Published: Feb 13, 2011 9:30 PM EST
Updated: Feb 13, 2011 6:30 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Speaker John Boehner says he thinks the Obama administration has handled "a very difficult situation" in Egypt about as well as possible.

The Ohio Republican also says that the upheaval in Egypt and Tunisia - where popular protests helped oust longtime authoritarian leaders - "surprised everyone," including U.S. Intelligence officials.
Boehner tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that he thinks there's a need for an assessment to determine why U.S. officials "didn't have a better feel for this."

On CBS' "Face the Nation," Sen. John McCain says the failure was not realizing that "a sophisticated, educated, freedom-yearning people, sooner or later, were going to demand their rights."
Egypt has pledged to move toward a democracy and Boehner says he's optimistic, despite the absence of any democratic governments in the Arab world. He says "just watch what's happened on the streets over the last 18 days" as a sign that democracy can take hold.

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