Pinch Envoys and Presidential Hopefuls
Frank Wisner to the rescue! The former ambassador to Egypt and undersecretary of defense is heading to Cairo to try to take stock of ongoing protests and to reiterate what the administration has said about restraint and moving forward. State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said that the “retired diplomat” who has “deep experience in the region” will meet "with Egyptian officials and provid[e] his assessment.” Wisner is also set to have a sitdown with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. He travels to Egypt amid the largest protests yet seen in the country. Thus far, there have not been any confrontations with Egyptian army forces tasked with maintaining security.
Meanwhile, Jon Huntsman, the U.S. Ambassador to China, told the White House that he will leave his post in the next few months. Despite rumors that Huntsman has his sights set on a presidential bid, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that he hasn’t “heard anybody say they know what the future holds for Ambassador Huntsman.” Reportedly, a political action committee has already been set up to get ready for his potential try for the Republican nod. Gibbs said the search for a replacement has already begun.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is squaring off against Republicans on border issues. Republicans in the House have begun hearings into the administration’s immigration-enforcement record, arguing that the administration doesn't have a handle on violence along the border. Napolitano said in a speech in Texas yesterday that illegal border crossing are down 36 percent in the last two years, and crime rates are also going down. She criticized lawmakers for using the issue as a way to “score political points.”