CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., praised Barack Obama for asking Congress about its position on his proposal to attack Syria. But on Monday, he said he still opposes starting an armed conflict with that country.
"But I am going to keep an open view," Manchin said during an interview on Monday before the annual United Mine Workers of America's Labor Day Rally began in Racine. "Why don't we bring our people home and rebuild America?"
"I don't see any support from people in West Virginia," said Manchin, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, during an interview before the rally began.
"I see no gains. But I am willing to go and listen. I will go to all briefings and hearings this week. I don't see an imminent threat to the U.S. We have no friends on either side of this."
Failing to intervene after recent events, Manchin said, "will not weaken our position. No one will question the resolve of the American people and the quality of our military.
"I see this as a situation to create more threats to the U.S. than to be helpful."
Obama has launched a major effort to convince Congress to back his proposed plans to fire missiles at selected sites in Syria.
On Aug. 24, the White House said it had "very little doubt" that Bashar Assad's government in Syria had attacked its own citizens with chemical weapons.
On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry began campaigning to win public support for an attack on Syria.
On Aug. 21, the chemical weapon sarin was used to kill 1,429 people, including 426 children, near Damascus, according to U.S. intelligence reports.
Manchin believes the "Arab League should stand up and hold Syria accountable. We should support humanitarian aid to the Arab League."