How to win hearts and minds

From Marc Ambinder’s terrific story: “How The White House Approached Egyptian Turmoil” (Thanks, zizi):

A few months after Barack Obama took office, CIA analysts monitoring the Middle East received an unusual request from the National Security Council. The president had appreciated the in-depth country profiles the intelligence community had prepared for him to read. But there was something missing. The white papers all assessed what various groups within each country didn’t like about the United States – but there was very little about what they admired. So that’s what Obama wanted to know: What do Yemenis, Qataris and Egyptians like about the U.S.?

The answer, in the case of Egypt, was the American education system. The competition for visas to study inside the U.S., particularly among those with a bent toward the hard sciences, was fierce. And it was considered a point of pride for a family member to brag about his brother studying overseas. The National Security Council and the State Department turned this nugget of insight into policy: Obama would expand the number of educational visas available to qualified Egyptian students. The State Department would increase its direct outreach to Egyptians; it would hold entrepreneurship and science summits, and would convene gatherings of Egyptians to meet with visiting American scientists. 

As the White House’s focus turned to Egypt late last week, the aspirations of young Egyptians were very much on the president’s mind.


152 thoughts on “How to win hearts and minds

  1. Excellent idea to make a post about that article, BWD ! It will get a lot of attention.

    Did I ever say I love your work ?

  2. Thanks for the article. Maybe this will shut up people who are nattering that PBO is making things up as he goes with this crisis. Don’t worry, I’m not holding my breath for that to happen.

  3. Thank you as always BWD for the daily mishmash. The part of the article that spoke to me was …

    ‘the official said. “The president believes that for these reforms to be real and lasting, these reforms need to be indigenous and lasting and pushed by the people.”‘

    It reaffirms to me that President Obama has a

    a)firm belief in his oft repeated statement that political change comes from the bottom up.

    b) certain insight into human nature that helps him know when to act and when to hold back.

    IMHO this President is fulfilling a vision of leadership that will definitely bring about lasting change in the way America, and the world, treats its citizenry. In the case of America, one can only hope that the GOPers will gradually (one-by-one if that’s what it takes) become more POSITIVELY involved in the change. However, if they don’t, I believe the President is focused enough to continue his fight, and be successful, WITH THE SUPPORT OF the enlightened. As several here have said repeatedly, he is the president needed at this time in our history!

    Go President Obama! We are daily sending prayers and positive vibes your way!

  4. McCain: Time for Mubarak to step down
    By Michael O’Brien – 02/02/11 04:13 PM ET

    It’s time for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to “relinquish power,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said shortly after a meeting with President Obama.

    McCain, on Twitter, urged Mubarak to step down amid continued protests of his leadership across Egypt.

    McCain, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, tweeted:

    Regrettably the time has come 4 Pres. Mubarak 2 step down & relinquish power. It’s in the best interest of Egypt, its people & its military.
    McCain’s public declaration came after a planned one-on-one meeting between him and the president in the Oval Office this afternoon, the first since 2008 for the two rivals from that presidential campaign.

    Mubarak had announced on Tuesday that he would begin the process of stepping down, which would culminate in the election of his successor as president this fall. But anti-government protesters appear to have been dissatisfied by Mubarak’s timeline, and they clashed violently on Wednesday with pro-Mubarak demonstrators on Egyptian streets.

    The Obama administration has been urging Mubarak to begin the process of stepping down “now,” in the words of the president in a statement last night.

    “Now means now,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said at his daily press briefing on Wednesday.

    The New York Times reported Wednesday that Obama’s statement infuriated the government in Cairo, which saw it as in contradiction with Mubarak’s call for an orderly transition. The Times also reported that the pro-Mubarak demonstrators were unleashed on the anti-government protestors gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the revolt against the Egyptian president.


  5. In a press release, Nelson described his resolution is an alternative to the repeal vote.

    “Nelson’s resolution offers an alternative course following the Senate vote as scheduled at 5 p.m. today on whether to repeal the law,” the press release reads. “Nelson’s legislation asks the Senate to approve a resolution calling on the High Court to act quickly, because the lower courts have split over whether the law is constitutional.”

  6. Is Twitter really the vehicle for McCain? Do we really think he’s generating the terminology “time has come 4 Pres. Mubarak 2 step down” by himself?? Is it appropriate for a senior Senator who has said he’s not an IT person to make a statement via Twitter on such a serious topic or any topic? More smoke and mirrors?

