White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the administration has sent several staffers to Florida to improve its Gulf spill response, but disputed the numbers provided by Politico: 4 to Florida -- and just one each to Mississippi and one to Alabama -- in a story that dubbed the effort a 2012 offensive.
"We sent (staffers) to improve intergovernmental relations," Gibbs said. "We've got people that are down at the Joint Information Center. We've got people in each state. And, look, I think if you look at the progress of our response to the disaster, go back a few weeks -- and I forget the exact time line -- but oil gets into a bay that is shared by both Alabama and Florida, right? The western -- or the eastern- most county in Alabama, Baldwin County, is notified. The western-most county in Florida, Volusia, is not, OK, a breakdown in communications from the incident command to the local level. Out of that, we put on-scene coordinators in each of the four affected states and have broadened our ability to ensure that what is happening at a Coast Guard level, what is happening at a direct response level gets down to -- gets down to local elected officials."