The White House seems to be in go-slow amber mode over the protests in Egypt – declaring President Hosni Mubarak an ally, but supporting free speech as the American way.
It’s much easier to take a stance when the government is not an ally, as happened with Iran’s crackdown on street protests in 2009 when President Barack Obama said firmly: “I strongly condemn these unjust actions.”
Today, Obama was asked in a YouTube interview that took questions from the public about the protests in Egypt. His response: “Egypt’s been an ally of ours on a lot of critical issues, they made peace with Israel, President Mubarak has been very helpful on a range of tough issues in the Middle East, but I’ve always said to him that making sure that they are moving forward on reform — political reform, economic reform — is absolutely critical for the long-term well-being of Egypt. And you can see these pent-up frustrations that are being displayed on the street.”
Closer to home, the color-coded security alert system created after the Sept. 11 attacks is about to go the way of the disco ball. We will now be told whether there is an “imminent” threat or an “elevated” risk.
And finally, it looks like Jay Carney got the green light at the White House and will be switching from Veep spokesman to the president’s press secretary podium.