    Of course, if he made a more formal statement via a press release or other venue, I’m way off base.

  7. I agree that these reforms need to be pushed by the people if they are to be effective. Democracy is not democracy if is is imposed rather than homegrown. I think the President has made it clear that he believes Mubarek should call off his thugs and step down, but President Obama cannot look as if he is calling the shots. We have already lost a great deal of respect in the Arab world, and though some of it is returning as a result of the President’s election and subsequent actions, there is a long way to go and any appearance of meddling here might be construed as imperialism of a sort. Fortunately, we have an executive administration that actually understands nuances and appears to be handling this as well as can be expected under the circumstances.

  8. That is a good site for me. Thanks. We had a power blackout this morning and I think it has destroyed my TV, but the man is coming tomorrow to see if it is just the cable gone. My broadband is awful and trying to watch AJ with it cutting out every 7th word is driving me nuts. Better for the moment to have something I can just read.
    The comments here have been helpful and I thank all of you.

  9. Well things are moving fast. Everyone in Washington is obviously outraged by the events of today.

    Maybe there’s a consensus building ( dems and repubs) that the more Mubarak stays and attacks its own population, the more the population will get radical. And no one wants that.

    Listening to CNN right now. The Army is still not doing a lot. How this will end I don’t know.

    And HOW in the world the pro-Mubarak people were able to bring weapons in Tharir square if they had check-points ??

    I’m praying.

  10. That anecdote just illustrates how much insight President Obama has about effective ways of motivating our friends and adversaries alike. He keeps it positive and the squeaky wheel gets greased.

    We can all learn from him.

  11. Glad the site is helpful for you Overseasgranny. AJ was cutting out for me even when I had a relatively good connection and when I was tethering my blackberry I can’t get any livestreams.

    Okay, if the power outage did destroy the TV I’m wondering if mine needs a surge protector on it. Hmmmm…

    I agree, it’s obvious how much great content BWD gives up but I find so many delicious and helpful links in the comments too. Such a resource this place!

  12. JacquelineO, Have you forgotten that his former running mate has made Twitter a legitimate press release venue ;)?

  13. DO get the surge protector. I put one on the pc and the refrigerator and every other thing in the house but never got round to the tv and now I am sorry. On the other hand it is 8 years old and I probably should get something more modern anyway. I may have to wait for a sale to fit it in the budget.

  14. The November elections were the GOP’s last hurrah. They gave it all they had, and all they came away with was the House. Now, yes, that’s big, but with the Senate in Dem hands, and PBO on top of the ballot in 2012, and the last few weeks that he’s had, I think the right is realizing that not only will they not retake the WH, they might just lose the House again. They’re all mini-Mubaraks; they just don’t know it.

  15. Why did they meet? An alliance of sorts? Intriguing.

    I believe the Reps will see the writing, in this case, the enthusiasm gap, on the wall, and POTUS will be able to pick off Mod Reps one by one, but where does JM fit in? Is Pres O appealing to his vanity as a self proclaimed foreign affairs expert?

  16. Bingo:
    any appearance of meddling here might be construed as imperialism of a sort.

    I’m sure that there is a great deal going on behind the scenes, but it would be pretty dumb to gift Mubarak proponents with the argument that his opposition is originating from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue rather than genuine and deeply held beliefs amongst Egyptians that their government is due for a significant change.

  17. One more thing… I know we all hate FOX and if this newscaster is someone who upsets some of you, my sincere apologies.

    I was just so glad to see someone go into the lions den and stand their ground. Unfortunately Democrats need to appear on these shows and try and chip away at the lies and distortions. It may not be pretty but it is a necessary evil.

    I even went to his website and sent him an attaboy.

  18. As much as we opposed Sen. McCain during the 2008 campaign and over the last two years, it can only be to the good if he and PBO can establish a working relationship. Whether we like it or not, McCain still carries a lot of weight in his caucus.

  19. Ha! … You’re right, but I’d only question the word “legitimate” !! 🙂

  20. I’m sure this partly has to do with me not frequenting “those” kinds of sites, but it seems to me that the former half-term Governor of Alaska has been rather quiet during the demonstrations. Cat got her tongue?

