By Sam Youngman - 02/11/11 05:44 PM EST
Vice President Biden on Friday called the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak a “pivotal moment” and said Democrats and Republicans need to be united in dealing with the country in its political transition.
Biden, who just two weeks ago insisted in an interview that Mubarak was not a dictator, hailed the celebrations in Egypt and throughout the Middle East as a victory for democracy.
The vice president, joining Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at a lecture series in Louisville, Ky., said Mubarak's resignation after 18 days of protests and high-wire White House diplomacy is a "pivotal moment in history."
Biden said he did not want to pre-empt President Obama's statement on the resignation, scheduled for later Friday afternoon, but said the "transition that is taking place must be irreversible change and a negotiated path toward democracy."
The vice president hailed the rhetorical cease-fire most Republicans have engaged in since the crisis began, saying that "even in this contentious political climate in which we work, on this issue the United States has largely spoken with one voice."
"This unity has been important, and it will be even more important in these delicate and fateful days ahead," Biden said.