Clinton stays on message as Egypt evolves

SMU Professor Seyom Brown, the John Goodwin Tower Distinguished Chair in International Politics and National Security, talks about the politics of the evolving situation in Egypt.

By Mimi Hall, Richard Wolf and David Jackson

 WASHINGTON — Just one week before Egyptian protesters launched a revolution, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton mused on TV about a future free of the relentless pressures of her job. She said she would commit to staying through the end of President Obama's first term next year — but not beyond.

"I do look forward to having a little more spare time and a few more hours just to take a deep breath, which seems hard to have in this job," she told NBC's Today.

It must seem even harder now.

Immersed in what may be the biggest challenge of a challenging career in politics and government, Clinton is managing the Obama administration's response to a real-time televised upheaval that threatens to spread across the Arab world. . .

Others agree that Clinton and Obama have had little choice but to tread carefully. Considerable pressure may be brought to bear behind the scenes, but "the calculation is to do it publicly would be bad for our relationship with others in the area, particularly Jordan and Saudi Arabia," says Southern Methodist University political scientist Seyom Brown, who worked in the State Department in the Lyndon Johnson administration. Those nations would be "fearful of the U.S. taking positions against regimes in power."

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