  21. You know why the media is fishing, President Obama is not allowing them to carry a meme, every time they try the WH comes out a step ahead, he has not given them the opportunity to ask questions, because they are trying to get a got you meme

  22. I really don’t think that is true. There were a lot of articles around the time of the economic crisis during the 2008 election that talked about how unpopular McCain was in the Senate and House among Republicans. He was known for having a horrible temper and stabbing fellow Senators in the back. I think he’s been pretty much a loner since the 2008 loss. The only people who seem to like McCain now is the media.

    Personally, I wish Obama wouldn’t have met with McCain. McCain is a petty little man and meeting with him just elevates McCain even more in the media’s eye.

  23. Thanks for the article. I really like Marc A’s insights.

    And now for the “liberal” HP’s take –

    I wouldn’t use the word ‘positive’ to describe Washington’s posture,” said Sheila Carapico, a professor of political science at Richmond University who’s currently serving at the American University in Cairo. “Last week people here were calling stability ‘the S-word,’ since stability in the geo-strategic sense has amounted to deterioration of life for most Egyptians. Calls for orderly transition are also highly risk-averse — the U.S. administration is hedging its bets rather than betting on democracy.” The White House would dispute such an assessment. But the fact remains that there is a public-relations price to pay for adhering to a restraint-based foreign policy.

    Mainly, however, the problem for the president is that he’s left it to the pundits and observers to determine his overarching objective rather than defining it himself. And while there might be “tactical” benefits or geopolitical prudence in doing so, it’s resulted in poor domestic reviews and a hazy understanding abroad.

    “The administration has been fairly close-mouthed about most of this, even listening to Hillary and others who speak on these matters,” said Wilkerson. “And so I don’t know what they are thinking. I don’t know what their strategy is. I’m not sure they do either.”

  24. I’m glad Rep. Weiner went into the lion’s den, and I’m sure he did a good job. I just don’t like his grandstanding over time, even to the point of working against the President’s agenda instead of in concert with it. That’s just my take.

  25. YES!!! Thanks, majii. I am flushing my contempt of the house Reps and simply relieved, that for the immediate future at any rate, that shameful episode ended today.

  26. I think it’s rather ridiculous. For someone who didn’t even know how to email during the Presidential campaign, he’s trying to look like he’s so tech saavy in situations where it’s completely inappropriate. If you have something this important to say, do it in an appropriate venue.

  27. What part of America supports the rights of the protesters, don’t use violence against the protesters, and the people have to decide what they want to do does Carapico not get? PBO sent envoys to Egypt to speak with different officials, including Mubarak, and he has spoken to Mubarak and told him that just changing a few things won’t work. There is nothing else he should be doing now, imo, other than allowing the Egyptians to decide their own fate. He’s not responsible for the running-off-at-the-mouth-saying-saying-stupid-stuff-disease members of the media, politicians, and pundits seem to suffer from. Anyone who feels that the president hasn’t stated his position on the protests in Egypt hasn’t been paying close attention. That’s their own problem. It seems as if Carapico wants the president in front of every camera every hour of the day. PBO is NOT GWB, something I’m immensely grateful for.

  28. LOL, so let me get this straight: the media doesn’t know what the WH is thinking, thus, the WH must not know what they’re thinking. And pundits will punish the WH for keeping them out of the loop by spreading rumors that the WH is incompetent or flat-footed.

    I can’t believe these people.

    But the fact remains that there is a public-relations price to pay for adhering to a restraint-based foreign policy.

    “Public relations price”=we will slam the hell out of you to anyone credulous enough to read our remarks or watch us on teevee

    “restraint-based foreign policy”=refusing to give into the media’s need for drama and embroil the US in yet ANOTHER mid-east conflict

    WTF are people thinking? Are they seriously suffering from amnesia or do they seriously think that a clumsy, public, red meat-laden US rhetorical intervention is going to be helpful?

    The media could do us a favor and figure out what the Egyptian military is thinking but that would mean abandoning the new “President Obama sucks!” story in search of some real insights into this situation.

  29. For all of their protestations to the contrary, they want Bush, end of story. What this person is describing here in terms of holding a “restraint based foreign policy” in disdain is a ONE THOUSAND percent echo of the type of thinking which produced foreign policy catastrophe during the previous administration. This is bananas.

  30. I think I’m glad I didn’t click over to HP. My blood pressure is high enough dealing with a new cat who just won’t get along with our other cats.

    OT techie question: How do you get italics and bold into replies? I’m getting tired of putting everything in quotes.

