President Obama Wins Nobel Prize (WTF!)

I almost spat out my coffee this morning when I heard the news. I wasn’t planning on updating the blog any further today and I’d slept in. And LOOK WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU SLEEP IN! Someone gives the dang president the dang Nobel Peace Prize for … um … what did he win it for? The man JUST got elected! He hasn’t even been in office a year. Isn’t this really the Nobel Peace Prize for “Dang, We Really, Really Hated Bush?” Either way, yeah for the prez. Yeah for us. But … um … what?

More after the jump.

From Politico:

Barely nine months into office, President Barack Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – with the committee citing Obama’s “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy” and his support for nuclear arms reduction. 

“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” said Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Committee

But the prize shocked the White House and international observers – some of whom are already questioning what Obama has done in his short time as president to deserve the honor. 

The White House found out about the award at about 5 a.m., via a wire report out of the Situation Room, aides said. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called the White House a little before 6 a.m. and woke Obama to tell him he had won. 

Gibbs said that Obama was “humbled” to get the honor and senior advisor David Axelrod expressed surprise that the award went to Obama. 

“It’s an honor. It’s nothing anyone expected. It’s certainly nothing the president sought. I think that he’s less interested in individual honors, and this certainly is one, than in advancing the causes that were cited by the Nobel committee,” Axelrod said on MSNBC. 

Anyone want to take a stab at what Obama won the prize for? I get that he’s intelligent and dynamic, but shouldn’t this be something you get towards the end of your presidency (or at least the end of the first term) when people can actually measure what you’ve done? I am fifteen kinds of bemused and bewildered by the news. Can you be happy and highly confused at the same time?

56 thoughts on “President Obama Wins Nobel Prize (WTF!)

  1. I am right there witcha, Danielle. The news on NPR literally jolted me up off my pillow this morning.And guess what immediately followed? "The president convenes Congressional meeting to discuss Afghanistan" (something or another)

  2. Actually is it really that surprising? Let’s see, its an annual award, not a lifetime achievement, and its given to the person in the last year who has done the most to advocate for world peace and diplomacy. In the last year, the President has advocated for nuclear disarmamanet, reached out to repair the US’s diplomatic relationships with Europe, the Muslim nations, Russia, Cuba and South/Central America, opened the door for the possibility of diplomatic relationships with N. Korea and Iran, agreed to close Guantanamo and re-engaged the US with the rest of the world, versus our previous adminsitrations stance of "…you’re either with us, or against us…" mentality. Who else has done that much in the past year? I don’t see it as much of stretch, really. Next year, they’ll look at that time frame and ward it to the person who meets the criteria for that year…

  3. Well, if you read the statement from the Nobel committee, you would see that they are recognizing his efforts for multilateralism despite any longstanding or past tension. I think from the start of his candidacy, his premise of hope and elevating the political dialogue inspired not only Americans but international citizens as well. Sad that only six hours after being chosen everyone is searching for every reason not to award it to him. I think it’s well deserved and it will help Americans move past viewing his administration’s agenda in a racial context.

  4. It was shocking, but it is not a WTF moment at all. This Nobel Peace Prize is not solely about accomplishments> I think one commenter on another blog said it the best— They did not hand it out for his accomplishments to date but for his willingness to embrace ideologies and pursue strategies pushing towards a more peaceful world. Sometimes it’s not all about what you did, but what you represent and how you can use that image to create a peaceful union. And you have to agree President Obama’s image has created a more unified world view.Moreover, its not like he has been sitting on a bump on a log and hasn’t accomplishments things that awards him this honor. He has withdrawn many troops from Iraq. He has negiotated with Russia (a place we had horrible ties and tension with) for nuclear disarnment (which has led the US to have a better relationship with Russia), and he has also has tired to promote peace in the Middle East. I think the award is for what he stands for and his ability to use his image to bring peace. Personally I think Obama needed this boost of support to deal with all the bs he has been getting.

  5. Yeah, I’m delighted and perplexed at the same time. Diva makes a good point but with so much controversy over healthcare, school speeches,the wars, etc. it just takes me by surprise. Here’s what I find funny. The local news (in Texas) interviewed people about Obama’s award and every white person said they thought that he hadn’t been in office long enough to receive this honor. BUT if asked about his performance after 60 days in office there’s a definite opinion on that and the response is never "he just got in office".

  6. Well. Then it’s great for him to be recognized with such a prestigious honor for his varied and valiant attempts at peace and diplomacy over the past year. Especially since his attempts outweigh any actions or attempts from any other public figure that comes to mind (or fail to come to mind). And that is the tragedy, imo.

