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Egypt protests: US conservatives divided on how to view them

Egypt's street revolution represents a threat to the US and the capitalist system, some tea party icons say, while in the GOP establishment others see it as the spread of freedom to the Arab world.

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Sen. John McCain arrives for a hearing on the situation in Iraq, Thursday, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Earlier, McCain said the United States has to do "a better job of encouraging democracy" in the Middle East in light of the public uprising in Egypt, adding, that US officials have correctly called for an orderly transition away from President Hosni Mubarak.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

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A fierce dispute raging among conservative commentators on the protests in Egypt is straining – but has yet to break – a bipartisan consensus among congressional leaders backing President Obama’s handling of events.

At issue is whether Egypt’s street revolution represents a threat to the US and the capitalist system – a theme of tea party icons Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin – or rather the spread of freedom to the Arab world, a theme of the conservative establishment that cheered President Bush’s war in Iraq.

House Republican leaders – the Obama administration’s strongest supporters on the war in Afghanistan – have cautioned their members, especially committee chairs, to avoid getting out ahead of the White House on Egypt.

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