  31. This is true; I have read that his colleagues consider him an insufferable ass. But, remember his base? The media still loves him; it seems like he has a standing invitation to all of the Sunday talk shows. If PBO can ameliorate attacks from that front, then it might be worthwhile to deal with the man.

    Politics: it ain’t pretty.

  32. They’ve gone round the bend and are now co-signing Bush’s mistaken belief that the US can and should force the MidEast to democratize via heavy-handed rhetoric and worse. These are our progressive spokespeople, speaking of foreign policy restraint with disfavor. You just cannot make this up.

    You can add bold and italics via html tags:

  33. Alleluia – Majii this made my day.

    I am so proud of the Democrats for standing together as a unit and supporting Health Care. Going to go over to Boxer and Feinsteins websites and give them a big thanks.

    Whoo Hoo!!

  34. All the time they were bemoaning GWB’s heavy-handedness and war-mongering, what they really wanted was a leftist warmonger. Incredible.

    Text tags! I didn’t know you could put them in replies. Thanks for the info!

  35. Excellent, excellent story by marc Ambinder, Prssident is the smartes man of my life time he is the future of my grandchildren, we just love him Thanks to eveyone on the wonderful site for everything you guys are doing and protecting our President from the Garbage it’s out there, and yes He Can.

  36. Oh, g, don’t worry. The Dems are setting a trap for McConnell et. al. From TPM:

    Top Democrats have suggested that if Republicans keep forcing votes on full repeal, they’ll put the legislation on the floor, and during the debate, force votes on amendments to exempt popular aspects of the law.

    I would love to see those votes.

  37. Another Frustrati. “They ignore me, whaa!” And it’s ‘SOS Clinton’ to all of you. But I so agree with your priorities, man. It’s about the punditry being informed, the hell with peaceful regime change and progress in world affairs. My proposal: for ever word that gets vomitted from a pundit’s mouth, they shall donate the sum of ONE DOLLAR to a charity of my choosing.

  38. Also from TPM regarding HCR:

    Republicans were heartened this week when a federal judge in Florida just ruled that the entire law should be repealed. But today, Ronald Reagan’s Solicitor General — the conservative legal expert Charles Fried — said that the health care law is undoubtedly constitutional.

  39. That’s exactly what they want: a lefty version of Bush. An authoritarian who will “force” people into accepting their worldview and desired reforms, will throw around red meat to show that he “cares” (remember that the number one complaint during the oil spill had zero to do with substance and was all about wanting red meat, podium-pounding, and emotion), and coddle the national media incessantly, “embedding” them in the WH’s wars and giving them a front row view. That’s why when some of these people make all of these claims about being the true left while everyone else is a “centrist” I roll my eyes. Certain people feel safe around a strong daddy who will smite thy enemie, and some people feel safe around mature adults who seem in control of themselves and never get into fistfights. Views of President Obama vary accordingly.

  40. And something that made me laugh. Rasmussen has a new poll out on party self-identification. Dems clock in at 35%; GOP clocks in at 35.4%. It’s that extra .4 that makes me chuckle. I’m sure if the numbers were reversed they’d just have them tied at 35%. More in our failed media experiment.

  41. You are absolutely right.

    The foremost issue is that we are going to have to work our “panties” off to get this man reelected. If he has eight years to get this country going in a new direction, there might be some long term change.

    Not only in a move in world peace, but climate change, health care, on and on.

  42. Thanks to all of you. My much-unused HTML knowledge is finally coming back to me. I was really getting tired of using quotation marks, asterisks, and CAPS.

  43. I was thinking the same thing!! Really are we now down to conducting diplomacy via twitter – 140 character limit???

  44. Both POB and SOS have been treated very badly by the msm. So they must share their contempt for the so called fourth estate in US. I’ll expect both of them to completely ignore them and move on with their agenda.

  45. Askew, I am in agreement with you. John is a spiteful, nasty character, who has indeed punched people or slapped them.

    I just do not trust him.

  46. With every news cycle the MSM shows that it contributes nothing to our democracy. It in fact acts to the detriment of it. Letting GWB slide by for 8 years and then heaping scorn upon PBO for two is not being truth-tellers.

  47. g, that sounds like something PBO would do. He is not threatened, nor does he feel insecure about giving others credit. Interesting intrigue.

