Incompetence on Egypt?

Or are folks within the administration simply not singing from the same hymnbook?

Early this morning, this AP piece seemed to send a clear message:

President Barack Obama said Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak should do the statesmanlike thing and make a quick handoff to a more representative government.

Translation: Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Obama said a new era must begin now, an unsubtle message to Mubarak that he should not cling to power until elections in September.

“The key question he should be asking himself is, ‘How do I leave a legacy behind in which Egypt is able to get through this transformative period?'” Obama said Friday.

Obama, in office for two years, gave the 82-year-old Egyptian president some words of advice after 30 years of iron rule. The game’s up, Obama said, using language only slightly less direct. It’s time to leave.

And yet, just hours later, this from the LA Times:

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak must stay in power for now to steer the political transition, President Obama’s special envoy for Egypt told reporters Saturday.

“We need to get a national consensus around the preconditions for the next step forward. The president must stay in office to steer those changes,” Frank Wisner told a security conference in Munich, Germany, during a video conference from Washington, Reuters reported.

Wisner, former U.S. ambassador to Egypt and India who is seen as having a good relationship with the Mubarak regime, was dispatched to Cairo earlier this week by Obama to meet with Egyptian leaders.

All of which lends lots of credibility to this Fox News piece yesterday:

As Egypt teeters between a state of political reform and anarchy, U.S. officials are giving increasingly mixed signals about what steps should be taken to bring the country back from the brink.

The Obama administration is looking at several options for how Egypt could quell the unrest and ensure an orderly transition. Among those options, according to an official, is for Mubarak to resign immediately and allow for the formation of a military-backed caretaker government which could prepare the country for elections later this year.

But officials stressed that there is no single U.S. plan being discussed.

And yet, we know Obama is certainly single-minded about some things when we read this at AFP:

Actress and music diva Jennifer Lopez will top the bill at US President Barack Obama’s annual Super Bowl party on Sunday, as the Green Bay Packers take on the Pittsburgh Steelers for the NFL championship.

J-Lo will be joined by husband Marc Anthony at the White House party, also featuring top officials including Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, a senior US official said.

It’s all about priorities people. 

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