Washington -- President Obama extended "the deep condolences and unwavering support" of the American people to Haiti today, and pledged all possible help with rescue and humanitarian assistance.
"The people of Haiti will have the full support of the United States," Obama said at the White House following a National Security Council meeting on the devastating earthquake.
The scenes of collapsed buildings and bodies in the rubble are "heart wrenching," Obama said, especially for a poor nation whose people "are no strangers to heartbreak and suffering."
Aides said Obama will be monitoring events throughout the day, and has canceled a speech on energy jobs that had been planned for this afternoon in suburban Maryland.
United States aircraft have made aerial surveillance of the damage, and rescue teams are already on the ground in Haiti, Obama said.
Rajiv Shah, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development, will coordinate U.S. assistance efforts, Obama said.
Congressional Republicans also pledged their assistance to the Caribbean nation.
"While the U.S. is already sending federal aid and assets, I am confident that the generosity of the American people will be what it so regularly is in these tragedies, an inspiring expression of responsibility and benevolence," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, lauded the assistance that has already been provided. Boehner said his caucus members "are deeply saddened by the tremendous loss of life that has occurred in Haiti, and our heartfelt condolences go out to the families of the victims, particularly those who have lost children."
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David Jackson, USA TODAY