Freshman Sen. Joe ManchinÂ (D-WV), who has been subjected to much public criticism after he was absent for this past weekend's votes on the DREAM Act and the successful repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in order to attend a family Christmas party
-- which his office described as "a family obligation that he just could not break -- is now apologizing for the fumble.West Virginia MetroNews Network
"Let me apologize to anybody and everybody within our listening and reading areas. I'm very sorry for missing the two votes," Manchin said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday.
Manchin says his oldest daughter is divorced and has one child from that first marriage. She and her ex-husband take turns when it comes to custody on the Christmas holiday.
"Saturday was our Christmas and Saturday evening was our Christmas dinner. I got up Sunday and came back to Washington to make the votes I had to make," he said.
Manchin won a special election to finish the term of the late Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, and will be up for re-election in 2012.
For what it's worth, Manchin said that he would have voted against both the DADT repeal and the DREAM Act, had he been present.
But he also says that for any similar holiday occasions from now on, he will be in the Senate: "In the future, I will make any adjustments and all adjustments that need to be made so that it doesn't happen again."
Fun fact: The news outlet that provided this report, West Virginia MetroNews Network, is owned by John Raese, the Republican businessman who was Manchin's opponent in the past election. (Note: The network disclosed that relationship in their past coverage of the election campaign itself.)