Last Sunday at 2 p.m., a blue-and-white Air Force jet left Andrews Air Force Base bound for Cairo. On board was Frank G. Wisner, an adroit ex-diplomat whom President Obama had asked hours before to undertake a supremely delicate mission: nudging President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt out of power. – A Diplomatic Scramble as an Ally Is Pushed to the Exit



When you’re up against it and a hint of daylight breaks through it’s time to rally your allies. Start at the top.

Give points to the military.

… I want to commend the Egyptian military for the professionalism and patriotism that it has shown thus far in allowing peaceful protests while protecting the Egyptian people.

Announce what the hell your foreign policy is.

And going forward, the United States will continue to stand up for democracy and the universal rights that all human beings deserve, in Egypt and around the world.

Remind everyone that leaders are glorified temps who serve at the pleasure of the people.

Indeed, all of us who are privileged to serve in positions of political power do so at the will of our people.

Tell the truth to power, even to your friends and no matter how painful.

What is clear — and what I indicated tonight to President Mubarak — is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now.

That basic fairness and belief in the future is foundational.

And it should result in a government that’s not only grounded in democratic principles, but is also responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people.

Give credit where credit is due to the Egyptian people who are providing an astounding example to the entire world.

Over the last few days, the passion and the dignity that has been demonstrated by the people of Egypt has been an inspiration to people around the world, including here in the United States, and to all those who believe in the inevitability of human freedom.

Always be talking to the next generations, because it’s through them we will win the future.

To the people of Egypt, particularly the young people of Egypt, I want to be clear: We hear your voices.

When presented with a great community of people who have found common purpose to change the world in which they live salute it.

… That truth can be seen in the sense of community in the streets. It can be seen in the mothers and fathers embracing soldiers. And it can be seen in the Egyptians who linked arms to protect the national museum — a new generation protecting the treasures of antiquity; a human chain connecting a great and ancient civilization to the promise of a new day.

It’s been a rough week and a historic one to get Pres. Obama to this moment late yesterday. And as it should be, it wasn’t the President who was the face of the gaffes and 20th century rhetoric even if the words originated in the White House. Staying out of the glare enabled him to get his policy straight while displaying no fingerprints on what eventually happened. Pres. Obama could then walk to the podium and drive home the message that Sen. John Kerry laid the foundation for yesterday in his op-ed, which followed behind the scenes work that will make another great book for Bob Woodward.

The American President is a job that rewards gravitas, humility and the magic political art of transmitting your power without showing your hand.

It’s not over in Egypt, but no one can say that Pres. Obama didn’t do what needed to be done last night.