Washington (CNN) - Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, has formally asked President Obama to consider "more fully involving the Department of Defense" to help establish a robust response to the Gulf oil spill. The letter, obtained by CNN, was sent by Nelson to the president on June 1.
Last week, Nelson told CNN that if the "top kill" operation to stem the oil leak did not work, the president must not only take more control, but use the military to do so.
In the letter, Nelson urges the president to enlist the military to "augment the massive public and private response to the growing oil spill in the Gulf."
(Read the full letter here)
"While the Coast Guard, under the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Guard both are involved, it is my belief that the broader assets and command and control capability of the Department of Defense could better translate your directives into prompt, effective action," Nelson wrote in the letter.
"Americans need to feel that their government is taking an all hands on deck response," Nelson added.
An aide to Nelson tells CNN that the senator's office has done a review of previous operations where the military was used in disaster relief missions, most recently in Haiti. Following the earthquake earlier this year, the president signed an executive order saying "I hereby determine that it is necessary to augment the active Armed Forces of the United States for the effective conduct of operational missions."
Washington (CNN) - Several GOP congressional sources on Wednesday's daily morning conference call among Republican communications aides on Capitol Hill and the RNC described it as a session where congressional GOP aides unloaded their frustration over their perception that Michael Steele is using his book tour to undermine the party's political message.
"It was ugly, but something that needed to be done," says one of the GOP congressional sources who took RNC aides to task on the call.
Several GOP sources on the conference call tell CNN they told RNC aides that they believe this has been a good political week for Republicans, but that several comments Steele has made during his book tour are "putting all of efforts and all of our bosses in very difficult positions and doing so unnecessarily," according to one of the GOP aides.
Specifically, congressional Republican sources tell CNN they were outraged that Steele went on Fox Monday and said that Republicans can't win back the majority in 2010. These sources tell CNN there was widespread anger that the statement would undermine GOP efforts at fundraising and recruiting.
Many GOP congressional sources and party strategists are also enraged that part of the chairman's book - and tour to promote it - goes through Republican mistakes in past elections. These sources say conceding Republicans lost their way was last year's message, and that the party chairman in 2010 should be looking forward, not backwards.