  48. Well, this is just galling:

    “Our problem basically is that we have a very distorted economy, in the sense that there has been a significant recovery in our limited area of the economy amongst high-income individuals…

    “Large banks, who are doing much better and large corporations, whom you point out and everyone is pointing out, are in excellent shape. The rest of the economy, small business, small banks, and a very significant amount of the labour force, which is in tragic unemployment, long-term unemployment – that is pulling the economy apart. The average of those two is what we are looking at – that they are fundamentally two separate types of economies.”

    So the question is: Where the hell was he while he was Fed chairman?? Did this come to him as an epiphany? Because it was certainly reality to those of us who aren’t filthy rich. It’s as if he’s trying to absolve himself of blame by saying out loud what we’ve been saying for years.

  49. Perhaps if POTUS were a truly strong leader, rather than calmly stating his belief that Mubarak should begin an orderly government transition out of the government now, he’d label him an axis of evil, state that Mubarak is “with me or against me, it’s that simple” or perhaps that “Saddam Hussein Hosni Mubarak is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction.”

    Because that’s how we roll in the US; that’s real leadership and that’s how to show the world who’s in charge!

    [or in other words, the professional left continues to converge with the ultra-right wing leaving moderates dumbfounded by both extremes].

  50. Saying “that’s how we roll in the US” is not complete without a little head shake. That makes it gangsta. I’ll imagine that you did the head shake as you typed it out.

  51. LOL. Just remembering the bombastic rhetoric of the past and the disaster which ensued makes me shiver. I can’t believe that people are trying to lead us into a return to that. The “homicidal dictator” is a direct Bush quote. They want POTUS to act like this? Ridiculous.

  52. I’ve finally caught up on all the wonderful comments and I have to say, it’s too bad that the amazing West Wing Week about the South Sudanese referendum got lost in the shuffle. Brilliant piece of work. And that General…the special envoy…he rocks.

  53. Ok, the GOP can present a repeal bill for consideration in the Senate. The Dems can then offer amendments to that repeal bill. The amendments would be to exempt popular provisions of the health care act. For example, Sen. Schumer can offer an amendment that says the banning of denying coverage for pre-existing conditions would remain law. The Senate would vote on adding that amendment to the larger bill. Thus, the GOP would have to be on the record allowing insurers to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. It’s basically playing chicken with them.

  54. And, then, the larger repeal bill won’t make it out of the Senate anyway, because the GOP doesn’t have enough votes. So really, they lose all around.

  55. I’ve actually encountered a poster like that on Huff and Puff post. Brags about being a “true liberal” and fawns over people like Bernie Sanders, Alan Grayson, Anthony Wiener, and brags about how everyone else is a “centrist.” And other posters buy into that BS. They complain about how Obama has “gone too far to the right,” how he’s “too much of a corporatist,” how he’s “too Wall Street friendly,” and needs to be primaried in 2012. When I ask these posters who their candidates are to primary Obama with are, either I get the same old list consisting of Grayson, Wiener, Sanders, and Olbermann, or I get crickets. Thing is none of them has a chance nationally, seeing as their ideas would be laughed at by a majority of Americans. President Alan Grayson? President Keith Olbermann? Give me a break!

    I’d rather have that “far right wing Republican DLC Wall Street friendly corporatist” President Obama in office getting things done, than watch a candidate like Alan Grayson LOSE to a Republican and we get right back to where we were back in 2000 after Bush stole the election.

  56. Tweet from the BBC: Aisha Saad tweets: “Clashes expected at sunrise in Tahrir, youth are mobilizing in advance #Egypt #Jan25”

  57. I’m going to repeat a comment I made at weeseeyou:

    Here are some terrific suggestions for remarks which President Obama can make to satisfy those of his critics who think that his firm yet tempered responses are “weak” and “pathetic”:

    “All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end. Hosni Mubarak and his sons must leave Egypt within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing.”

    “America is a friend to the people of Egypt. Our demands are directed only at the regime that enslaves them and threatens us. When these demands are met, the first and greatest benefit will come to Egyptian men, women and children.”

    “Some feel like they can attack the Egyptian protesters… bring ’em on!”

    “Hosni Mubarak is a homicidal dictator.”

    “For all who love freedom and peace, the world without Hosni Mubarak’s regime is a better and safer place.”


