Friday, October 9, 2009
The Laughingstock Award: Obama wins Peace Prize for what? His skin color?
By Wojciech Moskwa and Matt Spetalnick | Reuters
OSLO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for offering the world hope and striving for nuclear disarmament in a surprise award that drew both warm praise and sharp criticism.
The bestowal of one of the world's top accolades on a president less than nine months in office, who has yet to score a major foreign policy success, was greeted with gasps of astonishment from journalists at the announcement in Oslo.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee praised Obama for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.
Critics -- some in parts of the Arab and Muslim world -- called the committee decision premature.
Obama's press secretary woke him with the news before dawn and the president felt "humbled" by the award, a senior administration official said.
When told in an email from Reuters that many people around the world were stunned by the announcement, Obama's senior adviser, David Axelrod, responded: "As are we."