  7. I’m happy and highly confused at the same time too Danielle. The only conclusion I can think of is the fact that he brought people together during his campaigning and ultimately overcame our nation’s historical prejudices to become president. Or maybe the Nobel Peace Prize voting committee is just full of socialist, communist Muslims. I’m sure that’s what many of his radical opponents are thinking/

  8. lola:The Peace Prize is an annual award but is give for a lifetime’s work or some major accomplishment usually having to do with peace. Last time I checked, Obama has done neither. Obama had just barley been elected to office, about 12 days when the Nobel Prize Committee accepted his nomination for the prize This award makes mockery (really a traveshamockery) of the intent of the award. Let’s be honest, Obama got the award for being a Democrat.

  9. Totally thrown and thrilled at the same time by the announcement. Still not quite sure what to think of it. But I did listen to the official statement he made today. I believed him when he said he was very humbled by winning.

  10. I had more of a "SAY WHAT??!" reaction than a WTF reaction. I’m also suprised and amused, for no reason than to laugh at the haters who at this moment are throwing a massive hissy fit.

  11. TG, thanks for the link. I hope certain people read it so they can see how uninformed there statements are.

  12. Dear President Obama: People are so bitter that you won. If I were you, I would lock up that prize right away, in case they try to take it back.

  13. I think the reason given by the committee is enough! People get prestigious awards daily for doing lesser things, why not someone who reaches out to heal the world? Would it be easier to swallow your coffee had it been the usual white man whose credentials are blown out of proportion? Sometimes we are truly our worse enemies. SMDH! Maybe, God had His hand in it!

  14. TG and LisaJ:Can you point to one thing that Obama has done to deserve the prize? As the recent SNL about Obama pointed out, he has promised much but delivered very little.

  15. I for one have really been enjoying folks’ reactions. As an American, I am proud of the nod of recognition my President received. I do not agree that the President should graciously decline it, as he likely was too busy doing other things like trying to run a country to seek it out. I am confident that he will be as gracious as ever when he does accept it. But, as someone with a healthy dose of pragmatism, I believe that it was a Very Smooth Move by the Norweigans. Some say it should be considered no more than a gentle positive nudge by the international community, others say "keep watching". I’mma keep watching. With my popcorn. Afghanistan will be part of the February Sweeps.

  16. @ TracyI’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who was surprised. I never said it was a bad thing and this is news everywhere. Was I supposed to write … nothing?

  17. I guess that the Nobel Peace Prize has become like the awards that are given out in childrens’ sports, you know the kind that kids get for having participated in order make them feel better about themselves, instead of actually having done anything.

  18. The Nobel Pease Prize is giving not only for accomplishments but for vision.But I am sure the committe took notice of these actions by Obama and his administration:1. Dropped the Missle Defense to which Russians responded by canceling their deployment of Iskander short-range missiles in the Kaliningrad region of the country (baby steps, baby steps)2. Convened and began action at the UN on complete global nuclear disarmament – that included getting the Iranians to the table and getting them to agree to stop enrichment of fissile materials3. Announced the United States will FINALLY sign onto the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the Fissile Materials Treaty (international treaty that prohibits the further production of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium)Congrats, Mr. President,

  19. Oh, sorry for the double post but:@Scott Please, have a BIG, HOT, HELPING OF STFU!! Still waiting for those testicles to drop, huh?

  20. I slept in too and was shocked when I heard the news. I think from an American perspective it’s particularly hard to fathom that he’d win the award now because he gets so much crap from all sides at home. However, this is an international award and from across an ocean the fact that the US is being led by a smart, capable man with an inclusive worldview that stresses partnership rather than unilateral domination is a HUGE relief after GWB. In a sense I think it was candidate Obama that won this award more so than any potential to be realized by President Obama. It’s not a reward for his Presidency, obviously, but rather the hope and promise of a new future that his candidacy represented. The American administration was pretty well hated in the world as arrogant cowboys. My family in Jamaica, Canada, England and Ghana could not have been more interested in and delighted by the promise of candidate Obama. Remember that crowd in Berlin? It seems normal to us now that he’s President, but 2 years ago when I started campaigning for him, he was a serious longshot. Remember when "they’re not gonna let the black guy win" was accepted conventional wisdom? His getting elected was a HUGE deal, the impact and magnitude of which a lot of us have forgotten. The rest of the world isn’t watching Fox news and reading Politico and following all the foolishness that constitutes our domestic political squabbles right now. In fact, they don’t get it and think it’s crazy that he’s being compared to all kindsa Hitler and Stalin since they know a thing or two about real Nazis, fascists and communists. What they do know is that they can breathe more easily because an intelligent, broad-minded adult who respects other countries is at the helm of the most powerful country in the world. That he got elected kinda made the world seem right again and redeemed Americans in the eyes of those abroad, in that they actually voted for this guy instead of electing another W or W in a skirt. I think that is worth a lot in terms of their own peace of mind. So while I’m still shocked and could definitely see someone’s point in saying this award is premature, I also think it just means that Peace of Mind, might be the Peace in this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

