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Secretary Clinton: U.S. Doesn't Want To 'Send Any Message' About Mubarak

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Just moments ago on CNN’s State of the Union, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was asked whether the U.S. is beginning to back away from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

“We do not want to send any message about backing forward or backing back,” Clinton said in response. What the U.S. wants to do, she said, is “to help clear the air so that those who remain in power, starting with President Mubarak ... will begin a process of reaching out” to those demanding reforms in Egypt.

Clinton was also asked whose side the U.S. is on, Mubarak or the demonstrators. “There’s another choice,” she said, “it’s the Egyptian people.” The U.S. wants, Clinton said, a “democratic Egypt that provides both political and economic rights to its people.”

We asked yesterday whether it’s time for the U.S. to cut ties with Mubarak, and most of the Two-Way readers who responded favored cutting those ties.

Clinton is due on the other major Sunday morning talk shows. We’ll pass along word about what else she has to say.

NPR.org’s latest coverage of the crisis in Egypt starts here.

Update at 9:45 a.m. ET. The Associated Press’ round-up of Clinton’s comments begins this way:

“The U.S. expects that the protests in Egypt will lead to free and fair elections as part of an ‘orderly’ transition to ‘real democracy,’ Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday as the Obama administration worked to get a handle on the fast-moving upheaval shaking the American ally. ‘I want the Egyptian people to have a chance to chart a new future,’ said Clinton, who addressed the volatile situation in back-to-back interviews on the five morning TV news shows before leaving on a trip to Haiti.”

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