"The Obama administration appears to be now preparing for an Egypt without President Hosni Mubarak, pushing the hard-line 82-year-old leader to swiftly meet the cry from the streets for greater political freedom while growing ever-more doubtful that their longtime ally can survive the upheaval.
The administration is not yet ready to abandon Mubarak — at least in public. Officials continue to strike a cautious tone in their statements, fearing that openly supporting calls for Mubarak's removal would alarm other U.S. allies in the region.
But both current and former government officials say the days of autocratic government in Egypt are over — with or without Mubarak.
'They don't want to push Mubarak over the cliff, but they understand that the Mubarak era is over and that the only way Mubarak could be saved now is by a ruthless suppression of the population, which would probably set the stage for a much more radical revolution down the road,' said a former senior U.S. advisor who said he has discussed the crisis with ex-colleagues still in the administration. He spoke on condition of anonymity so he could be more candid on a topic of sensitive debate inside the administration.
'They recognized that change was coming,' said the former official, adding that the administration recognized as early as Wednesday that it could not try to save the Mubarak regime at all costs.
Egypt unrest, Obama: U.S. cautiously prepares for post-Mubarak era - latimes.com: