On CNN’s morning chat festival with host (and 2012 debate moderator nightmare) Candy Crowley, West Virginia Democrat – and Renowned Moderate – Joe Manchin was trotted out for the usual end of the year opinion roundup. As usual, Crowley got Manchin to opine on the possibilities of a new gun control bill making it through the Senate in 2014. Displaying a sudden grasp of the realities of the situation, Manchin admitted that things might not be looking exactly rosy on that front.

Sen. Joe Manchin says rounding up the votes to pass a bill creating background checks for gun purchases next year is going to be “difficult.”

While saying he’s “hopeful” that some would change their minds, the West Virginia Democrat acknowledged there are Democrats who opposed the bill creating background checks for gun purchases.

“Hopefully, they would maybe reconsider,” Manchin said in an interview aired Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “It’s going to be difficult to get the extra votes that we need. I’m going to be honest with you.”

For those who may have somehow forgotten, Joe Manchin was the Democrats’ go to guy in the gun control debate. Coming from a red state, and having a very solid NRA rating, he was considered to be on the other side of the aisle from the rest of the Democrats on Second Amendment rights. But when the Big Opportunity presented itself this past year, Manchin lined up to cut a deal on everything from expanded background checks (or national gun registry lists, if you prefer) to magazine capacity limits and more. Joe isn’t up for election again until 2018 so he’s still widely viewed as a reliable voice in that regard, not needing to worry about defending his seat in the mid-terms or the next presidential cycle. The last effort failed, of course, and now it seems like the Senator feels the need to take a more realistic look at the playing field.

The interesting part here is that he’s publicly admitting what a lot of us already knew.

Manchin said gun owners didn’t oppose background checks in theory but were concerned that government wouldn’t stop with checks.

“What we found out is that people couldn’t trust government that they would stop there,” he said.

That’s exactly right, Senator. And the people who sent you to Washington feel the same way in large numbers. That might be something you’ll want to keep in mind next year before you try to crank up this particular machine again. You’ve still got several years before you need to run another campaign, but the voters in West Virginia probably have a pretty keen memory for this sort of thing.