    For anyone who got warm fuzzies reading the above and imagining these quotes uttered by President Obama, these quotes are remarks made publicly about Saddam Hussein by President Bush. People need to think about that for a minute and think about whether they want to go back to those times and the foreign policy catastrophe which resulted.

  58. I was chilled to my bones to read this

    “today’s super-rich are increasingly a nation unto themselves.”

  59. This is the same man who made GWB promise to allow him to make his own decisions without interference while he was at the FED. I read this in a Washington Post article back in 2009. IMO, this is an admission of fiscal incompetence. He knew when he was at the FED that the policies he was pushing would tank the American economy, but he didn’t care because he wasn’t affected negatively like the poor and middle classes were.

    I want to offer him a huge dose of STFU. The damage is done, and he helped. That’s all I need to know to reject his attempts at “doing the right thing” at this time. What he did is akin to driving drunk, killing a car full of innocent kids, walking away from the scene of the accident only to come back later after not being charged and saying that he’s sorry.

  60. Excellent! In one set of your pics I looked at the other day, an Egyptian youth had on a t-shirt with the Muslim and Christian religious symbols on it stating that “we are one nation.”

  61. As an old retired school teacher, I appreciate the fact that my Prez does his homework and can speak so well. What a contrast to the C student who used to be in office. I just don’t see how he keeps up with everything even though he has his minions helping. So complicated. Much too complicated for ordinary people. Thanks for the

  62. That’s one of the things that has impressed me with this whole series of demonstrations: the patriotism. The secular nature of this seems to take precedence. Inspiring to watch.

  63. Why acolytes of fantasist Ayn Rand still hold any position of authority amazes me.

  64. exactly and these idiot pundits want to hijack the people’s movement. It makes me sick.

  65. She is living in Arizona and we natives are watching the wench like a hawk! If John McCain is tweeting, be afraid, be very afraid! She could be positioning herself to take his Senate seat over when he resigns. Not that I think she will win. Snowflake Snooki vs. Barack Obama is like a Volkswagen beetle racing a Mercedes!

  66. A world view shaped by asking questions, not from a perspective of fear and hate and exploitation, but from a perspective of hope and admiration for the aspirations of all people.

    No surprise President Obama, once again, demonstrates his essence – seeking the good in each person and then striving to help that person leverage their abilities whatever they might be.

  67. The above message was sent by encrypted data code from a secret bunker far below and/or above ground level.


  68. I’m a Sub, and would be thrilled to have a class of Malia’s and Sasha’s. What a joy that would be. And I am positive when the Obama’s come in for PT Confs, it is as the parents of two students, not POTUS AND FLOTUS.

  69. As a old school teacher who is close to retirement, I share your view. The President was a teacher and that was one of the reasons I admired him when he was running. It was so embarassing when GW was in office.

  70. ‘Personally, I wish Obama wouldn’t have met with McCain’

    ‘I just do not trust him’

    I hear you both, and to a certain extent I agree, but I TRUST PRESIDENT OBAMA, and I trust him more and more each month! In 2008/9 when he chose Hilary C as his SOS, I questioned him because I didn’t trust her. She seemed to have blossomed beautifully into her role as SOS, and she reacts to him with almost naked love in those pictures where I see them interacting together. Later when he supported Lieberman, I questioned his decision – the man was an obvious douchebag(at least to know-it-all me who had never met him)! That had it’s (one major- IMO) payoff -DADT repeal. There are other examples, but my point is that the President seems to have a gift of being able to see beyond other people’s small mindedness and to leave the door always open for them to come around. So far, he never seems to intentionally step on anyone’s pride. In the eyes of the general ignorati, he may seem weak, but IMHO it shows greater strength of character to not let someone’s slighting behaviour make you retaliate. In fact it takes the ‘power’ out of their hands. My trust in the President has grown so much over the last two years that I really no longer question HIS decisions, even when I question the behaviours of many with whom he has to deal. [I don’t worship him, though I in fact feel that he has built up so much capital with me by his leadership that no missteps he makes now would shatter my opinion of him. He is human after all.]

  71. Prayers to the Egyptian people, entering into a new day of protest. The world admires the courage on display.

  72. ‘Cat got her tongue?’

    No, she was spouting off in some recent speech about the proposal(made by Dana Milbank) to not mention her in the month of February. Her take was that she was happy to hear about the proposed one month boycott because – get this- they couldn’t then blame her for what was happening in Egypt!!

