Much of the day was spent waiting…

Waiting for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to make his move so that U.S. officials could react and the crisis could lurch into potentially calmer territory. EGYPT/MUBARAK-TRANSFER

It became clear that something was up when the State Department delayed its media briefing before canceling it altogether, and the White House indefinitely delayed its briefing.

Official Washington tends to clam up when it sees movement toward possible resolution of difficult situations so as not to disrupt chances for success.

Then Mubarak spoke: he won’t run for reelection in the Fall. That may not be soon enough for protesters who have called on him to step down now.

A number of candidates will probably run for Egyptian president, leaving the United States to tread carefully among them to ensure it can still call the new leader friend.