  21. @ allheavens -:) I really felt everyone was ignoring Scott… thanks for offering him a helping STFU!On a ‘bright’ note: If folks would just read & understand the premise behind a Nobel they may understand the reason behind Mr. Obama’s win. It was NOT a WTH/WTF moment in the least. I’m actually more inclined to react “WTH/WTF” by the ‘alarm’ raised on the left & let’s not even mention the commotion from the right! But we are all allowed to vent positively or negatively, so to those who choose to wallow in their dense forest of hate, that’s your democratic right. However, Mr. Obama IS POTUS AND most recent Nobel Prize winner. He was chosen/selected for the award… I don’t always agree with some of his approaches and choices on varying issues, healthcare is high on that list but to you excessive indulgers of bullshit about the current presidency, you’ve got 3+ years of term one with enormous potential for a term two. Get over it.Can a person be awarded repeatedly? I’m just saying.

  22. I teach history at a middle school in The Netherlands. My 13-year-old students are underprivileged children, most of them have learning dissabilities. They all know Obama. They all know what he stands for. This is special because these children are not usually interested in world news or politics. I think people living in the US, living with the crisis, with the many problems a country can have, maybe are not always able to grasp what Obama means to people around the world and the incredible positive effect he has on our image of the US. He is just a man, but he has also become a symbol of better possibilities. When I discussed the Nobel price for peace with my students not one of them wondered why it went to Obama. Maybe they don’t have the complete story of the Obama-presidency so far, but I don’t think anyone should underestimate the power and symbolism of his person and the positive effect he has.

  23. Saudia Do you understand the premises behind the Peace Prize? According to Nobel’s will, the Peace Prize should be awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses. Nominations for the prize closed on February 1 – less than two weeks after his inauguration on January 20, so I"m not sure what he did in that time that was so monumental. How about next year we give the Nobel Peace Prize to the winner of the next Miss World? Every year Miss World comes on and says I want world peace and the world free of nuclear weapons, which is about as much as Obama has done.

  24. "I am fifteen kinds of bemused and bewildered by the news. Can you be happy and highly confused at the same time?"Yes.Surpised/shocked? Yes. It’s REAL soon for that. Happy for him anyway? Yes.

  25. Like many others I am happy to see him honored but wonder if in the long run this will hurt more than help him. I am also feeling a bit like Danielle, exactly what has he done to earn such a prestigious award? The fact that many of us who actually support Obama are asking this question, I think says quite a bit.

  26. @DaniellleI was really surprised at your response, and I don’t think that this is a "WTF". How could you respond in such a manner. If you could not be positive, shut the f….k up and not say or write anything. I enjoy your blog though I times I find you are a little full of your self……being hung up about your skin color and hair. I always knew that you black americans are like crabs…….not liking to see one of your own honored or succeed. I am so damn glad that the slave ship left some of us in the West Indies! PRESIDENT OBAMA DESERVED THE HIGH HONOR.And go back and read the reason why he was bestowed this honor by the Committee. You are a moron.

  27. @ TerriI’m a moron because I’m happy, but confused? Because that’s what I wrote. Again, I wrote that I was HAPPY, but shocked. The president was shocked. Everyone was shocked. But I’m a moron because I was SURPRISED? And, I hate to break it to you, but WTF can just mean, WTF, as in, I was caught off guard. It’s not like I put "O RLY" up there, which is sarcasm. And there’s no need for personal attacks when my own posting wasn’t a personal attack. It was a statement of bewilderment. I can understand being upset at people who are using this to dog the committee or put down the president, but I didn’t say anything horrid about the man. I said he was intelligent and dynamic. I mean, if the president says he didn’t deserve this, which he did, does that make him a hater of himself? C’mon now. Let’s be realistic. Questioning why he received the award isn’t the same as blind hatred.

