U.S. officials tells ABC News that on Saturday, President Obama made the final authorization to send former Ambassador to Egypt Frank Wisner to deliver – gently – the message to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that neither he nor his son should run for the presidency this September.
Wisner, a well-regarded Egypt hand with a longtime relationship with Mubarak, was “in the orbit,” an official says, “because he’s been talked about as a potential Holbrooke replacement” to be a Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was first suggested by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be an envoy to Mubarak from President Obama and her office.
The White House gave Wisner his talking points, the official said, and Wisner flew to Cairo Sunday to tell Mubarak that he should not run for re-election — and that his son Gamal should not run either.
The message didn’t delve into “the mechanics of a transition,” an official said. “It was supposed to be delivered in a gentle way, it was a gentle nudge: ‘You should say you’re not running again.’”
One additional observation, from a well-informed observer: “the events have in some ways moved beyond Wisner’s talking points. Mubarak’s departure could come well before September.”