    [’nuff said about that one]

  73. WiW, after reading that article I wasn’t left with the feeling that it’s supportive of the President. More like it’s saying that he is playing a game with Americans, pump them up now so that they won’t be pessimistic when he comes out with the difficult financial choices later. Am I way off base? What did I miss?

  74. Ugh. Just plain ugh.

    I didn’t know about the boycott. I think I shall observe it beginning now.

  75. I agree with you majii. I think people faulting the President think that he should be giving ultimatums to Mubarak to pack up and leave Egypt or else he (POTUS) would unleash the U.S. military’s “Shock and Awe” to depose Mubarak, just as President Bush did in Iraq to remove Saddam. Do these people realize that Mubarak has been a a valuable ally of the U.S., and especially in the Israel/ Palestinian conflict, for the past 30 years? Do they really think that Egyptians, who are protesting, and wish to see the end to Mubarak’s regime, would welcome the U.S. military as liberators? I am really at loss as to what the bashers of Obama’s response to the crisis in Egypt would have him do. Personally, I am getting tired of grown up people, who by the way would not encourage drama in their children, freaking out because the President responded to the dangerous situation in Egypt with firm, but measured and thoughtful, response. I am elated that we have a president who strives to peacefully diffuse crises rather than aggravating them with dramatic and ill-tempered remarks. Now no one can predict, with absolute certainty, how the situation in Egypt will turn out. The country seems to be literally on fire. All I see the President focused on is trying to contain, and eventually put out, the fire before it destroys the whole country. I am grateful President Obama realizes that you do not pour gasoline on a raging fire. In this crisis, in my judgement, trying, or appearing, to dictate who should be ruling Egypt, from Washington, D.C., would be equivalent to pouring gasoline on a raging fire.

  76. My take too. He’s one of the ones that annoyed me regularly when I used to visit the Rachel Maddow Show, as he was always so ready to second guess the President IN THE MEDIA. At first I would wonder aloud ‘why can’t you be more like the GOPers and support your leader in public?’ Later I’d just turn him off when he started. His talking points were generally good, but he couldn’t seem to help implying that he’d do things a little differently (and better) than his president.

  77. Sadly, I think they want the WH responses they are accustomed to, even if they create problems and do not work. Predictable responses elicit predictable talking points, no thoughtful analysis needed = our overpaid media.

  78. -Thanks LL. I too am tired of caps and quotation marks but never thought to ask. It’s good to be in a learning community ;).

  79. GN, you have the scenario all wrong! You’re not supposed to be thinking about possible repercussions while telling foreign countries what to do. Only one thing at a time, please! It’s only weak leaders that listen, consider pros and cons, etc. before acting. Just give your orders and deal with the fallout later. I can’t remember where I read that the last president only wanted sound bites when he was being briefed, and he often went with his guts; very strong and successful that was.

  80. I’ll observe the boycott, too. But first … may I say that she probably is not mentioning the demonstrations because she can’t see Egypt from her window or from whatever perch she sees the other countries.


  81. Allow me a “USA hell yeah!” moment:

    NASA’s Kepler mission has made a discovery of several hundred potential planets orbiting the Milky Way, five of which are similar to Earth and located in the habitable zone.

    Well, not entirely “America hell yeah”. The cameras were made in the UK. But this is the stuff we can do when you dream big.

    Article here:

  82. Our SOS is on the job, according to your link:

    “0310 GMT: Hillary Clinton in a call to Egyptian Vice President described the shooting on democracy protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo as ‘shocking.’ Gunfire continues.”

  83. OMG, BWD, this was such a great read to come home to tonight. We have such a great president. And what a great group of people. I just read all the reply’s. So much information.
    Thank you everyone.

  84. Just saying…they have really touched my heart and they have it together in striking ways. People of different religion forming human walls around each other, whether Muslims at prayer or Christian churches. What an example for the world. This is why I feel so much optimism for Egypt. They don’t have all of this hate and division. God bless these people, they have no idea how many are looking on in admiration. My feeling is similar to those thoughts I’ve read from the medics: don’t kill each other or hurt each other over a simple disagreement. In terms of civility, they are on a very high level. Mubarak’s time has come IMO but what a country he cultivated; they’re just ready for the next step and a new era. This is just for the history books.