  28. Everyone really needs to sit down. This isn’t an American award…the committee is looking beyond the impact in America but instead on the World.

  29. He’s the ultimate "A" student.Harvard Law ReviewU.S. Senator POTUS and nowNobel Prize winnerTake that Arizona State!!

  30. There was a really good piece about the whole "why did he win it?" question on the Jim Lehrer Newshour this evening. [I don’t have time to entertain those "*you* show me what he did" questions (as requested by a previous commenter) when there’s been plenty of discussion with examples cited already.] But, You can listen to it here for 10/9/09. Zbigniew Brzezinski was a part of the discussion. The segments are: "Peace Prize Primer," and "Foreign Policy Implications." Here’s the general link:http://www.pbs.org/newshour/newshour_index.html

  31. I think awarding this was a message for President Obama. Can you really expand the war in Afghanistan if you just won the Noble Peace Prize? Can you delay closing Gitmo indefinitely? Can you not prosecute US soldiers, leaders and contractors who tortured combatants?

  32. people drinking their obama kool aid need to calm their sensitive asses down. just because people are confused as to why he gets this award, doesn’t mean they are deserving of name calling and personal attacks. hey, guess what…..there are people who think that obama ISN’T the second coming. just because others don’t get tingly on the inside and see rainbows and flowers at the mention of his name doesn’t mean they’re morons. if you’re not intelligent enough to disagree in an intellectual fashion, blog reading might not be your thing.

  33. I think that the president did earn this Noble. He had the "audacity" to campaign and win the election in a country that never expected it. He has inspired many showing that all Americans do not believe in "cowboy politics" as the means for settling problems of the world. Through his cabinet and administraion, He has shown the true essence of America, not just the one sided picture of the majority. He truly believes that people of the entire world should be respected and given the chance through diplomacy to be heard, not just the chosen nations. To me, he embodies the Robert Kennedy quote "I dream things that never were and ask…Why not! Now ,as he said, he has received the CALL TO ACTION. Bravo! Well deserved. i find it quite strange that no one else who has been nominated and won have been questioned about the hows and whys. And besides, If he had been nominated and not chose….The right would be jumping up and down on the radio and television just like with the olympic bid the other day. Carry on Mr. President.

  34. We can not deny he’s peaceful when it comes to his enemies, but he ain’t no Dr. Martin Luther king, Jr. or Mahatma Ghandi. But in these wicked days, we’ll settle for anyone. Take the award in spirit or "mind’, because you haven’t had a chance to do nothing physically to make a change, except get elected as this country’s President. Well, I guess the rest of the world is probably saying "If you can pull that off in that prejudice country, you deserve the award, because we see how they are". Can’t say you earned it, but take it. They can’t say you ain’t never do nothing for this country. Peace!

  35. Terri, sound like you are proud of the Middle Passage that we never receieved reparations for. You are the moron! You people kill me passing as Black Americans. Love yourself! Who wasn’t shocked and thought WTF! We said the same thing the day he was elected – WTF! We said the same thing when the Chistians, Jews, and Africans transported us during the Middle Passage – WTF! I said the same thing when I read you proudly being dropped off as a "slave" – WTF!

  36. @ MonicaHow badass American cowboy would it be if he officially expanded the war in Afghanistan from Oslo at the ceremony. Even Cheney and Dubya would have to give it up.

  37. I get tired of people talking about "drinking the kool aid". The epitome of drinking the kool aid was when you let a man lie to you about a man of color hiding weapons of mass destruction and behind the 9/11 attack and then you permit him to invade and occupy that country sending our citizens there to die because he wanted to kill a man who had the balls to stand up to him and his pappy. That is truly drinking some serious kool aid. Yes, I very much admire President Obama and I am drinking nothing. I know that he is human but I also know that he is a better man than "W".any day of the week and twice on Sunday. So if I applaud him, don’t imply that I am some kind of cult member. I knew like many others that we had no business in Iraq and exactly why we were there……..TO PUT SOMEBODY IN THEIR PLACE AND LET THEM KNOW WHO WAS IN CHARGE. That was the only reason. "W" and that evil Cheney should have been made to stand there and watch that man hanged so that they could have that vision in their stupid, mean heads for the rest of their lives. NOW who was the kool-aid drinker???? So go sell crazy somewhere else and stop trying to run game on people who do respect President Obama.

