Washington (CNN) - Senior House Republican aides are frustrated that the Obama administration has done little to reach out to rank-and-file House GOP members to make the case for why military action is needed in Syria.
"Mr. McDonough has been meeting with Democrats, but the administration has shown no strategy, no effort to talk to rank-and-file House Republican members," one senior House GOP leadership aide told CNN.
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough will have separate discussions with a group of House Democrats and a group of House Republicans on Monday, according to an administration official. The president met with top House GOP leaders and committee chairs at the White House last week, and administration officials went to Capitol Hill for multiple classified briefings that were attended by members of both parties.
But GOP aides say more personal one-on-one contacts with members haven't happened.
The president is making a national speech on Tuesday night to lay out his case for action, but these aides suggested personal appeals from the president could help make some inroads to undecided Republicans. They are complaining that the president has left it to others, and that effort that is failing to win over any new support.
"A lot of members want to hear the case from the president directly – they want to be able to say 'I talked to the president, he called me and said x.' And they want to hear what he'll do – no boots on the ground. He needs to pick up the phone."
Another senior House Republican aide told CNN, "It's an uphill challenge for them to get the votes - it's on them. But there are certainly some deficiencies in their strategy on how to get it done."
Even as Republican aides criticize the White House, given the strong GOP opposition to the president's plan in Syria, it's unclear what impact personal telephone calls or meetings with administration officials would have on changing the vote count among House Republicans.
One of these aides pointed out that one of the few strong House Republican supporters the White House has – Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger - asked the White House last week how he could help rally support and didn't get a call back until he expressed his frustration on a Sunday talk show.
A White House official noted that the administration did reach out to Kinzinger and took issue with the criticism from House GOP aides that it hasn't been reaching out to House Republicans. This official noted the president and other top officials have been making telephone calls, there have been a series of briefings for members and more are scheduled this week.
"The outreach effort is ongoing," this official said.
The two top House Republicans – House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor – are both backing the president, but neither is making the hard sell to members to vote for the resolution. Both leaders are framing this as the president's plan he needs to sell. Boehner and Cantor and their aides are encouraging members to attend briefings, read classified documents and answer any questions they have.
With polls showing most Americans are solidly against the administration's Syria policy, one of these GOP aides said the president's speech on Tuesday may be too late to turn the tide.
"The White House just giving a fantastic speech at this point in time probably is not the best strategy," the aide said.
- CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.