Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hosni Mubarak On Charlie Rose

Curiously the President of Egypt -- for 28 years! -- made an appearance on PBS' Charlie Rose show before seeing the President of the United States. A rather savvy media move if he wanted, for example, to telegraph some message to Washington before his official meeting. No doubt White House officials watched the tape. Rose, no stranger to the halls of power, has a relationship with Mubarak (he has interviewed him more than a half-dozen times), one that was noted at the oputset of the interview. From ForeignPolicy, which observed of the state visit:

"Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who arrived in Washington Monday accompanied by a large delegation including his son Gamal Mubarak and several dozen Egyptian journalists, doesn't travel light. Still, with members of Congress back in their districts during August recess and much of the rest of the city out of town, there is a distinct under-the-radar quality to this official Mubarak state visit, his first to Washington in six years.

When the Middle East potentate was scheduled to come to Washington in May, he was due to stay at Blair House, the official residence for visiting foreign dignitaries. But after that visit was canceled due to the death of his grandson, the new trip took a different, less formal cast, with Mubarak no longer a guest at the swank U.S. government mansion but instead apparently encamped at the Four Seasons in Georgetown, where he was scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Monday. And instead of American VIPs coming to have an audience with Mubarak at Blair House as planned in May, the Egyptians have invited groups of former senior U.S. government officials to meet with Mubarak at the Four Seasons as well. (U.S. Jewish leaders met with Mubarak Monday as well). Drivers on Rock Creek Parkway Monday may have noticed the exit to the Four Seasons blocked off at the bottom by police cars."

Charlie, to his credit, came out with both barrels smoking, asking Mubarak if he planned to run again in 2011 or if he is grooming his son to lead the intellectual center of the Arab world, Egypt. Mubarak is enough of a gamey dictator that he didn't take the bait. But he brought his son Gamal Mubarak to see Obama.

Curiouser and curiouser ..

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