At the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend in Washington, D.C., some contenders pitched hard but fell flat, while others hit perfect notes and were rewarded with rock-star receptions from the record crowd. Headliners included former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), former Godfathers Pizza CEO Herman Cain, Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN), and Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS). Plus, Rick Perry issued a call to arms, Ron Paul squeaked out a second straw-poll victory, and Donald Trump drew libertarian ire. The Daily Beast's Mark McKinnon covers CPAC's 2012 forecasts.
Egypt's Supreme Military Council reiterated its promise to make the transition to a "democratic and free" Egypt, but said it would take its time, leaving Mubarak's government in place as caretaker. Much to the chagrin of some of the protesters remaining in Tahrir Square, the council is supposedly being too opaque about its plans for transition. "We need a timetable for elections. We need an interim government. We need a committee for a new constitution. Once we get all that, then we can leave the square," said one protester. Others plan to return every Friday until the military repeals the emergency law and dissolves the parliament. Meanwhile, a few thousand remain in the square, and scuffles broke out between them and the troops trying to dismantle their makeshift encampment.
With President Mubarak officially ousted, a coalition of organizers behind Egypt's historic 18-day demonstrations has drawn up their first cohesive list of demands for their new government, including the end of emergency laws, the abolition of the current parliament, and a rewritten or entirely new constitution. In a symbolic gesture of reconstruction, activists began cleaning up Cairo's Tahrir Square, the heart of their rebellion. "We are cleaning the square now because it is ours," said one 20-year-old student.
Get ready for the week ahead: Obama will propose some considerable budget cuts tomorrow. They'll be less than the likely Republican proposals, but will still promise a sizeable $1.1 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade, says a senior administration official. Many domestic programs the president supports are on the chopping block: Forestry and public-health programs, as well as home energy assistance to low-income families. By 2015, the country would be running a deficit of 3 percent of GDP, down from three times that level now. Unlike Republicans, Obama plans to reduce military spending. "We're going from an environment where, if something was for defense, it was outside of normal budgetary discipline," says a White House official. Like the Republicans, though, the president isn't tackling long-term budget-busting entitlement programs like Medicare.
Seemingly in response to the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt, Palestinian leaders announced Saturday that they planned to hold presidential and parliamentary elections by September, after a meeting with the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Islamist Hamas faction rejected the plan for national elections, which have not been held since 2006, when Hamas won a majority in parliament and has since governed Gaza while the Palestinian Authority controlled the West Bank. A Hamas spokesman pointed to the resignation of Palestine's chief negotiator with Israel over leaked documents, saying it was proof that negotiations and peaceful efforts with Israel were a failure, and adding that the Palestinian Authority should "cease all types of coordination with the Zionist enemy."
Ayman Mohyeldin earned raves covering Egypt's coup for the Qatar-based network. He talks to Lloyd Grove about being roughed up by the military, the next big protests, and Anderson Cooper's whining.
Nora Ephron's Favorite Love Stories by Nora Ephron From a surprise Hitchcock flick to a classic Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant pairing, the queen of romantic comedies picks her top 11 favorites for Valentine's Day.
Why Egypt's Naysayers Got It Wrong by Laila Lalami Right up until the end, political theorists the world over insisted that what happened in Tunisia couldn't—or shouldn't—happen in Egypt. Laila Lalami on why Westerners often underestimate the Arab world.