  85. I will have to look a bit deeper into this; do not want to jeopodize my sovreign status.

  86. I’m not sure I believe that. Remember, McCain brought us Sarah Palin, and even had to go begging for her endorsement. And no-one really knows what McCain stands for anymore – he’s flip-flopped so many times. I think he’s just a sad old man, who used to stand for something somewhat honorable.

  87. Sounds like Nelson (if this is the one who is a Republican in Dem clothing) is trying to get the court cases expedited so that the Republican Supreme Court can rescind the law before the benefits kick in. Is this true?

  88. I was listening to CBS News radio tonight in the car, and they quoted the Rasmussen poll to show that over 100% (57% somewhat, 47% completely) of the people wanted to repeal health care at least somewhat or completely, and only another 38% wanted to keep it. That’s when I realized that the media is made up of idiots.

  89. Good to see Weiner actually working as a Democrat on TV for once, and not just bashing the President.

  90. I doubt that it will prove to be any real source of deserving worry on that front. This strikes me as being, entirely apart from a commendable (mutual) security measure, a step towards deepening the ties between Canada and the United States – as close as they already might be, in the international scene of today a higher degree of cooperation between two nations sounds like a positive thing to me.

    Canada and the United States have for a long time shared a strong connection – historically, diplomatically, economically – but their relationship today, although certainly close, is not quite on a par with the connection between the two in the pre-1970s/1980s era, when the relationship was described as a “special relationship” on a par with the partnership between America and Great Britain.

  91. It must be good to have a smart person governing your country 🙂 Fantastic story, and it’s really visible from the BBC coverage of who’s actually in these demonstrations that there’s a whole young generation of Egyptians who want to be international, multilingual, technological, expressive, and they’re fed up with regimes that have been fossilised since the Cold War.

    When Obama gave the Cairo speech I thought it was naively optimistic- look at the silly man talking about democracy and freedom in Egypt, ha ha 🙂 but it turns out I was wrong and BHO is smarter than me. Surprise! 🙂

  92. So was I, but it has always been that way; it has now become obvious to all since the middle class has been devastated by this economy. PBO is dragging us back from a 2-tier economy and back from being a 3rd world country. We are helping him, but the rich are fighting him as they like a slave economy.

  93. I’m reasonably sure that the political failure in question could not find Egypt on a map of the world. In fact, I think she couldn’t find it on a map of Egypt.

    Also, she may be constantly trying to tweet “It’s time for the president of Africa to step down” but her aides keep wrestling the phone out of her hands 🙂

  94. Rasmussen is a very pro-Republican polling firm that Nate Silver (apparently the expert in these things now)rated last or near last in the list of pollster accuracy in 2010.

  95. Thanks for pointing this out. This is huge, actually. It’s a strong reflection on how President Obama thinks… and his different spin on alternate resolutions to a problem.

    As any educator can tell you – it’s through education that true changes can be made in society.

    Think about it – this is coming from a man who grew up understanding that education is most important – but at the same time it was not something he could take for granted. Given his family income, it was something he himself had to strive and apply himself to gain the best education. That force of his mother’s pushing him towards learning is what thrust forward the grounding of his perspective on the poor, solutions, involvement in making changes.

    I love this president!!!

  96. I too trust Obama. He is smart and clever.
    If the president can find a way to strength
    his own hand, so be it.

    But I will never have any respect for McShame.

  97. The trouble with offering incentives for foreigners to come to the U.S. and study is that they usually go back to their home country and use the knowledge gained here, there. This is particularly problematic in the sciences, where we are rapidly falling behind other countries. We need to offer incentives to those who wish to stay in this country and improve our research capabilities and work in our economy. Consider the children of hispanic immigrants. They want to stay in the U.S. and become productive members of society. Yet we deny them the ability to attend college here. Those who plan to stay in the United States and put their education to work here should be given a priority over foreigners who drain our educational resources for the benefit of our competitors.

  98. But that is where things work for the betterment of the world. They do go home back to their countries – for the betterment of their own countries. And hopefully not just the learning gained in the institution where they studied, but also having gained some understanding about Americans and American culture – and while not perfect, is something that is also not as negative as the world believes. And then also about democracy and a government different from theirs.

    I think the most experience I ever gained was through travel through many different countries around the world. made me a better world citizen, I think. But also made me appreciate the US as well.

    So while we may lose on the training foreign students gain here – we win in other ways.

    or at least, that’s how I see it.

    Besides – the US needs to devote more education towards the sciences to encourage our own homegrown budding future scientists.

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