later in the morning on my show, Metronews Talkline.
It became national news.
Manchin, a conservative Democrat from a pro-gun state with an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association, was open to more gun laws. The senator who famously shot a bullet into cap-and-trade legislation in a campaign ad was ready to talk about gun control.
The senator's comments earned him praise from many circles, especially liberal ones, but also produced howls of protest from conservative gun owners in his home state, of which there are tens of thousands.
"So the election's over and the REAL Joe Manchin is coming out," wrote one e-mailer. "If Manchin doesn't know the people who own semi-automatic firearms, then he doesn't know his constituents," wrote another.