  38. Scott: people like you who jump at the slightest chance to criticize the President get on my last nerve. He’s been in office less than NINE MONTHS. The damage done to our country, its policies, and its relationship with other countries is extensive and started before Bush got into office. That’s more than 10 yearsof mess Obama’s got to clean up so excuse him if he can’t wave a magic friggin wand and wipe the slate clean! As it stands, the policies and promises he would like to move forward with have to be signed off on (or agreed upon, if you will) with members of Congress and supported by the general public. I’m sure that, if it were solely up to him, Obama would have had these things in motion his first few weeks in office. But you are smart enough to know that it doesn’t work like that. Another thing: would it KILL people to be proud of their President and proud of the fact that he has changed our Nation’s reputation so drastically that we are no longer the single-handedly most hated country in the world? It’s a damn shame that the rest of the world can appreciate this award before his own people can. SMH.

  39. "I teach history at a middle school in The Netherlands. My 13-year-old students are underprivileged children, most of them have learning dissabilities. They all know Obama. They all know what he stands for. This is special because these children are not usually interested in world news or politics. I think people living in the US, living with the crisis, with the many problems a country can have, maybe are not always able to grasp what Obama means to people around the world and the incredible positive effect he has on our image of the US. He is just a man, but he has also become a symbol of better possibilities. When I discussed the Nobel price for peace with my students not one of them wondered why it went to Obama. Maybe they don’t have the complete story of the Obama-presidency so far, but I don’t think anyone should underestimate the power and symbolism of his person and the positive effect he has."We tend to forget that the Nobel Prize is the will of the world, not the confusing pundit sport we have in the US. The confusion we have is simply because we have been myopic with regards to how significant the election of this President is to the rest of the world.Congratulation President Obama, and thank you Karin for your comments.Peace.Rick Beagle

  40. @Drinking the Kool-Aid,I think only the most fervent of Obama’s supporters were not surprised by Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize. To be quite honest, those are the individuals who would never criticize Obama and never accept any criticism. This is why we refer to them as Kool-Aid drinkers.As for everyone else, people who put their critical thinking cap every once in a while, we accept that nominations were finalized in February. Obama was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize because of the promise he held, not what he accomplished. No biggie because (in my opinion) that’s why he was elected president. When we look at what he has accomplished in foreign policy from March to October, it’s a mixed bag. On the one hand, he has actually engaged the Arabic world instead of treating them with disdain and that alone will aid in the peace process. Also, he did not send aid to the right-wing leaders of the coup in Honduras. On the other hand, he is expanding the war in Afghanistan. Although he signed an executive order to close Gitmo, it remains open. He refused to release torture pictures that would serve as evidence of the Bush’s administration’s war crimes and he has stated no one will be prosecuted for torture. Companies like Blackwater (now called Xe) are still profiting from the war.Obama won the Noble Peace Prize, but Henry Kissinger did too. Let’s wait and see what Obama actually accomplishes before we canonize him.

  41. You know, it’s like being a parent. You trust your children to do the right thing and you stand by them from day to day. But if they happen to do something that you think is wrong you immediately let them know that it is not acceptable. That’s not considered drinking "kool-aid". I don’t rush to criticise the President, I choose to wait and see what decisions he will make. I voted for a President that was not "just like me" as the Palin supporters say. I wanted someone who would be smarter than I and I am hoping that’s what I got, because I consider myself pretty damn smart.. Maybe his decisions will have me look at things in a different light one that I had not examnined or maybe his decisions, for me, will be just the wrong one. But I am willing to give him that chance before I decide what my reactions will be. If you consider that "kool aid drinking", then find me guilty. He’s not perfect, he’s the president.

  42. @ khrishdoes saddam hussein being a man of color have anything to do with anything? does that change the fact that he was a tyrant who dropped bombs on his own people? hussein was a terrible leader who was a dictator who ran his country into the ground. or do you need a REAL history lesson on iraq? that being said, i don’t think anyone here likes the fact that bush lied about the WMDs. and unless you’re lacking logical thinking skills, just because someone criticizes obama doesn’t mean they didn’t criticize bush.

  43. "I think only the most fervent of Obama’s supporters were not surprised by Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize. To be quite honest, those are the individuals who would never criticize Obama and never accept any criticism. This is why we refer to them as Kool-Aid drinkers."precisely. it’s fine to support the president, but there are so many people who bought into the hope and change speil that they’re not willing to think critically or look at him and his policies objectively. EVERYONE is surprised by this, and the kool aid drinkers are calling those who are morons.

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