As you know, thousands of men (and women on the sidelines) marched on the street of Egypt today clamoring for an end to Hosni Mubarak’s reign. He gave a televised address a few hours ago announcing that at some point, he will move on — and that he will not seek re-election.
“In all sincerety, regardless of circumstances, I never intended to be a candidate for another term,” Mubarak said as demonstrators sitting on the ground in Cairo’s Tahrir Square watched the speech on a giant TV screen hung between lampposts.
Mubarak said, “I have initated the formation of a new government with new priorities and initiatives which will respond to our young people’s demands and their anxieties.”
The crowd reacted wildly, and shouts of joy and “Leave!” echoed in Tahrir Square.
President Obama is now scheduled to deliver remarks on the situation this evening.
Mum’s the word on this: Report: U.S. ‘Held Secret Meeting with Muslim Brotherhood’
Update: President Obama jumps up and down, orders Mubarak to do something “now” — without having the balls to say what it is he wants “now.”
In brief remarks at the White House, Obama made no mention of Mubarak’s announcement that he had decided not to stand for reelection. Instead, Obama said he had told the Egyptian president in a telephone call that this was a “moment of transformation” in Egypt and that “the status quo is not sustainable.”
Obama’s message appeared carefully calibrated to avoid publicly calling for Mubarak to stand down, while making clear he should stand aside. Administration officials say they are seeking a transitional government, with or without Mubarak as its titular head, formed by representative reform leaders and backed by the Egyptian army that will address legitimate grievances, restore stability and plan for a free election.
“The key part of the statement was ‘now,’ ” an administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Obama’s full remarks are here.