(CNN) – Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich said he's "concerned" about the Obama administration's handling of the situation in Egypt and what he sees as a divide between the White House and diplomat Franks Wisner.
"I think the fact that they appointed a very able diplomat Frank Wisner and within two days were publicly contradicting him is you know so amateurish," Gingrich told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. "I was with John Bolton (former ambassador to the United Nations) last night. He said it's inconceivable that they would be this clumsy and this out of sync. I mean just with themselves, forget the Arab world. They can't even get the White House and their special envoy to be on the same page."
Wisner was sent to Egypt by the United States to negotiate directly with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the transition, and on his return said Mubarak should remain in office, at least for now, in order to hand over authority in an orderly manner.
At the White House press briefing Monday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that Wisner does not speak for the administration.
"His views on who should or shouldn't be the head of Egypt don't represent the views of our administration," Gibbs said. "The views of our administration are that those are the decisions that will be made by the Egyptians."
But the envoy's remarks were not entirely out of line with those of other officials who have noted that there are "certain legitimate legislative hurdles" that must be overcome by Mubarak and could take some time to accomplish.
Gingrich also said he's worried that the United States might reach out to the Muslim Brotherhood, an opposition Islamist umbrella group in the country.
"I think this is absolute total misreading of history. The Muslim Brotherhood is a mortal enemy of our civilization, they say so openly," Gingrich said.
The Brotherhood, officially banned but still tolerated by the Egyptian government, is already in negotiations with other – but not all – opposition groups and Egypt's new vice president, Omar Suleiman. The Brotherhood was removed from the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations in the 1970s and, at least in Egypt, has renounced violence.
The likely 2012 presidential candidate reiterated his "end of February and to March" deadline to make a decision and turned the discussion to former President Ronald Reagan, whose centennial birthday celebration he attended Sunday.
"Reagan did what he believed in when he thought it was right," Gingrich said. "I frankly try to study Reagan and (Margaret) Thatcher and (Abraham) Lincoln because I think they were the great truth tellers of modern politics, sometimes when telling the truth people in the establishment go nuts because it's not the truth they want to hear."
Washington (CNN) – Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham predicted President Barack Obama is beatable in the 2012 presidential election, but only if the Republican nominee wins over independent voters.
"Conservatism sells, it's a center right nation but the nominee for the party is going to have to win the independent voter at the end of the day," Graham said Monday in an interview set to air at 7 p.m. ET on CNN's "John King, USA."
Graham said Republicans have a chance to take back the White House because Democrats "sort of blew it."
"We got a chance now to reengage with the American people," Graham told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. "The health care debate I think will define 2012."
Every day we ask influential politicos to send us their top three bullet points that are driving the day's conversation inside and outside Washington.
Good day and it is an interesting one. Cairo is more calm, but just as uncertain. Most organizers of the protests stand by their demand that President Mubarak must go before any meaningful dialogue can begin. But the government appears convinced it can make some concessions and, at least for now, hold fast in its view that the president should be allowed to serve out the remaining months of his term. Here in Washington, it was Détente Day between President Obama and the Chamber of Commerce. Remember when the Chamber was spending more than $30 million in the 2010 campaign – most of it helping Republicans – and the White House raised the specter that some of that money came from foreign sources? Well today the president was politely received in a speech at Chamber headquarters. Liberals didn’t like it, but the White House calculation is that war with corporate America won’t help a president who needs to get the unemployment rate down as much as possible heading into next year – his re-election campaign year. Erick and Mario are our Monday contributors. Erick notes the internal GOP tension over spending cuts, and his No. 2 is a poke at the internal conservative movement tensions over the big CPAC event, too. Mario sees irony in the Reagan Centennial celebration. And he obviously liked the VW ad! I missed them all – and the game – flying back from the aforementioned Reagan Centennial!
Enjoy the day. – John King
Talk Show Host and Online Editor of MyLatinoNews.com Mario Solis-Marich:
– Quarterback Sneak: A non-profit organization cancels a Palin veterans event in Denver citing “personal attacks” coincidently freeing her to attend the first GOP Presidential debate in California, is the Golden State more “civil”?
– Off Sides: Reagan turns 100 as the GOP says it loves the President who granted legal status to millions of undocumented workers, raised taxes when necessary, and saw the need and the right of the Federal Government to provide health care to veterans.
– Vince Lombardi Trophy: Kudos to Volkswagen executives whose Super Bowl ad reminded America of our childhood fantasies combined with our growing frustration at a collective sense of a loss of control and convinced us that it’s all cute.
RedState.Com Editor Erick-Woods Erickson:
– Conservatives are revving up the fight against House Leadership over $100 billion in cuts.
– The Muslim Brotherhood and their connections to CPAC are drawing conservative fire.
– Barack Obama falls flat at the Chamber of Commerce.