NYT Reporter: "Very Clear" White House Prefers Mubarak Step Down

Is White House Pressuring Mubarak to Step Down?

Helene Cooper, one of the New York Times reporters to break late Thursday that the Obama administration was discussing plans for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down, discussed the development further on CBSNews.com's "Washington Unplugged" on Friday.

She characterized it Friday as "very clear" that Mubarak's resignation was the White House's "preferred option." Sources tell Cooper many calls have been made by Mr. Obama and others in the administration to Egyptian counterparts, but it is still not clear high level officials are "ready to abandon their president."

"A lot of Mubarak's deputies are very angry," Cooper told CBS News' Bob Orr. "They feel the Obama administration is pushing them too hard. But the reality is the people on the streets are also pushing very hard."

"One Egyptian official I talked to yesterday said, point blank, that the United States needs to mind its own business," she added.

Citing American foreign policy and interests in the region, Cooper said there is "no way" Mr. Obama could maintain a hands-off approach.

"If he was the president of China, he could sit back and wait to see how things play out, but that doesn't work here," she said. "Look at just how involved the United States and the Egyptian government are and how important all of this is to American interests."

Watch the interview above.

Christine Delargy is an associate producer for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. You can also follow her on Twitter here: http://www.twitter.com/cbswashunplug.

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