Published: Feb 10, 2011 8:10 PM EST
Updated: Feb 10, 2011 5:10 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) - Amid reports that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was about to step down, President Barack Obama said Thursday the United States stands ready "to support an orderly and genuine transition to democracy" in the Middle Eastern nation.

 "What is absolutely clear is we are witnessing history unfold," Obama told students at Northern Michigan University.

 "It's a moment of transformation," he said.

Earlier, CIA Director Leon Panetta told a congressional panel that U.S. intelligence indicated a "strong likelihood" that Mubarak was on his way out and might announce it as early as Thursday night. Egyptian TV said the embattled president would speak to the nation from his palace in Cairo.

"We are following today's events in Egypt very closely," Obama said, adding that he would "have more to say as this plays out."

 "The people of Egypt are calling for change, they've turned out in extraordinary numbers and all ages and all walks of life," Obama said. He said it was young people "who've been at the forefront" of the demand for change.

"We want those young people, and we want all Egyptians to know, America will do all we can to support an orderly and genuine transition to democracy in Egypt."

Obama was in Michigan to promote plans to widen access to high-speed wireless services.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)