Clinton’s visit, the first to Cairo since the election of the new President Mohamed Morsi, was a major event in all top newspapers. State-run outlets typically ran straightforward front-page headlines highlighting Clinton’s meeting with the Egyptian President and Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt's Military Council. Nevertheless, some state-run media columnists such as Reham Mazen were critical of the visit. For example, Mazen complained that Secretary Clinton referred to the Israel-Egypt peace treaty in her statement “even though President and the Military Council have said repeatedly that they will honor the treaty." "So why bring up a subject that was settled," she wrote. The writer agreed with “some Egyptian political parties” that Secretary Clinton’s visit was premature. “We are still trying to rearrange our internal state. Some Egyptians think that we need to pull out the claws of US policy and some think that Egypt has to decide its policy without dictation,” concluded Mazen in her state-run Al Ahram column.
Al Ahram Columnist Hussien Al Zanati tackled a different aspect of Clinton’s visit, focusing on the Coptic Christians’ refusal to meet with Clinton. In his column titled, “Copts Slap Mrs. Clinton,” Al Zanati argued that the Copts had "finally realized" that the US could not be relied upon to defend their interests. “The Copts now believe that there is a alliance between the Muslim Brothers and the US,” said the columnist, adding that Copts had realized like other Egyptians that US handling of Egypt was "reinforcing sectarian divisions.”
Independent media, however, published even harsher reactions to the visit. Columnist Al Bedawi Abdul Azim Badawi, for example, from the daily Al Youm Al Sabaa wrote, “Clinton’s visit is part of the same old approach pursued by successive US administrations when dealing with Egypt,” adding that US military aid to Egypt was a “bribe” with which the US sought “to secure its regional interests.” Mohammad Al Munshawi, writing for Al Shrouk, said Clinton’s goal was to see what kind of foreign policy Egypt’s new leadership had in mind: “Washington wants to know how Morsi is going to handle relations with Israel? Is he going to meet with Israeli officials? How would he respond if they attempted to contact him? Will he maintain the special relationship that Egypt always had with Washington?” Al Munshawi argued that even thought the US continuously threatened to suspend its military aid to Egypt, Washington did not really mean it because it could not afford to lose Egypt as an ally.
Perhaps the harshest reaction came from journalist and former MP (Member of Parliament) Mustafa Bakery. Bakery wrote on his Twitter account that “Clinton's visit to Cairo is meant to express Washington's support for Muslim Brotherhood, and back its call to convene the dissolved Parliament. It is an incitement against the military. The US stances are revealed” He went on to say that “America is the greatest enemy of our Arab and Islamic countries, but we will stand up to all the conspiracies with strength. We will uncover its agents and their schemes.”
Analyst Amr Shubaki who often writes in Al Masry Al Youm saw “nothing new” about the visit, saying the US message was to confirm there would be no radical change between the two countries and to "emphasize the strategic alliance between the two countries and the United States’ support for the Muslim Brotherhood."
Reporting on the protesters in Alexandria who threw tomatoes, insults and shoes at Secretary Clinton's motorcade, some independent newspapers said that the protesters were supporters of Tawif Okasha, a Mubarak regime loyalist. Okasha, who is also the owner of the Faraeen (Pharos) channel, had called for human chains around the American Embassy to protest and reject Clinton's visit. He told protestors to bring eggs and tomatoes with them. In a statement to Copts Today, Okasha said, “Clinton came to Cairo to set up the new Egyptian government.”
With a more open Press and mass demonstrations taking place regularly, both government and opposition political leaders in Egypt must tread carefully in dealing with the United States. The political and social upheaval in Egypt has made Egypt more complicated for the US as well, since the days when the US could deal directly with Egyptian leadership and disregard sentiment in the street are gone.