(CNN)–It's early, and State of the Union is bringing you the best of the morning headlines to go with your cup of coffee.
On our radar this morning: We focus on the unrest in Egypt, including the Muslim Brotherhood joining talks with the Egyptian government.
Check out what we're reading, and make sure to watch the show at 9AM/12PM ET with our exclusive interview with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
"We did not change our stance. We decided to take the people's demands to the negotiation table," Essam el-Erian, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, told CNN.
The mixed messages have been confusing and at times embarrassing — a reflection of a policy that, by necessity, has been made up on the fly. “This is what happens when you get caught by surprise,” said one American official, who would not speak on the record. “We’ve had endless strategy sessions for the past two years on Mideast peace, on containing Iran. And how many of them factored in the possibility that Egypt,” and presumably whatever dominoes follow it, “moves from stability to turmoil? None.”
Early in Obama's presidency, officials cut in half funding to promote democracy in Egypt. They also agreed to restrict certain grants only to organizations licensed by President Hosni Mubarak's authoritarian regime, reversing a Bush administration policy of funding groups at odds with the government.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, at a March 2009 meeting with Mubarak at an Egyptian resort on the Red Sea, seemed to downplay a State Department report documenting torture, rape and political detentions in Egypt.
"We issue these reports on every country," Clinton told a television interviewer. "And so we hope that it will be taken in the spirit in which it is offered, that we all have room for improvement."
Egyptians have not been paid, and many are in need of cash. While foreign investment is rising, the demonstrators took to the streets because many could not afford food in a country where opportunities are reserved for the elite. Almost half of Egyptians live at or below the poverty line.
But human rights advocates say that so far Mr. Suleiman, who also is in charge of Egyptian intelligence, has shown no sign of discontinuing the practice of extra-legal detention of political opponents — a hallmark of President Hosni Mubarak’s nearly 30-year rule that is a central grievance of the protesters in the streets.
“It’s a difficult situation,” Ms. Palin told the Christian Broadcasting Network. “This is that 3 a.m. White House phone call, and it seems for many of us trying to get that information from our leader in the White House, it seems that that call went right to the answering machine.”
Thanks for reading!
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