9:00 a.m. Standard & Poor’s has joined ratings agencies Moody’s and Fitch in recalibrating its assessment of Egypt’s assets. S&P downgraded Egypt’s debt by a notch this morning, saying it could cut the rating even more within three months if the crisis continues. Fitch shifted Egypt’s outlook from stable to negative last week, and Moody’s, which also posted a negative outlook, cut the country’s sovereign rating from Ba1 to Ba2 on Monday morning.
8:50 a.m. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney weighed in on the Obama administration's approach to unrest in Egypt on ABC's Good Morning America, saying officials got off to a "rocky start." He criticized early statements from administration officials as "misguided," but agreed with their approach now.
"I think what the United States has to do is make it very clear to the people of Egypt that we stand with the voices of democracy and freedom and we also have to communicate," he said. "I think, as the administration has, that we would like to see a transition to a permanent democracy."
And while he said he believes Mubarak should step aside, he also said, "I don't know I would say to the president you should call for Mubarak's resignation."
8:45 a.m. The Obama administration has sent former U.S. Ambassador Frank Wisner to Egypt, CNN reports. He is going as a private citizen, but will speak with officials while there. "As someone with deep experience in the region, he is meeting with Egyptian officials and providing his assessment," National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said.
8:30 a.m. President Hosni Mubarak made his first public offer to discuss reforms with opposition groups today, but has been rebuffed. Opposition parties are not willing to negotiate as long as he is in power, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The newspaper also says that the White House "sees no scenario in which Mr. Mubarak remains in power for long."
8:25 a.m. From National Journal’s David Beard: Jordan’s new prime minister, Marouf al-Bakhit, held that position from 2005 to 2007. He is a retired army major general and served as national security chief, as well as ambassador to Israel. Al-Bakhit has a master’s in management from the University of Southern California and a Ph.D. in war studies from King’s College London.
8:20 a.m. More on Sen. John Kerry's op-ed in The New York Times from National Journal's Sara Sorcher.
8:10 a.m. If the police's job is to serve and protect, then a portion of Egypt's force has failed to do its job. Unless, of course, they were just working to serve and protect President Hosni Mubarak. Human Rights Watch has confirmed several reports of undercover police officers loyal to Mubarak looting and committing acts of violence. Their purported goal, The Washington Post reports, was to increase fears of instability among the protesters.
8 a.m. From USA Today: Jordan's King Abdullah II has dismissed his government and appointed a new prime minister, Al-Jazeera reports. The network says the Jordanian government resigned amid protests in the country.
7:55 a.m. Oil prices surged above $100 on Monday for the first time since October 2008. While they still hover above that mark, they have gone down slightly. The high yesterday for Brent crude was just above $101. The price has since slid 48 cents to $100.54 today.
7:36 a.m. By early afternoon, the mood in Tahrir Square in Cairo is "ebullient,’’ reports NPR. Al-Jazeera says more than 100,000 people are in the crowd, and the military is providing security but doing nothing to discourage the protests.
7:30 a.m. There are still thousands of foreigners in Egypt who want nothing to do with the protests. Reuters reports that foreign countries have stepped up their efforts to evacuate their citizens from Cairo.