"The democratic process is what's important. Principles matter to this president, not parties," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. "Our standards have to do with respect for human rights, respect for the democratic process, denunciation of violence, and inclusion of and respect for minorities in the process."
Carney also said it was unfair to assume that religious-affiliated parties cannot function democratically.
"Before we judge the disposition of a government, or a parliament that's just beginning to take shape through elections that have started today," Carney said, "I think we need to let the process run its course, continue to espouse our firm support for democratic principles and for civilian control of the government, and then judge the outcome by the actions of those who prevail."
Toner said if the Muslim Brotherhood commits to the democratic process, "we'll welcome them as a part of the political process."
Analysts warned that it was still too early to judge Egypt's electoral process a success-in-waiting. Second-round parliamentary voting awaits, a new constitution must be drafted, and then a presidential election will be held.
"This is the electoral equivalent of pulling an all-nighter," said Jon Alterman, Middle East program director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. But he described it as the best possible process for the United States, which lacks good options.
"The most important thing," Alterman said, "is there is a genuine process that we can influence in the longer term."